Pennisetum alopecuroides

Tried and Trouble-free Recommended by 3 Professionals
Common Name: fountain grass
Type: Ornamental grass
Family: Poaceae
Native Range: Eastern Asia to western Australia
Zone: 6 to 9
Height: 2.50 to 5.00 feet
Spread: 2.50 to 5.00 feet
Bloom Time: July to February
Bloom Description: Silvery to pinkish-white
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium to wet
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Ground Cover, Rain Garden
Flower: Showy, Good Cut, Good Dried
Leaf: Colorful, Good Fall
Attracts: Birds
Other: Winter Interest
Tolerate: Drought, Erosion, Wet Soil, Black Walnut, Air Pollution

Culture

Easily grown in average, medium to wet soils in full sun to part shade. Best in full sun. Tolerates part shade, but may not flower in too much shade. Cut foliage to the ground in late winter before new shoots appear. May be grown from seed and self-seeds in optimum growing conditions. May not be reliably winter hardy throughout USDA Zone 5 where it is best sited in a protected location.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Fountain grass is a warm season ornamental grass which typically grows in graceful, spreading clumps from 2-3' tall and as wide. Features narrow, medium to deep green leaves (to 1/2" wide) in summer, changing to golden yellow in fall and fading to beige in late fall. Foliage usually remains attractive throughout the winter. Showy, silvery to pinkish-white, bristly, bottle brush-like flower spikes arch outward from the clump in late summer like water spraying from a fountain (hence the common name). Flower spikes turn brownish as the seeds form, and spikes usually persist until late fall or early winter before shattering. Many excellent fountain grass cultivars are available in commerce, ranging in height from 1-5' and featuring a variety of different flower colors (purples, pinks or whites) and autumn foliage.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems.

Garden Uses

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. Also grows well in moist locations such as peripheries of water gardens, ponds or streams.