If you are looking for an easy-care, robust and decorative ornamental grass for the heath or natural garden, the moor grass with a growth height of up to 200 cm is one of the favorites for every garden lover. As part of the sweet grass family, the Molinia caerulea not only enchants the wild garden or the bog bed with its graceful growth habit and the blue-violet flower panicles, but also attracts attention at the edge of the wood or in the garden pond. The moor grass owes its name to its centuries-long use to clean tobacco pipes. It is also often called a broom reed because its stems are so strong that it was tied into brooms. The hobby gardener will undoubtedly be interested above all in the aesthetic effect as a decorative garden element, since it is not only used in beds,


Anyone who has not yet cultivated moor grass in their garden can purchase it as a young plant in the garden center or simply collect and sow the seeds in nature along the way.

Pot or container plant

The best time to plant purple moor grass perennials purchased from specialist retailers is early spring. However, there is nothing wrong with planting in the fall. In terms of quality, preference should be given to suppliers whose plants have been grown outdoors and are already used to the local climate. At this stage, the visual impact of the foliage is not as important as a strong root ball. Then the robust Molinia caerulea will definitely develop its foliage and flowers. For planting the broom reed in the bed, the following recommendations should be observed:

  • A sunny to partially shaded location is ideal.
  • Humic, moist and well-drained soil.
  • Soil quality neutral to slightly acidic promotes growth.
  • Planting distance 40 cm to 60 cm depending on the variety.
  • Soak the root ball in water before planting.
  • Water well after planting.
  • Support tall growing varieties with a stake.
  • Mulching protects against moisture loss.

Moor-grass is extremely adaptable and also thrives in nutrient-poor locations in nature. Since the roots of the adult plants grow up to 1 meter deep, the soil is loosened up well after digging the planting hole. Since the sweet grass tolerates a dry period well, but can die off due to rotten roots if it becomes waterlogged, some sand is added to the potting soil to improve permeability. Add a handful of horn shavings or some compost, then the root ball is covered with soil in such a way that a slight hollow is created so that the irrigation and rainwater can be used effectively.

plants in the bucket

Blue moor grass is also suitable as a decorative container plant for the terrace, balcony or house entrance. When choosing the planter, the deep roots should be taken into account so that repotting is not necessary after just one year. Conventional potting soil is suitable as a substrate, to which some sand, garden compost and some horn shavings are added. A drainage hole is essential. This is additionally covered with a drainage made of gravel, potsherds or perlite so that no waterlogging can form. Covering the drainage with an air- and water-permeable fleece prevents it from being clogged by the substrate and waterlogging still occurring. Experienced hobby gardeners only fill the substrate around the root ball so far that a pouring edge remains free,


Since the moor grass is often found in the wild, the seeds do not have to be purchased separately, but are simply collected from the panicles during a walk. At home, the seeds are placed in a seed tray filled with nutrient-poor, well-drained soil. They are only pressed lightly in it, but not completely covered, because they are light germs. Finally, seeds and substrate are moistened with a spray bottle. The seed tray is placed in a warm location where the temperature is around 20° Celsius. Germination does not take place below 15° Celsius. If possible, the area should not be exposed to direct sunlight.

Covered with a glass plate or transparent film, the practiced hobby gardener prevents uninvited insects from laying their eggs in the substrate and the larvae from attacking the seedlings. In addition, a warm, humid climate is created in this way, which promotes germination. In the next two weeks the whole thing is kept slightly moist but not completely soaked. Then the first seedlings should appear, which are pricked out from a size of 10 cm. The garden lover is now free to continue growing the young plants in a small pot for a while or to plant them straight away in the bed or bucket.


The moor grass, which is also known as benthalm or bentgrass in different regions, is pleasantly easy to care for. If you follow the instructions below, you will be able to enjoy the ornamental grass for many years:

  • Water regularly, about 2 to 3 times a week.
  • Mulching protects against dehydration.
  • Give some liquid fertilizer every 4 weeks in spring and summer.
  • Do not fertilize during winter.
  • Do not cut back before or during winter.
  • Cut back to the ground in spring.

When winter approaches, the stalks of moor grass are tied together with a strong string. Under no circumstances should you cut back at this point, because the leaves serve as protection against frost and moisture. Incidentally, the stalks cut off in the spring are ideal for drying and then for use in decorative dried bouquets at home and as gifts. To do this, they are tied into a not too large bouquet and hung upside down in a dry, warm place. When they crackle, that’s the sign they’re ready to be processed into a creative dried bouquet.


The moor grass is hardy down to -28° Celsius and serves as an attractive eye-catcher in the garden and on the balcony during this barren time. Nevertheless, the root area should be protected with bark mulch, wood chips, straw or pellets during the cold season. In the bucket there is a risk that the root ball will freeze through. It is therefore advisable to place it on a wind-protected southern wall of the house and to wrap the planter in bubble wrap, garden fleece or burlap. The bucket is protected from frost from below by placing it on a styrofoam or wooden block. As in the bed, the moor grass in the tub receives an occasional dose of water during the winter, but only during frost-free periods.

diseases and pests

The moor grass is not bothered by the diseases and pests that generally occur in the hobby garden. On the contrary! This ornamental grass is able to actively defend itself against harmful insects should they dare to nibble on the flowers. The bracts with the spikes are under tension and simply snap shut like a snare if an insect should tamper with it. However, the moor grass has no further use for its catch.


Like most garden perennials, purple moor grass can be propagated by division. With this vegetative method, the root ball is carefully lifted out of the ground with a digging fork or spade. The division is done either with a sharp knife or a spade. For younger plants with a still delicate root system, simply pulling the root ball apart may be enough. It is important that each section has its own roots and shoots. As a precaution, the interfaces are treated with charcoal ash so that no rot can develop here. Then the parts can be planted in their new location.

Division helps with baldness

Sweet grass plants in particular, such as moor grass, which form clumps that steadily thicken over the years, tend to become bare from the inside. There is simply not enough light and air getting into the inner area. In this case, the division provides a remedy. Immediately after pruning in spring, the entire eyrie is dug up and divided like a cake with a sharp knife. On this occasion, the bare parts are cut off and disposed of. The remaining components are replanted in their new location.

Popular Varieties

Some popular varieties are presented below:

Edith Dudszus

  • dark brown flowers
  • green leaves
  • golden-yellow autumn colour
  • Growth height 70 cm
  • Flowering time July to September

bog witch

  • black-purple flowers
  • deciduous leaves
  • beautiful fall color
  • Growth height up to 60 cm
  • Flowering period August to September


  • black-brown flowers
  • silvery white leaves
  • Growth height up to 50 cm
  • well suited for the rock garden
  • Flowering period August to September


  • violet flowers
  • lush green leaves
  • dark yellow autumn colour
  • grazile Wuchsform
  • ideal for use as a container plant
  • Maximum growth height 80 cm


  • black-grey flowers
  • green leaves in summer
  • golden yellow foliage in autumn
  • Growth height 30 cm to 100 cm
  • ideal for heather gardens

permanent beam

  • particularly bushy growth
  • juicy light green leaves
  • Growth height maximum 60 cm
  • nice for the rock garden
  • first class container plant

radiation source

  • extremely strong leaves
  • also tolerate a snow load
  • Growth height up to 90 cm
  • attractive as a solitary or container plant
  • beautiful grave planting
  • Flowering period August to October

Moore grass offers a wide variety of varieties to decoratively loosen up the garden, the moor bed, the pond planting, the rock garden, the heather bed or terrace and balcony.

The moor grass, also known as broom grass or bent grass, enriches the hobby garden in many ways. Whether as a solitary plant or in a group, the ornamental grass looks attractive in almost any location. It is particularly popular as a planting on the edge of the wood, because its filigree stalks provide a clear view of the plants placed behind them. In the rock garden, the smaller varieties in particular enrich the visual appearance. But even in the wild or heath garden, the enthusiastic garden lover will not want to do without the moor grass. Moor-grass loves it when it’s humid and warm; however, it also accepts a longer dry period without complaint. She just can’t stand waterlogging. With insects that want to get at their flowers and seeds, makes short work of it and simply folds its bracts together like a trap iron. Moor-grass from the sweet grass family definitely deserves the attention of hobby gardeners.

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