Q.How and when to transplant purple fountain grass
I live in Northwest Kansas. I have purple fountain grass in planters I am considering transplanting in my yard. Would you suggest that I wait until spring to transplant or should I leave them in the planters? Will they survive a winter outdoors or should I bring them inside?
Pennisetum setaceum "Rubrum", or Purple Fountain Grass is not hardy below 25*F. I'm in zone 6b, have tried several times to sinter it over, and nothing works except replanting in the spring. A good grass with red foliage is Cheyenne Sky, Panicum virgatum. Cheyenne Sky has the same habit as PFG, but it is very hardy. PFG will perform marginally if brought indoors. Always cut ornamental grasses back in the spring, just before new growth starts. The old foliage acts as a mulch and as a hiding place for small wildlife. It probably won't hurt anything to cut it back if you just can't stand looking at old growth. Planting grass this time of year is best postponed until spring. Most ornamental grasses need to get 2-3 months growing in before cold weather to really establish a root system to take it through the winter.