Skip to Content Skip to Navigation

Graceful Grasses® Vertigo® Purple Fountain Grass Pennisetum purpureum

  • Sun
Flower Season
  • Spring
  • Summer
Mature Size
8' 3' 2.4m 91cm
Height: 4' - 8'
Spread: 2' - 3'
Height: 1.2m - 2.4m
Spread: 61cm - 91cm
Award Winner
  • Details

    48 - 96 Inches
    24 - 36 Inches
    24 - 36 Inches
    1.2m - 2.4m
    61cm - 91cm
    61cm - 91cm


    Large grass that is a great architectural element in the garden. The spiky foliage has presence.

    Award Winner
    Foliage Interest
    Heat Tolerant
    Deadheading Not Necessary


    Plant Type: 
    Height Category: 
    Garden Height: 
    48 - 96 Inches 1.2m - 2.4m
    24 - 36 Inches 61cm - 91cm
    24 - 36 Inches 61cm - 91cm
    Flower Shade: 
    Foliage Colors: 
    Foliage Shade: 
    Container Role: 
    May Be Aggressive: 
    May Be Aggressive

    Plant Needs

    Light Requirement: 

    The optimum amount of sun or shade each plant needs to thrive: Full Sun (6+ hours), Part Sun (4-6 hours), Full Shade (up to 4 hours).

    Maintenance Category: 
    Bloom Time: 
    Grown for Foliage
    Hardiness Zones: 
    8a, 8b, 9a, 9b, 10a, 10b, 11a, 11b
    Water Category: 
    Soil Fertility Requirement: 
    Average Soil
    Uses Notes: 

    This grass will beautify your garden all summer.

    Maintenance Notes: 

    In almost all areas it will be an annual grass. Once the grass turns brown in the fall you can cut it back to the ground whenever you would like.

    Vertigo is a warm-season grass. Where temperatures get colder than 15 degrees F, the plants should be treated as annuals. Once the grass turns brown it can either be removed immediately or removed in the spring. It should not be expected to live through the winter and begin growing again in the spring.

    In areas where winter temperatures remain above 15 degrees it should be considered a perennial and the following information should be useful. Warm-season grasses won't start growing until mid to late spring or even early summer. Their major growth and flowering happens when the weather is hot. They will usually turn shades of brown for the winter.

    Cut back warm season grasses in fall or by mid to late spring. Warm season grasses turn shades of brown as the weather turns colder. Once your warm season grasses turn brown you can trim them back at almost any time. If you like to tidy your garden in fall or if you live in an area where fire can be problematic trim warm season grasses so they are just a few inches tall.

    If you live in an area where fire generally isn't a problem you can leave the dried grasses and seed heads in your garden for winter interest. Snow or ice encrusted ornamental grasses can be quite beautiful.

    If you leave the trimming until spring try to make sure to cut them back to the ground (you can leave a couple of inches) by late spring, before new growth begins.

    Not all ornamental grasses look good through the winter, trim back those that don't look good in the fall.

    Divide warm season grasses anytime spring through mid-summer. All ornamental grasses should be divided when they are actively growing but not while they are flowering. If the plants are dormant when they are transplanted they won't establish a good root system. Warm season grasses generally start growing in late spring or early summer and have their active growth period during the heat of the summer. Warm season grasses will tend to bloom in mid to late summer.

    Growing Guide: Fountain Grass

    This variety is especially dramatic in clusters, mass plantings, or along slopes. A favorite for fresh or dried arrangements. Pest and disease-free.



    Graceful Grasses® Vertigo® Pennisetum purpureum 'Tift-8' USPP 22,254
  • 16 Reviews

    Browse reviews from people who have grown this plant.
    • I just LOVE THIS BEAUTY…Last year was my 1st year planting them they are so Beautiful and got big in no time actually in 1 month was almost tall as me 5’2 then close to 6 feet the next month. I cut them back to the ground my first cut back was in Late April they haven’t came up yet just wondering exactly when they gonna start to grow…

      , Illinois
      , United States
      , 1 year ago
    • Fantastic! I planted one on each side of my front porch and they both got about 6 feet tall and about 5 feet wide.They filled in that area perfectly. I will definitely buy them for my garden every year.

      Laura Graham
      , Pennsylvania
      , United States
      , 3 years ago
    • I love this grass so much--I live on a farm and have lot's of they get so big and full!!!There amazing!!!!

      Diana Gamble
      , Saskatchewan
      , Canada
      , 3 years ago
    • I have been gardening for almost 4 decades now and I have never had such a response to a plant like I had with Graceful Grass Vertigo Pennisetum. I ordered a small quart from Proven Winner last year, planted it in a large fairly empty bed on a corner site and it was the show of the neighborhood. So many people walking, running even driving thru would stop and ask what kind of plant it is. It was amazing.

      Vicki Gade
      , Kentucky
      , United States
      , 4 years ago
    • This is my 3rd summer growing Vertigo in containers. I use 5 very large pots approx. 6 feet apart to line the walkway to my home. I have not found anything I like to underplant (filler) with Vertigo. Nor am I fond of the containers using it as a "spike"…it is too beautiful and exceptional a plant to play second fiddle to anyone else. I am beginning to think it needs nothing. It is stunning on its own and never fails to draw comments and questions. I have a solar hummingbird light in each container and the night effect is very dramatic with the grass being backlit by light from the pond. Along with King Tut, this is one of the most stunning grasses to use in containerscaping.

      Anne Sikkema
      , Canada
      , 9 years ago
    • Love this plant. Great in a container to add height and movement. Also great in the garden/flower bed!! I have this on my deck in a large pot with Star flower, Joseph's Coat, and white Superbelles. Beautiful. Also have it in the flower bed by the pool where it gets sun all day.

      Kelly S
      , Pennsylvania
      , United States
      , 9 years ago
    • I have been so amazed at this grass all summer long. It is lovely, and is just beginning now to get a bit brown. I have it planted in a large reddish bronze coloured pot with a bright green potato vine, blue lobelia and red nemesia around the base. Lovely!! Have also grown a Proven Winners Supertunia (Vista Bubblegum) that has been absolutely spectacular!!!

      Kathy Gilligan
      , British Columbia
      , Canada
      , 10 years ago
    • This is just a damn cool plant!

      Amanda Thomsen
      , 12 years ago
    • Glenn & Eileen Bradbury
      , 12 years ago
    • It is so very beautiful! I love it and I feel so bad that it will not live thru the winter in New York State.

      Jeannie Reinhard
      , 12 years ago
  • 61 Awards

    Award Year Award Plant Trial
    2021 Top Performer University of Minnesota - Morris
    2013 Top Performer Michigan State University
    2013 Excellent Boerner Botanical Garden
    2013 Top !0 North Carolina State, JC Raulston Arboretum
    2013 Leader of the Pack - Late Season North Carolina State, JC Raulston Arboretum
    2013 Best of Breed North Carolina State, JC Raulston Arboretum
    2013 Leader of the Pack - Early Season North Carolina State, JC Raulston Arboretum
    2012 Hall of Fame Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden
    2011 Best of Show (top 1%) Penn State
    2011 Excellent University Laval
  • 12 More colors

  • 9 Recipes

  • 2 Videos

Back to Top

Find plants you love and create idea boards for all your projects.

To create an idea board, sign in or create an account.