Alphabetical Plant Listing

Pennisetum alopecuroides (Fountain Grass)

Fountain Grass, Foxtail Grass, Chinese Fountain Grass


Native to Asia and Australia, Pennisetum alopecuroides (Fountain Grass) is among the most beautiful and graceful ornamental grasses with its cascading foliage that rustles in the wind. Requiring very little care and providing almost nonstop drama in the garden.

  • This cold-hardy grass typically grows in 2-3 foot tall (60-90 cm) rounded mounds of dark green foliage turning golden yellow or beige in fall. However, there are dwarf varieties available that reach only 12 in. (30 cm) and tall ones which can reach 5 ft. in height (150 cm).
  • The flowering season begins as early as early summer or as late as early fall when the foliage is topped with soft and fluffy, reddish purple to coppery tan bottlebrush-like flowers, resembling large foxtails, on arching stems. They make excellent cut flowers for fresh and dried arrangements.
  • Welcomed in any garden style, it is versatile and can be used as a specimen plant, in groups or en masse. It is ideal in beds and borders where it provides texture, color and contrast, great in naturalistic meadows and absolutely lovely beside ponds or streams where its graceful form is reflected in the water. Great for containers too!
  • Performs best in full sun. Tolerates part shade, but best flower production occurs in full sun. Although it prefers fairly dry soils and is drought tolerant once established, it also grows in moist, but well-drained soils.
  • No serious pest or disease issues. Deer resistant!
  • Cut back old foliage to the ground in late winter.
  • Propagate by seed sown in containers in a warm glasshouse in spring or by division in spring.
  • Most popular cultivars are:
    'Burgundy Bunny', a miniature cultivar rising up to 16 in. tall (40 cm)
    'Hameln', a superb, compact cultivar rising up to 30 in. tall (75 cm)
    'Little Bunny', a dwarf cultivar growing only 20 in. high (50 cm) 
    'Red Head' with big, smoky burgundy inflorescences. 4 ft. tall (120 cm)

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Requirements

Hardiness 6 – 9
Heat Zones 6 – 9
Climate Zones 2B, 3, 3A, 3B, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24
Plant Type Ornamental Grasses
Plant Family Pennisetum - Fountain Grasses
Exposure Full Sun, Partial Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Early,Mid,Late)
Summer (Early,Mid,Late)
Fall
Winter
Height 2' – 3' (60cm – 90cm)
Spread 2' – 3' (60cm – 90cm)
Spacing 36" – 48" (90cm – 120cm)
Water Needs Average
Maintenance Low
Soil Type Chalk, Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Moist but Well-Drained, Well-Drained
Characteristics Dried Arrangements, Cut Flowers, Showy, Evergreen
Native Plants Australia
Tolerance Deer, Drought
Attracts Birds
Garden Uses Beds and Borders, Patio and Containers, Ponds and Streams
Garden Styles City and Courtyard, Coastal Garden, Informal and Cottage, Modern Garden, Prairie and Meadow

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While every effort has been made to describe these plants accurately, please keep in mind that height, bloom time, and color may differ in various climates. The description of these plants has been written based on numerous outside resources.


Requirements

Hardiness 6 – 9
Heat Zones 6 – 9
Climate Zones 2B, 3, 3A, 3B, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24
Plant Type Ornamental Grasses
Plant Family Pennisetum - Fountain Grasses
Exposure Full Sun, Partial Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Early,Mid,Late)
Summer (Early,Mid,Late)
Fall
Winter
Height 2' – 3' (60cm – 90cm)
Spread 2' – 3' (60cm – 90cm)
Spacing 36" – 48" (90cm – 120cm)
Water Needs Average
Maintenance Low
Soil Type Chalk, Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Moist but Well-Drained, Well-Drained
Characteristics Dried Arrangements, Cut Flowers, Showy, Evergreen
Native Plants Australia
Tolerance Deer, Drought
Attracts Birds
Garden Uses Beds and Borders, Patio and Containers, Ponds and Streams
Garden Styles City and Courtyard, Coastal Garden, Informal and Cottage, Modern Garden, Prairie and Meadow

Great Plant Combination Ideas with Pennisetum - Fountain Grasses

Guides with Pennisetum - Fountain Grasses

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