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Pennisetum selections


Like so many grasses, fountaingrass is spectacular when backlit by the rising or setting sun. Named for its especially graceful spray of foliage, fountaingrass also sends out beautiful, fuzzy flower plumes in late summer. The white, pink, or red plumes (depending on variety) continue into fall and bring a loose, informal look to plantings. This plant self-seeds freely, sometimes to the point of becoming invasive.

Plant Type:
Plant Height:
10 inches-5 feet tall
Plant Width:
1-4 feet wide
Bloom Time:
Blooms in summer and early fall, depending on variety
Landscape Uses:
Containers,Beds & Borders,Slopes,Groundcover
Special Features:
Flowers,Attractive Foliage,Fall Color,Winter Interest,Cut Flowers,Dried Flowers,Attracts Birds,Drought Tolerant,Deer Resistant,Easy to Grow
Top Varieties

Pennisetum alopecuroides makes neat but dense 2- to 5-foot clumps of 1/2-inch-wide leaves that turn golden in fall and persist into the winter. The bottlebrush panicles of silvery white spikelets (flowers) arise in late summer and mature to bronze, according to variety. Zones 6-9
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Pennisetum setaceum 'Prince' shows off delightful purple foliage that deepens in color as temperatures rise. It can grow 3 feet tall and 2 feet wide. It's often grown as an annual in the North. Zones 8-11
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Pennisetum setaceum 'Rubrum' makes mounds of purplish-red leaves. Erect red stems carry arching 1-foot-long pink to reddish-purple panicles of spikelets from midsummer through fall. It's usually grown as an annual, though it is perennial in Zones 8-11.
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Plant It With

Colorful daylily flowers in reds, golds, yellows, and purples contrast beautifully with fountaingrass. They thrive in the same conditions.

False sunflower

The brilliant yellow and golden daisy flowers of false sunflower are cooled down when planted near fountaingrass, and together they create a meadow look in full sun.


The wonderful assortment of dahlia flowers in all colors and shapes lose some of their stiff formality when planted with fountaingrass. Both prefer full sun.