Purple Fountain Grass Care
Purple Fountain Grass How To Grow Dry Tolerant Pennisetum Species
Purple fountain grass Pennisetum species advena Rubrum is one of the most popular types of weeping ornamental grass used by gardeners in Australia. This grassy evergreen plant can make a statement in any garden with its, exceptionally graceful long purple-burgundy foliage together with its wispy feathery purple pink plumes. The plant grows quickly and is a perfectly sterile hybrid that doesn’t set seed pods. The fine texture of the plant will add some additional interest, such as movement to your home landscape, from the plumes and foliage especially on a windy day. The attractive purple fountain grass has a blooming period from spring to summer continuing throughout autumn. By autumn the plant leaves and blooms fade and bleach out eventually turning a fawn colour to near white. The mature plants can reach to a height of 4 feet and can spread to nearby areas. Purple fountain grass can tolerate different climatic conditions and can be grown in areas with high humidity, heat and coastal wind areas. When grouped with other plant varieties they can enhance the texture and colour of your garden. This tender perennial cannot withstand extra cold winters but is strong tough plant water wise. Often mass plantings are seen growing in public car parks, town gardens, traffic islands and embankments and median strips, in country towns and city areas. This is a good indication of its toughness to be able to thrive under these conditions.
How to Grow?
Spring is the ideal time to grow this tall grass though it can be planted any time of the year. These plants require a sunny location and well-draining soil for their establishment. As these plants spread easily and invasive, you need to provide at least 4-5 feet of space between the plants. You need to dig holes, which can accommodate the fibrous roots of the clump while planting them, and water them after planting. You can also plant them in pots in cold regions so that they can be brought indoors during cold winter. Another alternative is to cover up the plant before nightfall and remove the cover the following morning.
Taking care of fountain grasses is very easy. They are highly dry tolerant and can tolerate light frosts but still require watering once in a week or two, too much water will lead to root rot. The plant doesn’t require annual feeding, but you can use slow releasing fertiliser in spring when new growth is seen.
- Prune back the untidy plant during late winter and new shoots will emerge during early spring. This can be done in, every few years.
- Keep the potted plants indoors till the freezing weather is over in the spring.
- You can cut back the potted plants to a height of 3 inches above soil before bringing them indoors.
- Place the potted plant near a sunny window when kept indoors.
You can propagate the purple fountain grass shrub by dividing them during spring. Use the potted plant for the division. After cutting back the potted plant in winter, keep them in a warm area and keep the soil moist. Move the pot to bright light before the last frost. When new growth appears, remove from the pot and divide the plant with at least 2 active growing shoots and replant them.
How to Cut Back?
If you do not cut back purple fountain grass it will become scruffy and unmanageable and will also attract slaters, mice and other rodents, which may take shelter between the dense clumps. Cutting back this tall grass can be a messy job. You should know how to cut back the grass without spilling the grass blades throughout the garden.
- You can use a tape or cord to strap the grass along its circumference.
- Strap the grass blades in 2-3 positions depending on the height and width of the grass bunch.
- If the width is more, divide the foliage into 2-3 bundles.
- Using a pruning shears cuts the grass at the ground level.
If the grass is well established you can use a power hedge trimmer to cut the grass. Pre-bundling the grass will make the cutting job easier.