Is Purple Fountain Grass A Perrenial Or Not?

Filed Under: Ornamental Grasses, Perennial Plants · Keywords: Grass, Perennial · 1593 Views
I've bought Purple Fountain Grass before because I was told it was a perennial, but it didn't seem to come back, so I took it out, I may not have given it enough time. I've seen it stores but sometimes it says perennial sometimes it doesn't. I live in Amarillo, Texas, zone 6, what are your thoughts? Does it just take longer to come back then other stuff? I know the Blackfoot Daisy didn't come back until later and I was just about to give up on it too. Thanks so much.

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Answer #1 · Maple Tree's Answer · Hi Melinda-The purple fountain grass, Pennisetum, is considered a perennial but only in zones 9, 10, and 11. In locations like mine zone 9b it turns brown during the winter then sprouts new growth with the nice purple coloring in the spring. In zones 7 and 8 it could survive the winters if protected from freezing temperatures but in zone 6 it most likely will not survive. Those in northern locations would grow this plant as an annual. Living in zone 6 you can still enjoy this plant if planted in pots so that the plants can be overwintered indoors. In the fall the plant can be cut back to 3 or 4 inches and then placed near a sunny window location. Keep the plant moist but never too wet. Watering it once a month would most likely be enough during the winter months. Once there is no frost expected in the spring you can bring your potted fountain grass back out in the garden.

If you are using this fountain grass as a focal point in a garden or just a plant you enjoy in your landscaping during the summer you might want to try something I have done throughout my gardens. This can be easily done if you decide to grow the fountain grass or many other plants in pots. I have several plants and small trees I like to spot in places throughout my landscape during the summer months. Some of these plants are deciduous or look really shabby during the winter. Growing these plants and Japanese Maple trees in pots I can remove them from the garden and keep them in another location during the winter at the same time replace a few of these plants with some that do well in the winter months. You can dig a hole in the garden or landscape and sink a black plastic nursery container in the hole with the top edge of the container level or slightly above the surrounding soil. This will give you a nice permanant hole that you can use to set your potted plants into during the summer. Once your potted plant is set in the hole groundcover plants, bark, or other mulching material can be used to easily hide the top edge of both containers if need be. Most people that visit my home are not aware that many of my plants are actually growing in containers and not in the ground. Most any size container you want to use for the permanant hole in the garden can normally be found at most nurseries and garden centers. When sinking the nursery container be sure to leave the drain holes in the bottom open for any rain or irrigation water to drain out. Sinking your potted plants this way in the garden allows them to be watered along with the other plants at the same time and protects the potted plants from drying out much more quickly as they would if set out in the direct sunlight. Once these permanant holes are in the garden it is not only easy but a lot of fun moving my potted plants in and out of the gardens at different times of the year. It used to drive my neighbors crazy thinking I was out of my mind digging up and planting new shrubs and trees several times during the year. It took them awhile to find out how easily I was doing this. Sorry about the long answer. Just thought it might be an easy way for you to enjoy the fountain grass in your garden during the summer without having to purchase a nice size plant each year. The link below will take you to an article that showes how these nursery containers can be used in your garden. Page three explains how they can be used to create a permanant hole in the garden for your potted plants.

Please ask if you have any other questions. Hopefully after the fire you had a couple of years ago you are getting your landscaping now as you would like again.


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Melinda Marsh

Melinda Marsh · Gardenality Seedling · Zone 6A · -10° to -5° F
Thank you so much, is there any other fountain grass that would be similar, I'm interested in some that doesn't get too big. I've searched plants before but didn't find much.

6 years ago ·
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Answer #2 · Maple Tree's Answer · Melinda-I haven't found a nice red or purple fountain grass, carex, or cordylines that will take a fair amount of frost. I noted some links to grass like plants below you may be interested in looking at. These are smaller in size as you were looking for and should do fine in your location. Just click on the links to go directly to the plant files. I looked up you locations hardiness zone and it looks as though it is 7a. Let me know if you think any of these plants may interest you.


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