Molinia caerulea

Purple moor grass

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Key information

Plant type

Hardy perennial

Flower colour



Dramatic foliage



Skill level


Molinia caerulea

Plant details

Purple moor grass, Molinia caerulea, is a terrific British native ornamental grass, forming large clumps of erect leaves, from which tall spikes of purple flowers emerge in summer. Because it has a gentle, see-through look it's ideal for growing at the front of a border, filtering views to the plants behind. In autumn the foliage becomes electric yellow.

There are plenty of excellent cultivars to choose from, including the elegant 'Windspiel', the taller 'Skyracer', and the superb 'Karl Foerster'. New plants can take a while to get established, but once they do, they quickly bulk up. For best results, grow Molinia caerulea in moist but well-drained soil in sun or partial shade.

Family: Poaceae

Genus: Molinia

Species: caerulea

Plant type: Hardy perennial

Flower colour: Purple

Foliage colour: Mid-green

Feature: Dramatic foliage

Sun exposure: Full sun, Partial shade

Soil: Well-drained/light, Moist

Hardiness: Hardy

Skill level: Beginner

Height: 30cm

Spread: 30cm

Time to divide plants: April to April

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