Ideas For Purple Fountain Grass

rubrum-00It’s a thriller—tall, dark, and striking, swaying eerily in the moonlit breeze…

We rely on purple fountain grass as a landscaping standard, but at Halloween it can become a compelling design element. Play up those arching bronze-purple plumes to make them appear mysterious or even ominous—or just plain fun.


Instead of the customary cornstalks, fill 2 oversized urns with purple fountain grass to create a dramatic fall entryway with a gothic feel. If that’s too dark and stormy, add some seasonal color with ‘Viola Sorbet Orange’ pansies around the base. Still too creepy? Use Sorbet Jump Up Mix instead to brighten the mood—the violet pairs well with the purple foliage while the yellow and white stand out against it.


Bonfires are popular this time of year but if you find that there’s an idle fire pit in the landscape, turn it into a planter. Set purple fountain grass in the center and light it up with Viola ‘Angel Amber Kiss’ or Citrus Mix around the base—just remember that you’ll actually have to water this fire.


At 3–4 feet high, a row of purple fountain grass in the border creates some chilling sound effects when those feathery tufts are rifled by a cool autumn wind. ‘Nagoya Red’ kale, with its vivid purple foliage and rough texture, will add some super natural contrast down front, as will any of the mustards we discussed last week.


Purple fountain grass is easy to grow in full sun to light shade. It’s currently shipping in the 1-gallon pot. Viola ‘Sorbet Orange’ is available in the 1801 landscape tray. Sorbet Jump Up Mix, Citrus Mix, and ‘Angel Amber Kiss’ come in the 6-inch size; we have ‘Nagoya Red’ in the 8-inch pot.