University of Vermont Extension
Department of Plant and Soil Science

Perennial of the Month - November 1999

Miscanthus purpurascens

(miss-can' thus)

Common name: Flame Grass

Family: Poaceae, Grass

Height x width: 4-6' tall x 3-4'

Growth rate: moderate to fast, forming large clumps

Foliage: reddish, mostly basal from a central large clump, 3-4' long and to ½" wide, tapered to pointed tip, sharp margins

Flowers: pale pink to reddish terminal panicles 8-10" long, turning tan in fall and long lasting through winter; summer, earlier than many other related cultivars

Hardiness: USDA zones 3-9

Soil: most

Light: sun, less vigorous in part shade

Pests and Problems: none serious

Landscape habit, uses: borders, massed, screens, winter effect of dense panicles, dried cut flowers

Other interest: genus native to eastern Asia; name from the Greek mischos meaning stalk and anthos meaning flowers, refering to the stalked spikelets; one of hardiest cultivars, deserving of more use

Other culture: some species in warm climates may be invasive from seeds, but are not usually in the north as seeds don't mature; a few related species may be very invasive by roots so proper placement is crucial

Propagation: spring division

Sources: many, check your local garden stores, and online catalogs as well


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