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In bloom at Botanica: ruby grass

Botanical name: Melinis nerviglumis "Pink Crystals"

Location: Button Fountain, Martha Parriott Terrace Garden

Description: Native to Africa, this tropical, annual grass is best known for its panicles of shimmering ruby pink flowers that fade to white and bloom from midsummer through early fall. The erect, mounding foliage is blue-green in color, turning to purple-red in the fall. Reaches a mature height of 24 inches with a 15-inch spread.

Growth tips: In our zone, this plant is treated as an annual/houseplant. Optimum growing conditions are well-drained soil in full sun. Clumps may be potted in the fall and taken indoors to overwinter. Seeds may also be collected for use in the following year.

History: Displayed at Botanica since 1999.

Uses: Good selection for beds and borders, mass plantings or containers.

Also blooming: Roses, wildflowers, water lilies, annuals and perennials.