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Recommendation for reddish or purplish grass

Posted by danell 7 OR (My Page) on
Fri, Aug 27, 10 at 0:53

Greetings, I just bought my first house last year and am landscaping the yard (I've never had a garden until now either - chuckle). Starting from the center and working out I plan to put a triad of tall narrow conifers (Juniperus V. Monbells) around a tiered fountain. Joe Pyeweed between the conifers, Chamecyparis Dwarf Golden Mop one each side. A Phorium Tenax next to fountion, Kobold Liatris, Iberis Candytuft and Ameria Seathrift too. At the very outer edges will likely be Japanese Snowbell trees, one on each end. Can you see it?

Now I need recommendations for an ornamental grass that will look good with the gold and blue tones to take over the show when Joe Pye dies down around Aug or Sep. Preferably not invasive and at least 4 feet tall to use at the back of border. Any suggestions? I thought red or purple would look good but am open to other suggestions.

I have clay soil, Ph 7-7.5, summer temperatures reach into the 90s and triple digits, yard faces west so lots of sun. I already have Japanese Blood Grass, Pennisetum Karly Rose, Morining light Miscanthus, Bowles Golden Carex, Silver Dragon Liriope, and Mondo Grass I put in last year around a dry creek bed. I lost the Pink Muhly over the winter - Boo Hoo it was so Beautiful! I may try it again but be sure to cover with straw in winter, I'm learning.

Thanks for any tips.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Recommendation for reddish or purplish grass

  • Posted by donn_ 7b, GSB, LI, NY (My Page) on
    Fri, Aug 27, 10 at 12:26

Miscanthus sinensis var. purpurascens
Panicum virgatum 'Rotstrahlbusch'
Panicum virgatum 'Shenandoah'
Panicum virgatum 'Squaw'


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RE: Recommendation for reddish or purplish grass

Thanks Don. It is so hard to tell by looking at pics on the internet. Guess I'll have to get up from this computer and go visit some nurseries this Fall. I like the Panicum virgtums, pretty and less invasive than Miscanthus sinensis.

Appreciate your chiming in.


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RE: Recommendation for reddish or purplish grass

Miscanthus sinensis 'Purpurascens' would be my recommendation. It doesn't get very large. My clump in Zone 5B stays between 3-4 feet tall, about 1.5 foot around, and doesn't sprawl. There's a picture on the blog page below, but the red color gets much deeper later in the fall than this picture was taken.

Here is a link that might be useful: Flame Grass blog on Garden Musings


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RE: Recommendation for reddish or purplish grass

Very nice professorroush, thank you. I doubt I would have discovered this on my own. I think this is just the ticket I was looking for.


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Are you in OR?

I just divided my Miscanthus sinensis var. purpurascens and have half a dozen potted into one gallon pots if you would like them, send me an email. I am in SE Portland.


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RE: Recommendation for reddish or purplish grass

Panicum Shenandoah has red highlights in the foliage almost from the beginning of the season, with the red increasing with more weeks of heat, and then getting a further boost in the fall - at least here in southern NH. The red color is heat-driven, so there will be less of it in cooler years and/or cooler climates. It's a definite beauty here for folks who want the deep red.


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