Ask a Question forum: "Firecracker" fountain grass

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Name: Jennifer Stagg
Louisville, Kentucky (Zone 6b)
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Jenstagg67
Oct 22, 2015 11:50 AM CST
I planted 2 planters of firecracker grass this spring because, honestly, it was pretty. I did NO research prior to that project and now I'm stuck! I've got one pot of pretty firecracker grass and one pot of dead brown leaves, although they were both cared for in the same manner. I'd like to transplant them into the flower bed but am unsure if the dead brown leaves are a dead plant or one that will come back in the spring. The other part of my question is, if it is still alive, should I go ahead and cut the brown one back or should I wait until early spring like the healthy one? Thanks!
Thumb of 2015-10-22/Jenstagg67/90f3f4

Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
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sooby
Oct 22, 2015 12:13 PM CST
I'm only seeing Fireworks fountain grass on a Google search, and there's a Pennisetum 'Fireworks' in the ATP database. Is that it? They're only listed as hardy to Zone 9 or warmer outdoors so in your zone you'd need to bring them indoors if you want to keep them over winter. I have grown other fountain grasses and they've been very intolerant of frost, which makes the foliage go brown and dead, as does getting too dry. You may be able to save the one with the dead top if the roots are still alive. Cut off the dead stuff and keep both containers from freezing would be my suggestion.
Name: Jennifer Stagg
Louisville, Kentucky (Zone 6b)
Every garden can be a zen garden!
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Jenstagg67
Oct 22, 2015 1:33 PM CST
I can definitely do that! Thank you so much! Do you think I should cut the dead stuff off of the healthy(er) one, too, or just leave him be until his haircut in the spring? :)
Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
Daylilies Birds Enjoys or suffers cold winters Native Plants and Wildflowers Butterflies Annuals
Region: Canadian Keeps Horses Dog Lover Plant Identifier Garden Sages
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sooby
Oct 22, 2015 3:37 PM CST
I haven't tried over-wintering but I would cut back the one with the dead top because the dead leaves won't come back. You'll then be able to more easily see if it starts to regrow. I'd leave the one with living leaves for now, at least they give you something to monitor its condition with, and they can always be cut back later if there's a reason to whereas they can't be stuck back on Smiling Important thing is to get them in before the next frost.
Name: Jennifer Stagg
Louisville, Kentucky (Zone 6b)
Every garden can be a zen garden!
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Jenstagg67
Oct 23, 2015 10:24 AM CST
Thank you so much. This is my first gardening experience and I've learned a lot of things NOT to do. Now I know some things I SHOULD do! :)
Pennsylvania (Zone 6b)
Garden Ideas: Level 1
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Cinta
Oct 25, 2015 5:43 PM CST
I tried it in the garden twice and it did not survive the winter. I think it is sold as an annual in our zone.
Name: Jennifer Stagg
Louisville, Kentucky (Zone 6b)
Every garden can be a zen garden!
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Jenstagg67
Oct 27, 2015 4:30 AM CST
I was told that at the nursery (not where I bought them, but another place I was shopping and started asking questions), as well. However, I have 3 all green "something similars" in the back yard that I've never touched and they happily come back each year...and a little bigger each time! They came with the house so I have no clue what they are. Just as an added note, the "dead" firecracker grass is now growing green grass among the dead brown stuff! I guess I'll put them both in the garage over winter and see what they do in the spring. Thanks for your input! :)
Pennsylvania (Zone 6b)
Garden Ideas: Level 1
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Cinta
Oct 28, 2015 4:11 PM CST
The similar grass that I have seen that come back is probably sledge grass. They are hardy in our climate.

This probably will show you that it is not for our zone. The tag on the plants I picked up twice were at Home Depot and they said hardy to zone 7. PNW is saying zone 9. If it is zone 9 a warm place like a basement or laundry room would be warm enough to store through the winter.
https://www.provenwinners.com/plants/pennisetum/graceful-gra...
Name: Sean B Murray
Riverhead, NY (Zone 7a)
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Whitebeard
Oct 28, 2015 5:14 PM CST
Perhaps this will help. Here's an image of how my 'Fireworks' looked Oct.10 here in zone 7. If it is the same grass, it is only hardy to zone 9. Overwintering is likely the be tough.
Thumb of 2015-10-28/Whitebeard/1200c9
Name: Cindi
Wichita, Kansas (Zone 7a)
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CindiKS
Oct 29, 2015 10:33 AM CST
I have this grass too, and I agree, it is pretty!
The problem I found is, it quickly outgrows a pot. It has BIG roots and needs space and water! You'll need to water it all winter.
So...if you are bringing it into a garage, I would suggest repotting it with new soil and a much larger pot.
You might even be able to divide it down the middle and have 2 plants from the one that looks better. The one that turned brown most likely won't make it through the winter no matter what you do.
The healthy one may lose its pretty pink color in the winter, but should brighten up again come spring when you put it outdoors.
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