Pennisetum setaceum or Fountain Grass a native of Northern Africa is a perennial grass that is quite showy whether planted in the ground or in pots. It usually reaches 3-4 feet in height with a 2 foot spread. It is grown as an annual outside in Oklahoma and is hardy in USDA zones 8-10.
Blooming Time: In mid summer to early fall the purplish pink plumes adorn the plant. Individual plumes will reach up to 14 inches in length.
Culture: Pennisetum setaceum need full sun and warm temperatures with a well-drained soil. We use a soil mix consisting of 2 parts loam to 1 part sand. The plants are very drought resistant and should be grown on the dry side. We water our once a week during the growing season. Fertilize once a month during the growing season. The plant can become quite weedy in the greenhouse setting; so old plumes should be removed to keep seed from spreading. In the winter months the plants are cut back to a height of 12 inches and stored dry at 40° F. Water should be applied lightly about once a month during this period to keep the rhizomes alive.
Propagation: Pennisetum setaceum are propagated by division in spring or by seed. Seed germinate in 14-21 days at 70° F.
Pennisetum setaceum was featured as Plant of the Week October 5-11, 2001.
Guide to Past Plants-of-the-Week:
Cal's Plant of the Week was provided as a service by the University of Oklahoma Department of Microbiology & Plant Biology and specifically the late Cal Lemke, who used to be OU's botany greenhouse grower and an avid gardener at home as well. If the above links don't work, then try the overview site. You may also like to look at the thumbnail index. ©1998-2012 All rights reserved.