The Q&A Archives: Info on Rubrum Pennisetum setaceum

Question: I bought twelve plants last year and they grew beautifully. However this spring I cut back all the dead stalks and I have yet to see new growth after nearly three months. Does it come up later in the summer or did I kill my plants by cutting them down? Any help you can give will be greatly appreciated.

Answer: Pennisetum setaceum 'Rubrum' has rough stems with long, narrow, bronze leaf blades. From mid-summer to early autumn this Pennisetum bears pink to purplish pink spikelets that are plumed and bristled seed heads that nod. Purple Fountain Grass is great for use in mixed perennial beds, mass plantings, as well as in mixed containers. Purple Fountain Grass is a deciduous perennial grass so cutting it back won't kill it. It forms tufts that reach 3 feet tall and 18 inches wide. This plant is hardy only in zones 9-11; in climates that have occasional to deep winter freezes this grass is used in the landscape as an annual.

I'm afraid your gardening zone experiences too much winter cold for Purple Fountain Grass to survive. I'd replace them with new plants. By the end of summer they will be huge and you can enjoy the foliage all winter long. Even though it will die with the first frost, it will still add winter interest to your garden.

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