The Zone 8 Gardeners have been growing ornamental grasses since the beginning of time. They are known to be very creative and innovative when it comes to gardening. These gardeners have always had their own ideas about how they want their gardens to look like. Some prefer a natural look while others would rather have something with some extra decoration added into their gardens. There are many different types of ornamental grasses grown in zones 7 through 9. All of them are edible and delicious. However, there is one type that is not commonly seen at all. That’s the ornamental grass called zone 8 or purple fountain grass (Porphyry). Purple fountain grass grows well only in zones 7 and above.
Purple fountain grass is actually a hybrid between two species of perennial grasses. Purple fountain grass was originally discovered in Japan. The Japanese name for this plant is “kuroi no kami” which means “watering hole”. Purple fountain grass is native to Japan, but its cultivation has spread throughout Asia and Europe.
It is now cultivated in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and North America. Purple fountain grass has become popular in Florida because it grows so well here!
Purple fountain grass is a clumping grass, which means that it spreads out and colonizes an area. It does spread out, but it rarely ever goes beyond the area that you first planted it in. Purple fountain grass will stay within the confines of its own area unless you take the seeds and plant them somewhere else. It will spread out, but only slightly.
The clumps that it forms can get up to about 3 feet wide. It can also grow to be up to 5 feet tall. It does not spread like crabgrass or other types of grasses do, but rather sends out stolons that trail along the ground and eventually take root.
Purple fountain grass is usually purple, but it can also be found in pink, red, orange and white. It has long stems with long narrow leaves. The leaves are shaped like swords and are thin like plastic knives. It has a fibrous root system that is shallow and doesn’t grow deep under the ground like other grasses do.
The stolons, or runners, are also fibrous and don’t grow very long. They just spread out near the ground and take root where ever they reach.
Purple fountain grass is one of the most cold hardy ornamental grasses in zone 8. It can actually survive temperatures as low as 15 degrees Fahrenheit. It will turn brown in the winter if it gets that cold, but it will grow back in the spring. Purple fountain grass is a perennial that will come back every year if you take care of it.
Purple fountain grass is a great plant to have in your garden if you like to use ornamental grasses. They could be used for lawns, along walkways or even in large containers on a patio or deck. They look great and they are also very easy to grow. Purple fountain grass looks great when used on its own or when it is mixed with other ornamental grasses.
Purple fountain grass is a very cold hardy plant that is easy to grow and looks great in the garden!
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Sources & references used in this article:
Ornamental grasses for the home and garden by MH Meyer, RG Mower – 1997 – ecommons.cornell.edu
Ornamental grasses and grasslike plants by C Ottesen – 1989 – McGraw-Hill Companies
Taylor’s Guide to Ornamental Grasses by AJ Oakes – 2012 – books.google.com
Miscanthus Anderss. Produces Viable Seed in Four USDA Hardiness Zones by R Holmes – 1997 – books.google.com
Ornamental grasses show minimal response to cultural inputs by MH Meyer, CL Tchida – Journal of Environmental …, 1999 – meridian.allenpress.com