Wintering Purple Fountain Grass - Knowledgebase Question

Hoffman Estates, IL
Question by mwonay
July 13, 2002
We live in Zone 5. Can we move our Purple Fountain Grass inside during the winter? How would you suggest we take care of it while it is inside? How much light? How much water?


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Answer from NGA
July 13, 2002

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It is very difficult to overwinter this plant without a cool greenhouse. If you want to experiment, you can try and see what happens. If you have planted it in the ground, you will have to dig it up and put it in a pot next fall, and this adds an extra layer of risk. It's less risky if you have kept it growing in a container. In late fall cut it back to a few inches. Bring the pot into an unheated garage or similarly cool area. Keep the soil barely moist (if too wet it will rot.) When winter hits and the garage might drop below freezing, bring it into a cool area such as a basement. Watch for it to begin to try to grow in the spring. Once that happens, keep it as cool (maximum of 50 to 60) and as bright as possible, setting it out on days where temperatures are above about 45 degrees and protecting it from cold nights. Begin watering a little more when it is actively growing. Eventually, move it outdoors for the summer. Unfortunately, this is a lot of work and you may or may not succeed in keeping it alive. Good luck!

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