Rain Dance Grass
Rich Green Grass with Red Tips
A newer warm season ornamental grass that turns dark maroon in winter.
The big bluestem grasses begin growing and adding colorful impact to a landscape as soon as the weather warms in late spring. One of the newer cultivars, Rain Dance, is also cold hardy down to zone 3. The long-living perennial produces deep green blades of grass in a loose clump in summer, and then really shines as temperatures cool again.
Tall Colorful Focal Point
In the right conditions, Rain Dance grass grows up to six feet tall each summer. Although the green blades clump at the bottom, they rise more loosely from the clump, some upright, and some arching out slightly. The true grace comes as the seasons change, and the gorgeous blades of Rain Dance gradually turn from green to red. By fall, the foliage has a dark crimson appearance, topped off by red clusters of flowers that branch out, resembling a turkey foot.
Feature Rain Dance in the Landscape
The deep red colors of Rain Dance signal that fall has arrived. The plant is best placed in the landscape where gardeners or visitors can see the foliage in fall. But the versatile plant also screens equipment in the yard, or adds to privacy along a border or fence. Rain Dance prefers full sun and slightly moist soil, so it’s also perfect for water features or natural plantings around lakes, ponds or rivers. Rain Dance also does fine in drought conditions, but might not grow to full height.
As Sturdy as it Is Stunning
Bluestem grasses such as Rain Dance are native to North America, which makes them adaptable and tough. The plants can suffer from leaf spots or rust, but the typically only under highly humid conditions or when air can’t circulate around the foliage. The plant only needs enough water to prevent blade browning or wilting.
Leaving the stems and seedheads intact in late fall provides a focal point in the winter garden for homeowners and birds. The plant can be cut to the ground when new growth appears at the bottom of the clump in late winter or early spring. Using hedge trimmers can make the job easier as the plant grows. In areas with heavy snow, gardeners might choose to prune the blades in late fall to avoid winter damage.