Eragrostis Spectabilis Care: Growing Purple Love Grass

Eragrostis spectabilis is an attractive native perennial grass species from North America that’s found in sunny and dry meadows and open fields. It’s also found in some parts of Canada. It’s warm-season bunch grass that’s commonly known as the purple love grass (or purple lovegrass) and blooms in North America until late summer.

It’s very hardy and drought-tolerant and grows in dense clumps. These grasses do exceptionally well in sandy soil. It also readily grows on its own through underground rhizomes and self-seeding.

Eragrostis spectabilis is one of those plants that look just as beautiful in the garden as they do in their natural habitats. It has basal, flat leaves that are green in color and form a disorganized cluster of foliage that grows up to a height of 10″ inches.

The grass also flaunts subtle reddish-purple to blue flowers that appear on loose inflorescences around August, making it look great with plants of all kinds. They form a purple airy cloud covering the grass clump, increasing the overall height to nearly 24″ inches tall. By fall, these flowers lose color and turn brown. As the seeds get mature, the flowers stalks get detached from the plant and are blown away distributing the seeds as they go.

In this article, you will get to learn more about adding this amazing ornamental grass to your garden. So, let’s begin.

Quick Care

Close up of the seed heads of this gorgeous purple grass
Close up of the seed heads of this gorgeous purple grass. Source: Matt Lavin
Common Name(s): Purple lovegrass, purple love grass, spectacular love grass
Scientific NameEragrostis spectabilis
Family:Poaceae
Zone:5-9
Height & Spread:12-30″ inches (30-76cm) tall and wide
LightFull sun
SoilDry, sandy or gravelly soil
Water:Dry to medium
Pests & Diseases:No serious insect or disease problems

This evergreen grass is tufted at the base with widely spreading culms that consist of three to four alternating leaves. The leaf blades are medium green, ascending and spreading and usually hairless. Densely branched flowering panicles grow in summer through autumn. The flowers form a reddish-purple cloud hovering over the grass clusters.

Eragrostis Spectabilis Care

Purple lovegrass in the wild
Purple lovegrass in the wild. Source: Treegrow

Eragrostis spectabilis (purple love grass) has fairly simple care and growth requirements. Here’s what you need to know.

Light & Temperature

The purple lovegrass prefers full sun and warm and dry climates. It falls under the USDA Hardiness Zones 5-9.

Water & Humidity

It’s drought-tolerant so its watering requirements are medium. During spring and summers, you can water them frequently but lightly. Make sure that that soil doesn’t stay moist constantly. In winters, adjust the watering frequency according to your unique climate.

Soil

Purple love grass likes loamy or sandy soils that have excellent drainage and can tolerate somewhat poor soil. Its preferable soil pH range is 6-8.

Fertilizer

The grass does not require any supplemental fertilizer.

Repotting

When getting it from a plant store or a nursery you will usually get it in containers. For in-ground planting, you will have to dig a hole as deep as the depth of the container. Carefully plant the grass and fill the hole with soil. Water thoroughly afterward. Once, it has been properly established, you can reduce watering and keep the soil moisture to a minimum.

Propagation

You can propagate the plant by seeds or by division. Their natural propagation through seeds and rhizomes is also quite fast.

Pruning

You will have to cut old stems and remove dead foliage and flower stalks once or twice a year. Also, cut the grass back to just a few inches above the ground or mow it down in early to late winter to prepare the plant for the new growth season in spring.

Troubleshooting

You will hardly face any serious problems with Eragrostis spectabilis is more or less a problem-free. Here’s what you need to know in this regard.

There are no serious growing problems with Eragrostis spectabilis. Don’t water it excessively to prevent root rot. You can treat it with a slow-release fertilizer during spring if you like it to grow faster.

Pests

There are no known issues of pests with this ornamental grass. Aphids or spittle bugs may attack the grass in rare cases. You can use a pesticide spray to keep your grass bug-free.

Diseases

It is generally a disease-free plant.

FAQs

Q. What’s the bloom color of Eragrostis spectabilis (purple love grass)?

A. The flowers are red to purple in color and they start appearing in August. The plant continues to bloom till late summer.

Q. How many plants should I get if I want to grow purple love grass in my garden?

A. You can buy 3-5 potted plants for every 3-4 square feet. However, it will also depend on the size of the potted plants that you’re getting.


This warm-season grass is easy to grow, problem-free, drought-tolerant, and can make an eye-catching addition to almost any landscape.


The Green Thumbs Behind This Article:

Kevin Espiritu
Founder

Did this article help you? Yes No
× How can we improve it?
× Thanks for your feedback!

We're always looking to improve our articles to help you become an even better gardener.

While you're here, why not follow us on Facebook and YouTube? Facebook YouTube