Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Ornamental Millet, Black Leaf Millet, Pearl Millet
Pennisetum glaucum 'Purple Majesty'

Family: Poaceae (poh-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Pennisetum (pen-ih-SEE-tum) (Info)
Species: glaucum (GLAW-kum) (Info)
Cultivar: Purple Majesty

5 vendors have this plant for sale.

50 members have or want this plant for trade.

Ornamental Grasses and Bamboo

36-48 in. (90-120 cm)

9-12 in. (22-30 cm)

USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun


Bloom Color:
Dark Purple/Black

Bloom Time:
Mid Summer
Late Summer/Early Fall

Grown for foliage

Other details:
May be a noxious weed or invasive
This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds
Requires consistently moist soil; do not let dry out between waterings
Flowers are good for cutting
Flowers are good for drying and preserving

Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From seed; sow indoors before last frost

Seed Collecting:
Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds

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15 positives
2 neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive BUFFY690 On May 29, 2011, BUFFY690 from Prosperity, SC (Zone 7b) wrote:

Grew this plant from seed for use in two large containers. Will definately be in the garden areas next spring...Love this

Neutral hortulaninobili On Jan 11, 2011, hortulaninobili from St. Louis, MO (Zone 6a) wrote:

Pennisetum glaucum 'Purple Majesty' (ornamental millet)

This plant for me goes two ways: (1) bold and dramatic and best if used sparingly or (2) bold and dramatic and best if used not at all.

In a large planting at the back of a border this plant looks good if allowed to not take center spotlight. One plant would look rather ridiculous, so several together do suffice. Plant among red and orange dahlias, Verbena bonariensis, artemisias, Zinnia 'Envy' and yellow lantana.

Plant can have a cottagey, country, or similar effect. Does not always fit in every garden or landscape. I guess reminds too much of a row crop (monoculture) when I see it - so not all that attractive.

Growth is responsive even in fair soil: additional water and fertilizer help yield excellent results. Full sun dictates depth and richness of color.

Positive Jnette On Jan 15, 2010, Jnette from Northeast, WA (Zone 5a) wrote:

I love this plant. It is not a perennial in my area but I have grown it in containers for my deck for the last 2 years. I have rose colored petunias on the railing above hanging down through out the foliage of this plant and the 2 together are just beautiful. Others like yellow etc. would also look nice.

Positive dancyn On Nov 20, 2009, dancyn from Okanogan, WA wrote:

This plant is a delight in the garden. I start them early to allow better placement and protection of young seedlings in the garden since they can be fussy to germinate. I have a number of slightly different ecosystems in my yard and have placed plants in all of them, including containers. The only ones that turn out any less than stunning are those in lower light settings. I have also noticed that the ones in a windy locale will get some browning of the leaf edges, even with plenty of water. This year I am saving seed, we'll see.

Positive grrrlgeek On Sep 12, 2009, grrrlgeek from Grayslake, IL (Zone 5a) wrote:

Grew easily from seed, they started out green with purple ribs and turned purple as they got taller. Tough as nails--mine stay upright regardless of wind, and one that got broken off at the base with a couple of tiny roots is doing fine with extra soil mounded around it to keep it upright. Too bad it doesn't come true from seed, but worth the yearly seed purchase.

Positive jnfmd On Apr 10, 2009, jnfmd from Paradise, TX wrote:

I grew purple majesty last summer for the first time in the middle of my vegetable garden. My intent was to harvest the seed heads for dried arrangements. I was surprised that it served as a very effective trap plant for squash bugs. Very few squash bugs bothered my squash but were all over the millet. Will try it again this year.

Positive darylmitchell On Mar 16, 2009, darylmitchell from Saskatoon, SK (Zone 3a) wrote:

I grew this as a bedding plant in a container in 2007. It was quite easy to look after and did nicely on a sunny patio. The only problem I had was that the foliage tips would dry out and turn brown. It would probably benefit from some shelter from drying winds.

Positive planolinda On Jul 17, 2008, planolinda from Plano, TX wrote:

very easy to grow from seed, beautiful and unusual looking.

Positive ncdirtdigger On Jan 27, 2008, ncdirtdigger from Waxhaw, NC wrote:

I started the seeds for this plant on a Thursday night and it had sprouted by Sunday morning, very good germination rate as well, 80% as of Sunday.

Positive MarilynneS On Aug 3, 2007, MarilynneS from Thunder Bay Ontario, ON (Zone 3a) wrote:

I bought two plants this summer to place in a garden that is filled with cannas, rudbeckias and marigolds. It was awesome to say the very least .. tall slender plant with a gorgeous burgundy spike. I am zone 3a.

I will post a pic as well


Positive ladyschweig On Jan 28, 2007, ladyschweig from Culpeper, VA (Zone 7a) wrote:

Bought two plants for my "bird garden." Not only did they grow almost as tall as the shephard hooks holding my feeders, the birds loved these plants! While I enjoyed having a tall, dark plant element the birds had loads of fun landing on the plants, eating from them, and "riding" them when too many birds hopped on at once.

I will plant again. Purple Majesty proved too fun not to!

Positive Shirley1md On Nov 10, 2006, Shirley1md from Ellicott City, MD (Zone 7a) wrote:

An All American Selection Winner. It won this prestigious award for its outstanding garden performance in trial gardens all over North America.

Positive Suze_ On May 1, 2006, Suze_ from (Zone 7b) wrote:

Even though I've repeatedly seen that this plant is listed as being hardy to zone 8a, I have yet to see it. Definitely an annual for me even in my protected south facing backyard.

However, I really, really love 'Purple Majesty' and grow it every year. One of the few annuals I go to the trouble to start flats of in the spring.

Positive Kell On Sep 7, 2005, Kell from Northern California, CA (Zone 9b) wrote:

This plant has been a fast fill in for me. It adds a great color and shape to my garden. The blooms are very striiking and laden with pollen. An easy plant in every way.

Neutral Portlander On Jul 30, 2004, Portlander from Portland, OR wrote:

Just planted two gallon-sized 'Purple Majesty' plants. I used plenty of good soil and have kept moist, but one plant is turning brown fast. I hope Portland's hot summer sun and the shock of transplant is all that is wrong.

Positive Commonsense On Jul 6, 2004, Commonsense from Rock Hill, SC (Zone 7b) wrote:

This is an amazing plant! I grew it for the first time this year. Germination indoors was spotty, but I got about ten plants from the packet of seeds, and they are WELL worth growing. They provide a vertical purple-black element in the garden that is invaluable. Their seed heads are frankly and magnificently sexual. I anticipate the birds will enjoy them, too.

Positive cblunkjr On Sep 15, 2003, cblunkjr from Clatskanie, OR (Zone 8a) wrote:

May be wise to stake this plant in high wind areas.
It is lovely and makes want to run your hands up the bloom for the soft fuzzy feeling.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Salem, Alabama
Fallbrook, California
Los Angeles, California
Menifee, California
San Anselmo, California
San Leandro, California
Dayville, Connecticut
Inverness, Florida
Jacksonville, Florida
Safety Harbor, Florida
Vero Beach, Florida
Zephyrhills, Florida
Rincon, Georgia
Grayslake, Illinois
Jacksonville, Illinois
Greenville, Indiana
Barbourville, Kentucky
Ewing, Kentucky
Latonia, Kentucky
Louisville, Kentucky
Opelousas, Louisiana
Mathiston, Mississippi
Hillsboro, Missouri
Blair, Nebraska
Mount Laurel, New Jersey
Neptune, New Jersey
Totowa, New Jersey
Clovis, New Mexico
Roswell, New Mexico
Waverly, New York
West Kill, New York
Columbia Station, Ohio
Enid, Oklahoma
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Clatskanie, Oregon
Mount Bethel, Pennsylvania
Sumter, South Carolina
Watertown, South Dakota
Middleton, Tennessee
Austin, Texas (2 reports)
Elgin, Texas
Fort Worth, Texas
Paradise, Texas
Plano, Texas
Princeton, Texas
Snook, Texas
Salt Lake City, Utah
Brandy Station, Virginia
Okanogan, Washington
Olympia, Washington
Liberty, West Virginia

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