Purple Lovegrass is a beautiful and eye-catching Florida native groundcover. It is a bunching grass that grows slowly with a fibrous root system. It grows on disturbed and undisturbed sandy soils, borders, embankments, meadows, dry savannahs, and prairies. Drought and salt tolerant, it thrives in sandy soils where other grasses can not be grown. Purple Lovegrass prefers full sun but is tolerant of partial shade. In the spring it displays is blue-green foliage. In the summer the plant displays purplish-pink spikelets. In the fall it develops a bronze-red color and the seeds have a beige color. The entire seed branch will detach and blow away like a tumbleweed in the wind.
Purple Lovegrass is used in gardens because it is a tough low maintenance grass that needs little care. This grass is a perennial that will reseed. The smooth leaf blades are 10 inches long and 1/4 of an inch wide. The plant is 2 feet tall with a 2-3 foot spread. Purple Lovegrass supports wildlife, that uses it as cover and as nesting material. It is a host to the caterpillars of the Zabulon skipper and attracts other butterflies and birds. Deer will not eat this plant but other small animals will forage on its seeds. From a distance, when planted en mass it offers a stunning display to the landscape.
Did you know:
Purple Lovegrass is widely used by internationally renowned garden designer Piet Oudolf and was listed as one of his “100 Must-Have Plants” in Gardens Illustrated magazine.
Photo Credit: James H. Miller, USDA Forest Service, Bugwood.org.