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 dry locations.

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 grasses)

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 in Japan

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.

More ornamental grasses

Compare Miscanthus sinensis var. purpurascens to our other grasses in this handy chart.


Miscanthus sinensis var. purpurascens - Flame Grass
Miscanthus sinensis var. purpurascens
Flame Grass


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