Molinia caerulea arundinacea, aka Tall Purple Moor Grass has a very famous family member, ‘Karl Foerster,’ who has been used—some would argue overused— in many commercial applications around the United States. Moor grass remains a strong vertical accent all season long and looks great planted in masses, which is one reason for its popularity.


The grass pictured here, though, is Karl’s lesser-known cousin, ‘Skyracer.’  Late October is the peak for its gorgeous golden color here in zone 4. This particular clump is around six years old and still going strong without any divisions.  (Dividing big grasses is a job that requires a jackhammer, not a shovel.)photo ‘Skyracer’ loves to remain in place and its ten foot tall blooms shiver in the slightest breeze. (For reference, the fence behind the grass is four feet tall.)

I really love this grass. I recommend planting it where it can be side-lit. This is late morning light and the plant just glows. ‘Skyracer’ was introduced by Kurt Bluemel, another German plantsman.

If you need a tall, graceful, late-fall specimen plant, this grass fits the bill.  And unlike ‘Karl Foerster,’ you won’t see ‘Skyracer’ everywhere you look.

My only caveat would be that gracefulness is also its downfall: this grass collapses completely under a snowfall. Otherwise, this Purple Moor Grass is a fantastic, low maintenance addition to any garden.

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