Genus: Fountain grass

Pennisetum

Photo/Illustration: 
Michelle Gervais
Fountain grass (Pennisetum)
pen-nih-SEE-tum
Poaceae
Pennisetum grows in savannas and woodlands throughout temperate to tropical climates. These plants exhibit feathery, spike-like panicles atop linear leaves in summer and autumn. Grow in containers, grass gardens, mixed herbaceous borders, and rock gardens; they are particularly effective en masse. The inflorescences are suitable for dried and fresh arrangements.  Note: Many species self-sow and may become invasive in warmer regions
Noteworthy characteristics:  These grasses create delightful textures, with flower spikes that glow in the sun and wave in the breeze. There are many forms and sizes, some with deeply-colored foliage, that are adaptable to a wide variety of garden sites.
Care:  Grow in light, average, well-drained soil in full sun. Cut back previous year's foliage by early spring.
Propagation: 

Divide in late spring or early autumn. Sow seed in early spring at 55° to 65°F.

Problems: 

Rust, eye spot, leaf spots.

Species, varieties and clutivars for genus Pennisetum

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Variegated purple fountain grass
Pennisetum 'Fireworks'
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Fountain grass
Pennisetum alopecuroides
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Pearl millet
Pennisetum glaucum 'Purple Majesty'
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Bunny tails
Pennisetum messiacum
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Red bunny tails
Pennisetum messiacum 'Red Buttons'
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Oriental fountain grass
Pennisetum orientale
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Variegated Purple Fountain Grass
Pennisetum setaceum 'Fireworks'
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Purple fountain grass
Pennisetum setaceum 'Rubrum'
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Slender veldt grass
Pennisetum spathiolatum