Is Purple Fountain Grass Edible? (& How Best To Care For It)

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Purple Fountain Grass is a lovely-looking plant that many people use as an ornamental plant in their homes or even in their gardens. This plant has a very distinct and unique look that attracts anyone’s attention. This plant looks so good that it may have you wondering if it is edible or not, so is Purple Fountain Grass edible? 

Purple Fountain Grass is considered a non-toxic plant, so technically this plant is edible, but it is not recommended that you or any other creature consume it. If you consume Purple Fountain Grass, you could develop symptoms like diarrhea, vomiting, depression, or a combination of them all. 

Purple Fountain Grass is a uniquely beautiful plant that adds great color to your house or garden, but is there other benefits to having this plant? Is this plant safe for your pets to be around or even consume? Can this plant help you save your garden from deer? Let us find out!

What Is Purple Fountain Grass? 

Beautiful Purple fountain grass
Beautiful Purple fountain grass

Purple Fountain Grass is considered one of the most highly rated and popular ornamental grasses out of hundreds of different options. Purple Fountain Grass (Pennisetum setaceum ‘Rubrum’) has burgundy or purple-colored foliage that extends into soft, fuzzy blooms. These blooms will then produce purple seedheads. 

Purple Fountain Grass makes a bold statement when you plant it in your garden on its own or even in a group of other plants. Purple fountain grass is pretty easy to grow and is a low-maintenance plant once it has established itself in your garden. 

Purple fountain grass is technically considered a perennial plant, but it leads more towards being a tender perennial plant. This ornamental plant’s name is often confused with the name Purple Fountain Beech, but these two plants are completely different from each other. 

Purple Fountain Grass is different from Purple Fountain Beech as Purple Fountain Beech is a dark-leaved tree with a purple-bronzy color and is not a grass-type plant like Purple Fountain Grass. 

Purple Fountain Grass is not hardy to cold weather and will not survive in locations that have harsh winters. This plant is a great plant to grow in the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone 9, but if it is covered and protected from the cold, it may reappear after winter in Hardiness Zones 7 and 8, too. 

However, you are able to grow this plant indoors, so if you live outside of these Plant Hardiness Zones, you can still grow this fabulous grass.

Is Purple Fountain Grass Edible?

Purple Fountain Grass is a beautiful plant to have in your home and your garden. Its lovely deep purple leaves can make the plant stand out in any setting it is grown in. 

Purple Fountain Grass may even look so appealing that some people may wonder if it is edible; after all, there are a lot of plants in your garden that are edible, and you do not even know it like Dandelions. So, is your Purple Fountain Grass one of these unknown edible plants?  

Purple Fountain Grass is one of the many options of ornamental grass you can grow in your garden and home, but unlike many other ornamental kinds of grass, Purple Fountain Grass has been labeled as a non-toxic plant, so technically this plant is edible. 

But it is not recommended to eat this plant as it can cause some unpleasant symptoms after consumption, which we will look at further in this article. Purple Fountain Grass is a visually appealing plant that should probably stay in your home and garden for ornamental purposes only and should not be used for consumption. 

Can Humans Eat Purple Fountain Grass

As we have just mentioned above, Purple Fountain Grass is technically an edible plant, and you can try it if you want to, but if you do, just ensure you are prepared for a pretty rough time in the short future after you consume the plant. 

As Purple Fountain Grass is considered a non-toxic plant, consuming this plant will not kill you, but you can develop some unpleasant symptoms after consumption. If you are brave enough, or can work up the courage to try and eat some Purple Fountain grass, you will need to prepare yourself for possible diarrhea and vomiting. 

You may even have a depressive episode due to eating this plant as it contains some chemicals that can slightly unbalance your brain chemistry; with the vomiting and diarrhea, you will not be feeling great after. 

This plant also has sharp edges, so it can cause some uncomfortable dysfunction in your digestive system if consumed. These symptoms should stop by themselves, but if you struggle to eat and keep fluids down and your stomach area is tender, you need to seek medical treatment. 

It is also possible to develop an allergic reaction to this plant if you consume it, which will require immediate medical treatment. 

Is Purple Fountain Grass Safe For Pets To Eat?

Lots of purple fountain grass
Lots of purple fountain grass

Many pet owners know the importance of keeping their pets out of harm’s way when it comes to household products like cleaning products, pest sprays, and fertilizers. However, most either forget or do not realize the harmful risks that plants in their garden can pose to their beloved animals. 

Purple Fountain Grass is a highly popular ornamental plant that many people keep in their gardens and even grow indoors, but this plant can have some serious, adverse effects on your pets. For this reason, you need to remember to research the plants that you keep in your home and garden to ensure the safety of your pet. 

Purple Fountain Grass has been deemed a non-toxic plant, so for pets like dogs and cats, eating Purple Fountain Grass will not be fatal, but it can cause severe and uncomfortable symptoms.

The most common symptoms that this plant can cause for your pets if it is consumed include diarrhea, vomiting, depression, or even a combination of any of these symptoms. 

In addition to these symptoms, Purple Fountain Grass also has sharp edges on each blade of grass, which can cause your pet pain or even cause dysfunction in your pet’s digestive system.  

So, if you have pets, you will need to either get rid of the Purple Fountain Grass, or you need to ensure that your pet cannot get to the grass to consume it, especially dogs, as they are more likely to try and eat the grass. 

If your pet does eat Purple Fountain Grass, then the symptoms mentioned above should resolve on their own; however, if your pet’s stomach seems tender and your pet has a decreased appetite, you will need to make a trip to your local vet. 

Is Purple Fountain Grass Safe For Deer To Eat? 

As stated earlier, purple fountain grass is a non-toxic plant, but it can cause some adverse symptoms if consumed, like vomiting, diarrhea, depression, or a mixture of them all. All of these symptoms would apply to deer as well if they ate this ornamental grass-like plant. 

But deer are unlikely to try and eat this plant as they do not like the fluffiness of the blooms, and they do not enjoy the taste of the plant, so they will avoid it as much as they can. 

Is Purple Fountain Grass Deer Resistant? 

Purple Fountain Grass is a deer-resistant ornamental grass, making it an excellent option to plant in your garden if you live in deer country and have plants that you do not want to be eaten.  

Planting this deer-resistant ornamental grass in your garden is an easy task, and the plant is low-maintenance when it has been established, so it will not take up a lot of your time with plant care. Purple Fountain Grass will also add a lovely, and sometimes needed, splash of color to your garden. 

This plant is compatible with many other plants making it the perfect plant for companion planting if you have a deer problem in your garden. You will only have a problem growing Purple Fountain Grass if you live in a location that has harsh winters as the plant will not survive, and you will most likely need to replant it in the next season. 

If you live in a location with a climate that has these harsh winters, you will need to plant a different deer-resistant ornamental grass-like plant; luckily, there are many options to choose from. 

Managing Pests and Diseases

Protecting Purple Fountain Grass from rust is an important aspect of garden care. The small yellowish spots that you see on the leaves are microscopic fungi called rust fungi. There are several ways you can prevent nasty rust on your flowering ornamental grasses.

Prevent your grass from becoming stressed by keeping it hydrated through regular watering. You should also care for diseased plants in the late spring and summer when new growth occurs. Ensure that new growth occurs in well-draining soil, allowing excess water to drain away before it causes problems. If you suspect any fungi invasion to your grass, it is advisable to use fungal sprays to combat the same.


Purple Fountain Grass is a lovely and colorful ornamental grass-like plant that can be grown both indoors and outdoors if you have the right climate in your area. This plant is considered non-toxic, meaning it is technically edible, but it is not recommended that you or any animal eat this plant. If it is consumed by any creature, it will result in uncomfortable and unpleasant symptoms for a few hours or a day or two after consumption.

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About Charlie D Paige

Charlie is a massive DIY fan, with dozens of DIY projects under his belt - ranging from tiling to electrics, and concrete pads to walls. Charlie loves tinkering, seeing how things works, the outdoors and playing with power tools... so is it any wonder that he's completed so many DIY jobs over the years?

Charlie loves spreading his hard-won DIY experience with the world via this blog.