Plant Taxonomy of Purple Fountain Grass:
Characteristics of Purple Fountain Grass:
Pennisetum setaceum 'Rubrum' reaches a height of 3-5 feet with a spread of 2-4 feet. The plant typically blooms in July. Its purplish flower spikes are succeeded by burgundy or purplish-tinged seed heads, which are soft to the touch and cry out to be swayed by an autumn breeze. The spiky leaves are burgundy-colored.
Deer pests usually leave it alone, qualifying this plants as a deer-resistant ornamental grass. Although the species from which this cultivar was developed is considered an invasive plant in parts of the U.S., the cultivar is not considered invasive.
Planting Zones for Purple Fountain Grass:
Sun and Soil Requirements:
Uses for Purple Fountain Grass in Landscaping:
Its beauty makes it popular as a focal point in a mixed planting, often in container gardens. But people will also mass several of the plants together (in a border planting, for example). Conversely, you can let them stand alone as specimen plants. Some like to use them to jazz up a foundation bed for the summer. Grouped with plants of a coarser texture, they can create a striking contrast.
Because its autumn seed heads are so attractive, the plant is, like maiden grass, very useful in fall flower gardens. The feathery seed heads (or "plumes") can later be cut for dried flower arrangements.
But sometimes, we get the whole package. Such is the case with purple fountain grass, so called because arching spikes of purplish flowers gracefully spray out of its mass of long, slender, burgundy-colored leaves. Pennisetum setaceum 'Rubrum' is well worth growing, even if you can enjoy it for only two seasons out of the year.
Companion Plants for Purple Fountain Grass:
Many types of plants will suggest themselves as companions to grow alongside Pennisetum setaceum 'Rubrum,' depending on your particular tastes. The only limiting factor is that you must choose other full-sun plants. Generally speaking, your main focus in making your selection will involve one or more of the following:
In terms of a color scheme, some will wish to "paint" with colors from the same side of the color wheel, using purple flowers or blue flowers. But purple fountain grass also looks wonderful with contrasting yellow flowers.
You can achieve a striking composition by striving for a contrast in texture, growth habit and plant height. The leaves of cannas, for example, will contrast nicely with those of purple fountain grass. If you're growing your purple fountain grass in a pot, move the container in front of oakleaf hydrangea in the fall: The purplish fall foliage and contrasting texture of the latter will provide an effective backdrop. And for the foreground, install a short plant with a growth habit that contrasts with the upright purple fountain grass: For example, annual lobelia.