March 2004



Purple Majesty Ornamental Millet  – Pennisetum glaucum


Origin: USA



This winner of the 2003 All-America Selections committee is indeed a very special plant. Not only did this millet win the Gold Medal, which is awarded typically only once or twice in a decade, but it will rank just as high with your neighborhood wildlife.

Purple Majesty ornamental millet came about as a fluke in a University of Nebraska breeding program and is actually just a showier version of the plant normally used for forage or grain. This ornamental millet starts out green and gradually changes in the full sun to a deep purple all the way from the base of its stem to the tip of long, flower-packed stalks. Growing up to four to five feet in height, Purple Majesty works equally well in boarders or containers.

This annual does very well in sunny, well-drained sites and is fairly easy to grow. The only downside seems to be that the seeds are on the slow side to germinate (up to three to four weeks) and the seedlings have a tendency to succumb to damping off disease. Using sterile soil and constant air movement will generally take care of the damping off problem. Other than that, Purple Majesty is a trouble-free, outstanding garden performer, which your birds will love you for growing.