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Purple Fountain Grass

Pennisetum setaceum 'Eaton Canyon'

Purple fountain grass is a beautiful ornamental that can fill in a bare spot easily. Its gracefully arched leaves and tall flower spikes make it stand out in any garden.





Clumps of this grass grow up to 3 feet tall and 3 feet wide, filling in your perennial garden nicely. The feathery plumes add a nice textural difference to the garden. The dark foliage contrast nicely with lighter plants.

Add the plumes to cut bouquets for variety. Plumes can also be dried for everlasting bouquets.

This ornamental grass is native to tropical Africa, southwest Asia and the Middle East. It can become aggressively invasive in areas with similar growing conditions like Florida, California and Australia.

Landscaping Ideas

Purple fountain grass is perfect along paths or in perennial beds. Use it as a specimen plant, a foundation plant or in a rock garden. In large areas it can be used as an impressive groundcover for erosion control.

It works well around parking areas and median strips as well.

It is tolerant of drought, so it looks lovely in a xeriscape garden. Every breeze moves this grass, creating a soothing sound in the garden. Even when it has dried in the winter you get to enjoy the sound of wind through the grass.

Planted in a large area, you can enjoy the grass as the wind moves it about in waves. It works equally well in container gardens. This grass attracts hummingbirds.

Care and Planting Tips

Plant purple fountain grass in full sun. It also tolerates partial shade but won't be quite as vigorous. This plant is extremely tolerant of drought.

In cooler climates, purple fountain grass can be grown as an annual. This grass is tolerant of seaside exposure, high temperatures, high humidity, wind and deer. It is free of pests. It does equally well in the ground or in containers.

Propagation is easy from seed. In warm climates it readily self sows. It can also be divided with a spade. This plant can be invasive.

Some states have it listed as an invasive plant and it may be regulated accordingly. In the winter, the dry grass is very flammable. Trimming may be helpful in controlling fire danger.

Grass Information

  • Scientific Name: Pennisetum setaceum 'Eaton Canyon'

  • Best Soil: Sandy soil is best, though it is somewhat adaptable

  • Light Needs: Full sun

  • Growth Rate: Moderate

  • Foliage Color: Red-purple

  • Flower Color: Burgundy

  • Bloom Time: Summer

  • Mature Size: Grows 1 to 3 feet tall and 1 to 2 feet wide in a clump

  • Watering: Drought tolerant after becoming established

  • Hardiness Zone: 6 - 8



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