How to Care for a Variegated Purple Fountain Grass

Written by timothy baron
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Also known as "Fireworks," variegated purple fountain grass has earned both its titles with its impressive display of alternating purple and green blades. This grass grows in clumps and can be planted either directly in your yard or in a container. Because of its clumpy nature, it doesn't make for ideal ground cover, but instead as an accent piece in key parts of your yard. It is a low-maintenance plant and won't require much work to both keep healthy and put on a full display.

Skill level:



  1. 1

    Find a site with full sun or partial shade. The soil should be well-drained.

  2. 2

    Dig a hole large enough to contain the root system. If you are only planting a root ball, then dig it deep enough to cover the roots with 1/2 inch of soil. If you are planting a mature specimen, then the blades should be just above the soil line.

  3. 3

    Place the fountain grass in its hole and fill in with dirt. Water thoroughly.

    Winter Care

  1. 1

    Pull the blades upright and tie them together. You will be cutting the grass back to a few inches and by tying it together you will make cleaning up the blades easier. Do this in late winter before new growth has emerged. If you do not cut the grass back, the new growth will be hidden by the old, dead leaves.

  2. 2

    Cut the grass back to 4 to 6 inches using gardening shears or scissors. You want the cuts to be as clean as possible. On larger specimens, it will be difficult to do this with a single slice. Instead, snip at a few blades at a time.

  3. 3

    Dispose of your clippings. If you let them dry out in the sun, they'll make excellent compost. Wait until the blades have yellowed, though, as the green and purple clippings will add too much moisture to your pile.

Tips and warnings

  • Water heavily once per week. Enough water should be used to drench the soil.
  • Excessive fertilisation can lead to drooping leaves. When fertilising, use only 1/4 cup of 10-10-10 fertiliser per specimen. Fertilisers with higher concentrations of nitrogen will encourage the plant to grow faster than it can support. If you decide to use fertiliser, do so in the early spring, just as the plant begins to show new growth.

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