Purple Fountain Grass Gardening Ideas

Purple fountain grass (Pennisetum setaceum) is a fast-growing, drought-tolerant ornamental grass with dark purple foliage, broad leaves and beautiful decorative seed heads in the fall. It should be treated as an annual in areas colder than USDA horticultural zones 9 to 11. Purple fountain grass grows in an upright clump to 48 inches high and spreads 36 inches wide.


Purple fountain grass can be planted in large containers and placed in a sunny area where many plants would wilt in the midday sun. It looks good on each side of an entrance way or doorway. Although drought-tolerant, purple fountain grass needs more water when planted in a container, so place containers near a source of supplemental water.

Shade Walls from Sun's Heat

Because of the tolerance for heat, plant purple fountain grass against a west facing wall to shade the wall from the afternoon heat. Also, you can plant purple fountain grass between a sidewalk or driveway and a building to absorb the sun's reflective heat.

Line a Walkway

A walkway or driveway lined with purple fountain grass makes a bold statement as the purple foliage stands out when planted in a long row.

In the Back of the Garden

Plant purple fountain grass in the back of the garden and plant flowering plants such as orange cosmos or yellow marigolds in front of the purple fountain grass. The dark foliage makes the orange and yellow blossoms stand out creating a stunning display.

Ornamental Grass Collection

Plant purple fountain grass among a collection of other ornamental grasses. Each clump of ornamental grass is a conversation piece on its own with unique foliage and seed heads that are produced in the fall. Also, an ornamental grass collection creates interest in the winter landscape if you don't cut back the dried foliage.

Keywords: decorative grasses, purple fountain grass, purple fountain grass ideas

About this Author

Based in Rockdale Texas, Jim Gober has been writing garden-related articles for 25 years. His articles appear in several Texas newspapers including The Rockdale Reporter, The Lexington Leader, The Cameron Herald and The Hearne Democrat. He is a Master Gardener and Certified Texas Nursery and Landscape Professional. He holds bachelor degrees in English Writing from St. Edward's University and Finance from Lamar University.