Common Name: elephant grass 
Type: Ornamental grass
Family: Poaceae
Zone: 8 to 11
Height: 4.00 to 8.00 feet
Spread: 2.00 to 3.00 feet
Bloom Time: Rarely flowers
Sun: Full sun
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium
Suggested Use: Annual
Leaf: Colorful
Tolerate: Black Walnut, Air Pollution


Easily grown in light, fertile, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade. Best in full sun.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Pennisetum is a genus of about 120 species of annual and perennial grasses from warm-temperate areas worldwide. Pennisetums are grown for their attractive foliage and in some cases also their attractive inflorescence. Some cultivars have striking purple foliage.

Genus name comes from the Latin penna meaning "feather" and seta meaning "bristle" in reference to the flowers having long, feathery bristles.

'Tift 8', which is sold under the trade name of VERTIGO®, is in the GRACEFUL GRASSES® series from Proven Winners. It is the product of a planned breeding program led by Dr. Wayne Hanna at the University of Georgia Research Foundation and is a trispecific cross among P. purpureum, P. squamulatum, and P. glaucum. It is a large grass growing 4 to 8 ft. tall and 2 to 3 ft. wide with 2 in. wide, spiky leaves that turn from green to blackish purple as they mature. It will retain this color throughout the summer. VERTIGO does not produce pollen or seeds and will not reseed in the garden.


No serious insect or disease problems.


Attractive purple foliage of some cultivars provides excellent texture, color and contrast to borders, foundations and open areas. As an annual, it may be grown as a specimen, in groups or massed. It may spread invasively in warm winter areas where plants will flower and seed. Containers.