Molinia caerulea

Purple moor grass

  • Botanical name: Molinia caerulea
  • Common name: Purple moor grass
  • Family: Poaceae
  • Plant Type: Perennial
Flower colour:


Foliage colour:


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.

How to grow Molinia caerulea

  • Plant size

    1.2m height

    60cm spread

  • Aspect

    South facing, east facing, west facing

  • Position in border


  • Sun exposure: Dappled shade, full sun, partial shade
  • Hardiness: Hardy
  • Soil type: Clay / heavy / moist / well drained / light / sandy

Plant calendar

A table displaying which months are best to sow, plant and harvest.
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec

Do not Plant in January

Do not Plant in February

Do not Plant in March

Do not Plant in April

Do Plant in May

Do Plant in June

Do Plant in July

Do Plant in August

Do Plant in September

Do not Plant in October

Do not Plant in November

Do not Plant in December


Do not Divide in January

Do not Divide in February

Do not Divide in March

Do Divide in April

Do not Divide in May

Do not Divide in June

Do not Divide in July

Do not Divide in August

Do not Divide in September

Do not Divide in October

Do not Divide in November

Do not Divide in December

Molinia caerulea and wildlife

Molinia caerulea has no particular known value to wildlife in the UK.

Is Molinia caerulea poisonous?

Molinia caerulea has no toxic effects reported.

No reported toxicity to:

No reported toxicity to Birds

No reported toxicity to Cats

No reported toxicity to Dogs

No reported toxicity to Horses

No reported toxicity to Livestock

No reported toxicity to People

Plants that go well with Molinia caerulea