UNDAUNTED® Ruby muhly

Muhlenbergia reverchonii Lauren Spring Ogden Plant SelectUNDAUNTED® ruby muhly is one of North America’s most beautiful native grasses. It was originally selected by Scott Ogden and Lauren Springer Ogden in 2003 from an exceptionally robust population of Muhlenbergia reverchonii discovered in north central Texas that has since been plowed under. UNDAUNTED® ruby muhly is a long-lived, low-maintenance clumping grass with lovely reddish clouds of flowers late in the season that dry after frost and remain attractive throughout winter. Expanded trials have established UNDAUNTED® ruby muhly’s hardiness at a solid zone 5, making it hardy over much of North America. Its heat tolerance makes it a fine choice for the warmest climates as well.

UNDAUNTED® ruby muhly thrives in most soils including alkaline clay, and adapts to water-logging as well as drought; in the wild it often grows on hardpan that is briefly saturated and then dries out entirely. Summer heat and full sun promote timely and profuse bloom. Its well-known relative, Gulf muhly (Muhlenbergia capillaris), bears similar showy pinkish-red flowers, but has a coarser, less compact habit and is not as drought-tolerant or cold hardy.

The original trial plants have thrived in the Ogdens’ Fort Collins garden, and remain dense and vigorous a decade after planting with no dieback in the center, unusual for a bunch grass. The plant’s well-behaved, fine-textured soft green foliage mound is handsome throughout the growing season before the stunning bloom takes the stage. When backlit by autumnal sunlight the flower effect is breathtaking, like a crimson halo hovering over the plant. Use as an accent with asters and colchicums or other autumn-flowering companions, or go for the wow factor with a mass planting, or blend into a naturalistic matrix as in Lauren’s Plant Select Downloadable Design Prairie-Inspired Garden.

View the plant profile here. Or see the video here.

UNDAUNTED® Ruby Muhly (Muhlenbergia reverchonii ‘PUND01S’)
Perennial Grass
Height: 15-18″ to 30″ in flower
Width: 18-24″
Blooms: Autumn
Sun: Full sun
Water: Moderate to dry
Hardiness: USDA Zones 5-10
Culture: Clay or loam soils

Thanks to Lauren Springer Ogden for writing this piece.

8 responses to “UNDAUNTED® Ruby muhly”

  1. Claudia Struble says:

    How does Undaunted R.M. grass compare to the species?

    • Ross Shrigley says:

      It was selected for cold hardiness and compactness. The strait species is going to be larger by several inches and more open when it blooms.

  2. William W Wiggins says:

    How will this do along the CO/WY border at 7200′? I can supply irrigation with a slight modification to my system. Another question would be how attractive is it to animals such as rabbits, mule deer and elk all of which visit our 40 acres.

  3. Mindy says:

    Hi! I have a question concerning Undaunted Ruby Muhly…. We live in a small town in south central Wisconsin. We have a courtyard garden in back with an 8 foot fence surrounding it. Our front fence is 3 1/2 feet high, our house is brick with pink lady walkways in front and back. The back is a micro growing zone and I have pushed zone 7 plants there that live for 2 years or so. Our front yard is full full sun and is hot during the summer. I am in the process of redoing our front beds as last winter killed off our beautiful weeping copper beech tree that we had for 20 years (a late spring cold snap of -35 – unusual) … I want to create a grass garden with a mix of both annual grasses and perennial grasses (purple fountain grass, maiden grass, little bluestem….etc) This muhly grass is beautiful and I just purchased seeds and plan on starting them indoors in late January. What is their grow rate?…I think in the back garden they may winter over. And even if they remain on the small side, I think the interest will still be there…How big will they get if I seed them indoors in late January and set them out in mid to late May… Thanks!

    • Ross Shrigley says:

      Ruby muhly will take about 3 years to become mature in WI. Do not offer it any supplemental irrigation after the second year. Enjoy!

  4. Jules says:

    How will this grass thrive in a coastal Delaware location? I have 2 areas in mind: 1. Is next to an open bay with southwest exposure and significant wind at times, 2. Is 4 miles inland from the coast with less wind and more prone to wet seasons.

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