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Graceful plumes of purple fountain grass sway in the slightest breeze, giving motion and life to an otherwise still landscape. This is why ornamental grasses are so popular. Instead of a stationary shrub, they add a sense of dynamic movement to the garden.

Ornamental grasses are also easy to grow, are not picky about soils, do not need fertilizing, many are drought resistant, and are considered pest-free. Purple fountain grass appreciates full sun. It gets its name from both the bright purple plumes and the dark shade of purply-green on its foliage. The color goes well with many colors schemes and its sword-like foliage contrasts nicely with many other leaf shapes.

For best results, plant purple fountain grass in spring. It will grow all summer and you may end up with a large clump up to five feet tall. Smaller clumps sold in early autumn won’t get as large. Still, read the tag. Some will naturally grow larger or smaller no matter how long they stay in the ground.

Purple fountain grass is quite striking when in bloom, so use it as an accent plant to highlight a special place or feature of your landscape. You could also plant masses of it as an informal hedge or filler. It also makes a spectacular display in containers.

When fall arrives, purple fountain grass sends out fuzzy-caterpillar-like plumes of purple which slowly fade to beige. Purple fountain grass is used as an annual in East Texas, and our many freezes over the winter will kill it. If you want to save your purple fountain grass, dig it up and put it in the garage or somewhere it will not freeze.

As the plumes fade, instead of throwing the entire clump away before winter, consider cutting the plumes and bringing them inside to use in bouquets.

If you have been considering planting ornamental grasses in your garden but are not certain whether you should take the plunge, try starting with a clump or more of purple fountain grass. If you like the look, you can then consider growing other ornamental grasses. There are numerous types with a large range in size and color.

For more information, call 903-675-6130, email hendersonCMGA@gmail.com, or visit txmg.org/hendersonmg.

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