Purple Fountain Grass, (Pennisetum advena ‘Rubrum’), is a tall-growing ornamental grass from South Africa which grows 1 to 1.5 metres tall X 1-1.5m wide. Its foliage, which remains a striking burgundy red to bronze colour for most of the year in mild climates, seems relevant for discussion in Autumn.
Purple Fountain Grass also features large, attractive cream feathery flowers held above the foliage during Spring, Summer and Autumn. Notably, flowers are completely sterile so it will not become a weed like its invasive cousin Pennisetum setaceum.
Both the spectacular foliage and flowers of Purple Fountain Grass can be used to great effect in landscapes, particularly when mass planted.
It has a place in the formal garden in untamed sweeping masses among well-ordered and clipped plantings. It fits in well with meadow gardens, providing height and colour variation in a sea of other grasses and perennials. Rustic landscapers will enjoy its rugged appearance. It even does well as an informal hedge –picture it doubled with clipped Buxus or Syzygium. Using some imagination, Purple Fountain Grass can offer something for most gardens.
Full sun will encourage its rich foliage colour. It will also tolerate up to 50% shade. It has good drought tolerance, becomes quickly established and thrives under a wide variety of conditions from protected coastal to dry inland climates as well as damp, poorly drained soils. It will even survive light frosts with some leaf burning and die back. The dwarf form is not as cold tolerant as it’s full sized parent.
Caring for Purple Fountain Grass is fairly simple:
- · annually trim foliage by 2/3 in early spring to remove last season’s older foliage
- · fertilize with slow-release fertilizer after trimming
- · keep mulched and
- · water over hot summers to keep it looking it’s best
The Plant Hub sells Purple Fountain Grass in Tube 10 Packs, ideal for mass planting. Planting rates 2-3 plants per square metre for mass planting and 1 plant per square metre for specimen planting. https://theplanthub.com.au/grasses/purple-fountain-grass.php