Common Name: fountain grass
Type: Ornamental grass
Zone: 5 to 8
Height: 4.00 to 5.00 feet
Spread: 2.00 to 3.00 feet
Bloom Time: June to September
Bloom Description: Pinkish-white
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Leaf: Good Fall
Other: Winter Interest
Tolerate: Black Walnut, Air Pollution
Easily grown in average, medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun to light shade. Best in full sun. Tolerates part shade, but may not flower in too much shade. Prefers sandy loams and regular moisture with good drainage. Avoid heavy clay soils. Established plants tolerate some drought. Cut foliage to the ground in late winter before new shoots appear. Although it is often rated winter hardy only to USDA Zones 6-10, ‘Tall Tails’ is generally considered to be safe in the St. Louis area (USDA Zones 6A-5B).
Pennisetum orientale is a warm season fountain grass that is native to Asia. It typically grows in a spreading clump to 2-3’ tall. It features narrow, green to gray-green leaves and showy pinkish-white flower spikes that arch above the foliage in summer like water spraying from a fountain (hence the common name). ‘Tall Tails’ is a vigorous cultivar that grows much larger than species plants. Including flower spikes, it typically grows to 4-5’ tall. Foliage clump (to 3-4’ tall) is topped in late June by bottlebrush-like spikes (to 6-8” long) of feathery pinkish-white flowers that rise up from and arch over the foliage. Flower spikes persist over a very long bloom period from late June to August/September before eventually disintegrating. Foliage changes to yellowish-tan in fall, and usually remains attractive throughout the winter. Species name comes from the Greek words penna (feather) and seta (bristle) in reference to the feathery bristles present on some species plants. Cultivar name is in reference to the attractive flower spikes that purportedly resemble tails.
No serious insect or disease problems.
Specimen, group or mass. Foliage and attractive flower spikes of this ornamental grass provide excellent texture, color and contrast to borders, foundations and open areas.