The article below came from the November/December 1993 Fine Gardening magazine, “Letters to the Editor.”
Words of Warning: if you are going to consult “old” references be sure & check their accuracy for today’s growing conditions. This letter recommends Pampas Grass, which is classified as an invasive species under current gardening research. I agree with what the author says about red fountain grass, but NOT the pampas. Granted, this was for the southwest, but checking current resources is always wise. As a buyer & gardener, beware.
Good gardening, Viki Ashford
Fine Gardening Article: Ornamental Grasses for the Southwest
“ In response to the request from Paul Endres for suitable ornamental grasses for the Southwest (FG #32, P. 6), I’d like to suggest red fountain grass (Pennisetum setaceum ‘Rubrum’) and pampas grass (Cortaderia selloana), which I’ve successfully grown in my Las Vegas, Nevada, garden . With an occasional watering from my drip irrigation system, they tolerate heat and drought, and their swaying flower plumes and slender leaves lend grace to the landscape.
(invasive species now)
The leaves of red fountain grass, which grows 4 ft. to 6 ft. tall, are almost maroon in color. In winter, the grass goes dormant, and I cut it down to about 10 in. above the ground. Don’t worry if it appears dead all winter; the leaves will return in spring with the same beautiful show. Pampas grass needs lots of room, because it grows quite tall and forms a fountain of narrow leaves. The plumes, borne atop tall stalks, are a feathery white. A word of warning: the leaves of both of these grasses are sharp, so wear gloves, long sleeves and long pants when planting or pruning them.” Author: Karen Kampfer, Nevada