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‘Purple Baron’—brushes emerge with red tinges

If you want nice big brushes of Blue Ribbon Millet for autumn the time to start planting it is now. A popular cultivar is ‘Purple Baron’, chosen for its large solid brush and deep glossy leaves. This is a mid-range Millet, growing about 3 feet, for the Millet look without the telephone pole loftiness of larger cultivars. We like this variety because it branches out, generating more nodes for more Millet brushes per plant.

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As they evolve, brushes are covered with golden pollen

‘Purple Baron’ has another interesting detail: the flash of color the brush goes through as it evolves. When the stem appears the brush emerges with red tinges, soon to be covered with golden pollen. Red seeds crop up from under the pollen as the brush finally matures. Foliage starts out green and takes on a dark, glossy coat as the plant matures also.

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Red seeds crop up from under the pollen as brushes finally mature

For decor purposes, the habit is tall and slender so when it is dried ‘Purple Baron’ can be used like a cornstalk in holiday displays. It’s a fast fill-in for autumn and the blooms are laden with pollen. In addition, the seeds are oil-rich, so this variety is a good addition to a birding garden. Culturally, it co-exists with sunflowers very nicely—same soil, same light, and same water.