Grasses are dynamic garden plants. Whether large or small, for structure, motion, sound, and even light, grasses are unparalleled in their effect, and their charm increases tenfold when massed. Molinia, also known as purple moor grass, is no exception; in fact, its fountainesque form and tall stature exemplify the best attributes of grasses. It is especially prized in Europe—evident in so many of the cultivar names—but somewhat underappreciated here. With Miscanthus sinensis rightfully out of favor due to its invasive nature, molinia merits greater attention.
Promoting nonnative grasses can be a hot-button issue. I get it in the case of miscanthus and even fountain grass (Pennisetum alopecuroides and cvs., Zones 4–9), but from my experience, molinia isn’t worrisome and is a good substitute for wayward grasses. Of course, I concede to anyone who has had it escape in their landscape; molinia has found its way into scattered natural…
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