The Q&A Archives: purple fountain grass

Question: I planted the Purple Fountain grass last year and at the end of the year I cut them now to about 4 inches from the ground. Will they come back this year. What am I suppose to do to get them growing

Answer: The ornamental grass typically sold as purple fountain grass (Pennisetum setaceum Rubrum, Pennisetum purpureum) is not very winter hardy (zone 8) and probably would not survive the winter in your area. It should be treated as an annual and replanted each year. Just for future reference, hardy ornamental grasses should be cut back to about six inches either in late fall or in mid spring before the new growth starts. Cutting them in fall removes the ornamental seed heads, so some gardeners will delay until spring. The new growth will cover the old stubs in just a few weeks. Some gardeners use a hedge trimmer to cut the grass off, this is much faster than using a hand clipper.

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