Pennisetum 'First Knight'
Common Name: fountain grass 
Type: Ornamental grass
Family: Poaceae
Zone: 7 to 11
Height: 4.00 to 5.00 feet
Spread: 2.00 to 3.00 feet
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Annual
Leaf: Colorful
Tolerate: Deer, Black Walnut, Air Pollution


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

FIRST KNIGHT can be grown as an annual where it is not winter hardy.

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 10', sold under the trade name of FIRST KNIGHT, is a selection made by Dr. Wayne Hanna at the University of Georgia for its extremely dark, blackish-purple foliage. It is the result of a planned breeding program of a cross between Pennisetum glaucum, P. purpureum and P. squamulatum. It grows with upright sword-like foliage to 4 to 5 feet tall and 2 to 3 feet wide. It thrives in heat and is perennial in Zone 7 and higher. Where not winter hardy it can be grown as an annual. U.S. Plant Patent PP25,515 awarded May 5, 2015.


No serious insect or disease problems.


Specimen, group or mass. Attractive foliage of this ornamental grass provide excellent texture, color and contrast to borders, foundations and open areas.