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Cold Hardy Ornamental Grasses

I am trying to find out if purple fountain can survive the West Virginia winter weather. I have had healthy, in ground planted, tropical plants for years, some of which endure the odd West Virginia winter weather. Being that purple fountain grass is an annual, would it be feasible to mulch the ground and surrounding plant area with straw, so that it would survive the winter? Excellent website and design and data.

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Unfortunately, purple fountain grass is not reliably cold hardy above zone 9. It would be a risky venture to try and winter it over in West Virginia, which is zone 5b – 6b. As an alternative try grasses that are better suited to your area.

Here is a short list:

  • Calamagrostis acutiflora ‘Karl Foerster’ (Feather Reed Grass); Zones 4 – 9, very upright
  • Chasmanthium latifolium (Northern Sea Oats); Zones 3 – 9, does best in partial shade, may be invasive
  • Phalaris arundinacea (Ribbon Grass); Zones 4 – 8, good groundcover where nothing else will grow, somewhat invasive
  • Panicum virgatum ‘Haense Herms’ (Red Switch Grass); Zones 5 – 9, grows up to 3 feet, rich reddish purple fall foliage and purple flower heads.