Fountain grass

Pennisetum alopecuroides

Photo/Illustration: 
Michelle Gervais
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Fountain grass (Pennisetum alopecuroides)
pen-nih-SEE-tum al-oh-pek-yur-OY-deez
Synonyms:  P. compressum
Genus:  Pennisetum

This species produces 2- to 5-foot-tall mounds of narrow green foliage and bottle brush-like silvery-pink to purple flowers, both of which mature to shades of brown. It is the parent of numerous cultivars with notable flowers that range from purple to gray/black. It and some of its cultivars self-sow plentifully in warm climates. It is marginally hardy in Zone 5.

Noteworthy Characteristics: 

Good cut or dried flower.

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.

Overview

Height
3 ft. to 6 ft.
Spread
3 ft. to 6 ft.
Growth Habit
Clumps
Growth Pace
Invasive/Aggressive Grower,
Moderate Grower
Light
Full Sun Only
Moisture
Medium to Wet
Maintenance
Moderate
Characteristics
Attracts Song Birds,
Self Seeds,
Showy Flowers,
Showy Foliage,
Showy Seed Heads
Bloom Time
Fall,
Summer
Flower Color
Hazelnut,
Pink Yarrow,
Niagara
Foliage Color
Evergreen
Uses
Beds and Borders,
Cut Flower,
Ground Covers,
Waterside
Style
Formal Garden,
Meadow Garden
Seasonal Interest
Summer Interest
Tolerance
Deer Tolerant,
Frost Tolerant
Type
Grasses

Pennisetum alopecuroides