Miscanthus sinensis var.
purpurascens - Flame Grass
aka Miscanthus oligostachyus 'Purpurascens'
Small and compact with flowers seldom reaching 1.5 meters (60"),
M. purpurascens will show its true fall colours (brilliant orange-red)
when grown in areas with warm sunny summers.
Very hardy - survives the bitterly cold winters of the Canadian Prairies,
though it does not necessarily bloom every year.
The most important consideration when growing Flame grass is to make
sure that it receives ample moisture. This is especially true in hot
Description: warm season*; clump forming or slow spreading
Foliage is reddish-green; blade is 10 mm (1/3") wide; 90-120 cm
(36-48") in height
Flowers from August until frost; 100-150 cm (40-60") tall
Ideal conditions: full sun or bright shade; fertile
soil; needs ample water in hot, dry conditions; wide variety of sizes
and colors within the same species
Zone: 4 - 9 (find
your zone; further info on plant hardiness)
Suggested uses: specimen, border, screen, hedge, background
plant, massing, by the water, arrangements
When divide: when it shows signs of life in the
spring, continuing until the new growth is about 18" tall; only
in the spring (further info on dividing
When to plant or transplant: plant bare root plants only in late spring to early summer, when the soil is warm, about the same time you plant your bean or corn seeds. The roots will
grow only in warm soil. Planting too early in the spring may cause the
roots to rot. Similar story in the fall when the roots may not grow enough
to establish before the cold and wet of winter, resulting in the demise
of the plant.
When to cut back: we enjoy the foliage of Miscanthus
so much that we like to leave it standing until the new growth starts
to appear, possibly as late as May. We also like the combination of
the tan foliage and spring bulbs. Cut back to about 6" from the
crown of the plant.
Partner with: Aster, Rudbeckia, Sedum, Yucca
Season of interest: July till spring; will likely remain standing all winter
Drought tolerance rating: 3 (water to root depth once
every week); further info
Native to: the mountains of Honshu, Shikoku and Kyushu
Plant form: upright arching
Recommended spacing between plants: 60-100cm (24-40")
why such a difference?
Pronunciation: Miscanthus (mis-KAN-thus) sinensis
(sin-EN-sis) purpurascens (pur-pur-AH-senz)
*a warm season grass likes to grow in warm weather. Before it will
show signs of life in the spring, the soil must warm up, and be warm
for possibly as long as two weeks.
Compare Miscanthus sinensis var. purpurascens to
our other grasses in this handy chart.