Molinia Caerulea: Purple Moor Grass Information and Care

Molinia Caerulea, or Purple Moor Grass, is a beautiful compact grass. Why should you consider it and how to grow it?

The Purple Moor Grass forms a compact cluster of arching, dark-green leaves with slender purple flower inflorescences on stems up to 23 inches tall in the summer.

Purple Moor Grass is an excellent choice for ornamental grass collectors.

General Information

Molinia caerulea is a wonderful decorative plant due to its lovely perennial inflorescence and compact clumping habit. Plant this species in groups for best results.

Purple moor-grass is a native to Eurasia. Its tall, slender flower spikes are perfect for providing texture and movement to borders. Its flowers can grow 5 to 8 feet above the leaves, giving the plant a towering presence that stands out in the landscape. Its yellow to violet blooms are admired by gardeners everywhere

It produces many inflorescences, but because they are thin, they appear see-through from afar. Both leaves and flowers turn brown and fade away in the fall.

Molinia is a popular cut flower. 

bushes of moorgrass in the field

Care and Maintenance

Molinia caerulea is a low-maintenance plant that can adapt to various growing conditions. Maximize its ornamental use with proper care and maintenance.


Acidic soils, clay, loam, and sand with plenty of moisture are favorable for this grass. It is easily grown in full sun in medium to wet, well-drained soil. 

It tolerates little shade, but too much shade weakens the plant and causes it to produce fewer flowers. Blooming may be impeded in hot summer environments as well.


Water is one of the most important aspects of purple moor-grass care. While the plant will wilt in overly saturated soil, it needs consistent humidity. 

Water the plant thoroughly at least once a week. The soil should be kept moist, so more frequent watering is necessary during dry months and if there is a severe drought. 

Watering from the top of the plant may encourage rust and other fungal diseases; therefore, always water from the bottom. 

Molina grass abundantly growing outdoors


Although this slow-growing cultivar dislikes disturbance and rarely has to be divided, it can be propagated by division in the spring, just before the new leaves appear. 

Because this is a slow-growing grass, you should avoid using small starting divisions unless you have the patience to wait for the plant to mature, which takes many years.


Unlike other ornamental grasses, Molinia caerulea develops leaves and flower stalks that break down in late fall, providing little winter interest. 

Cut back any old leaves to the ground early in the spring, just before the new leaf blades grow. Because this cultivar doesn’t release many seeds, there is no need to worry about self-seeding. 

Landscape Uses

Purple moor-grass has a soft, crystalline appearance, making it ideal for placing in front of a border to shade the plants behind it. In the fall, the foliage turns a vivid golden color. The golden inflorescences are especially beautiful when illuminated by late afternoon sunlight.

It pairs well with ferns and pulmonaria, as well as fall plants like asters, goldenrods, and helenium, and helps distract from the fading leaves in shaded areas. 

This decorative grass can also simply be utilized as an accent or specimen plant in a variety of settings. In addition to borders, it works well in meadows, wild gardens, cottage gardens, and ponds. It becomes a useful groundcover when planted in large groups.

a bush of a healthy and thick moorgrass

Companion Plants

Molinia caerulea, with its fine texture and brilliant color, looks especially lovely when planted near dark-foliage plants of medium or coarse texture.

Lobelia cardinalis

Lobelia cardinalis is a Northern American wildflower. This plant has dark-green leaves with purple undersides and can grow in swampy places.

This 1- to 6-foot-tall perennial is adorned with bright scarlet flowers in 8-inch terminal spikes.

beautiful full bloom red lobelia flower

Aconitum sp

Monkshood, or helmet flower, features deeply lobed leaves, serrated edges, and clusters of flowers with a unique upper hood, which gives the plant its name. The beautiful flowers bloom in the summer and vary in color from blue to purple to white. 

Monkshood is a genus of over 250 herbaceous perennials, the majority of which are highly toxic. It is not a good idea to plant near the food garden.

blooming blue monkshood flower


Joe Pye weed is a late-season perennial that adds structure to the garden and can be used as a border or accent plant. Some types have more noticeable purple stems or leaves, which can enhance many color-themed gardens.

This tall, beautiful plant produces massive spikelets of flowers that bloom almost all winter. The flowers look lovely in floral arrangements and attract a wide range of beneficial insects.

pink eupatorium flowers blooming on the garden
Jeffrey Douglas
Jeffrey Douglas own a landscaping company and has been in the business for over 20 years. He loves all things related to lawns or gardens and believes that proper maintenance is the key to preventing problems in the first place.
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