Purple fountain grass?


Old 04-21-08, 08:04 AM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Southern Ontario, Canada
Posts: 148
Purple fountain grass?

In the fall I brought indoors 8 plants, I live in zone 5a. After repotting and putting them in the basement, watering sparingly all have come back green. Will they turn purple if they are placed outside or stay that colour? Will they get the fluffy tops? Also when can they be divided for planters?
It is still a little cool here in Ontario to leave them out overnight and even though they seem to be hardy to some what we still stand a chance of frost till the end of may I was wondering if I can put them outdoors during the day?

P.S I did read and post to the previous post in its regard also.
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Old 04-21-08, 09:35 AM
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: USA
Posts: 15,834
Purple fountain grass is a frost-sensitive ornamental grass. It is the most popular ornamental grass, probably because of its color. Unfortunately, it prefers a warm climate, and is hard in US Zone 9 - 11. If grown where it can overwinter, it becomes an invasive species and a threat to native plants.

If grown in cold zones, the grass is considered an annual. It grows 3-4' tall and 3-4' wide. It is propagated by division of the clump. It does well in full sun in beds and borders or containers with normal watering. It is also a good plant for xeriscaping because it can get by on less water. Plumes appear mid-summer and last until frost. The plumes make for great additions to flower arrangements.

Success with overwintering has been limited among gardeners, unless they have a place where it's warm and there's enough light. It dies down when the days get shorter, but sprouts again when longer spring days return.

The purple fountain grass can be returned to the outdoors. Gradually harden it off by placing in the shade on a porch or under an awning and then out in the yard under a tree until it is gradually returned to full sun. As it begins to photosynthesize, you will see the purple leaves return and the plumes in mid-summer.

The problem is that as the grass clump continues to expand, it will get more difficult to bring it indoors. You can plant directly in the ground for the growing season and dig up before it frosts. If the clump has gotten too big, when you prune it back to 8-10", do a little root pruning, rinse off soil, repot, place in 60 degree room with grow lights to over winter.

This seems like an awful lot of work and worry for an inexpensive grass plant which is now available at most garden centers.

Photo Credit: Clifton's Flower & Garden Center
Old 04-23-08, 08:03 AM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Southern Ontario, Canada
Posts: 148
Thankyou for posting such an informative article twellvepole, I will keep it inside for a few more weeks as the risk of fost here is evident till after the first week in June.
The plants are expensive to buy here in Ontario although they are becoming more common in planters etc in lue of the regular spikes! the bigger the plant the more expensive to buy.
Thankyou agina for your post.

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