We're sharing everything you need to know about the ornamental plant.

By Blythe Copeland
April 09, 2020
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purple fountain grass
Credit: Getty / JPLDesigns

Gardeners and landscapers turn to ornamental grasses for their dramatic shapes, quick growth, stunning winter textures, and variety of colors—and the warm tones of purple fountain grass make it especially versatile. Popular for its range of rich plummy shades, from the deep burgundy grass spikes to the soft, rosy plumes that sprout from the top, purple fountain grass also boasts a tall, playful shape that mimics arcs of falling water, and a low-stress and -maintenance plant ideal for gardeners of every experience level.

How to Plant Purple Fountain Grass

If you're adding purple fountain grass to your landscaping for the first time, look for an established plant; this could mean ordering one from a garden supplier or finding a friend or family member with a root bundle you can divide. Plant the drought-tolerant grass in a clear spot—they prefer full sun—and water it regularly until it's established. The grasses grow about three feet high and up to four feet wide, so leave space between the grasses and other plants for them to reach their full size without crowding the rest of your blooms. Purple fountain grass also thrives in containers, making it a colorful choice for potted accents on your patio or anchors in your poolside arrangements.

How to Care for Purple Fountain Grass

Many ornamental grasses are perennials, reblooming every year, but purple fountain grass is more delicate than most. It rarely survives the winter in colder climates, so it's considered an annual in most parts of the country. It thrives in zones nine and higher and can survive in zones seven and eight, but grasses planted in zones six and lower rarely carry through from one year to the next. If your grass is in a container, bring it inside to a cool spot with plenty of sun during the coldest parts of the year.

How to Prune Purple Fountain Grass

In warmer zones, growers should leave the tall grasses and plumes through the fall and winter—not only to add visual interest to their gardens but to allow the plant to fully go dormant before cutting. In late winter or early spring, trim the grasses back to stems about six inches from the ground to make room for new growth. Pro tip: Tie the grasses together at the top before cutting for simpler cleanup.

How to Use Purple Fountain Grass in Your Landscaping

The bright hue and large reach of purple fountain grass make it a frequent choice for creating a privacy hedge or camouflaging an unsightly foundation wall. It's also a go-to for adding vivid color to a rock garden, setting the tone for a colorful container design, and embellishing a front walkway with its eye-catching aesthetic.

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