Red Fountain Grass Care – What Is Crimson Fountain Grass

Red Crimson Fountain Grass
(Image credit: Vichai Phububphapan)

Red fountain ornamental grass (Pennisetum setaceum ‘Rubrum’) is a showy, clump forming grass with burgundy red leaves and feathery plumes of rosy purple blooms. You may know this attention grabber as crimson fountain grass. Although many types of fountain grass are invasive, this plant is well behaved and seldom sets seed. You can expect the plant to reach mature heights of about three to five feet (1 m.), with a similar spread.

Crimson fountain grass is a warm weather plant, suitable for growing as a perennial in USDA plant hardiness zones 9 and 10. However, gardeners in cooler climates can grow this fast growing beauty as an annual. Interested in learning more about growing red fountain ornamental grass? Read on for helpful tips.

How to Grow Red Fountain Grass: Tips on Red Fountain Grass Care

Red fountain ornamental grass prefers full sunlight, which brings out the intense color; however, it tolerates partial shade. Nearly any type of well-drained soil is fine, but the grass doesn’t do well in soggy, poorly drained soil. Plant where it can be protected from harsh winds.

Water newly planted crimson fountain grass once or twice a week until the roots are established, but never to the point of sogginess. Once the plant settles in, the plant is drought-tolerant, but benefits from occasional irrigation when the weather is hot and dry. This ornamental grass thrives in poor soil and requires very little fertilizer; however, the plant benefits from a light application of general-purpose, slow-release fertilizer in early summer. 

Divide crimson fountain grass whenever the plant looks tired or if it dies down in the center. The best time for this task is just before new growth emerges in spring, in late summer, or early fall. If you live in a cooler climate it’s possible to dig the plant in fall, pot it up, and bring it indoors for the winter. Although, most people prefer to start fresh with a new plant every spring.

Mary H. Dyer

A Credentialed Garden Writer, Mary H. Dyer was with Gardening Know How in the very beginning, publishing articles as early as 2007.