What is Fountain Grass?
Fountain Grass (Pennisetum spp.) is a evergreen perennial ornamental grass. They are part of the Poaceae or grasses family and come from many different regions over the world such as Africa, Asia and Australia. There are over 150 varieties which come in a range of sizes, colour flowers and foliage. A native grass that is common in Australia is the Pennisetum alopecuroides also known as Swamp Foxtail Grass. It forms a clumping habit with mid green, strappy leaves that are densely packed together. Tall yellow to green feathery flower spikes appear above the foliage from Summer through to Autumn. It is a non-invasive grass. The plant has an elegant, arching appearance. Another common variety in Australia is an African species called Pennisetum advena Rubrum known as Purple Fountain Grass. It has burgundy coloured foliage and purple to pink coloured flowers. Once again flowering from Summer through to Autumn. Fountain Grass prefer to be planted in a full sun to part shade position in the garden that has well drained soil. It is drought tolerant and will withstand light frosts.
Benefits of Growing Fountain Grass
Fountain Grass is a low maintenance and easy to manage plant. They look great planted en masse and part of a mixed border to create contrast and texture. They can be used as a garden feature or for erosion control.
How to Grow Fountain Grass
Cool, temperate, arid, semi arid.
Taller Varieties Height: 1.5m, Width: 1.2-1.5m
Smaller Varieties Height: 60cm, Width: 60cm
When To Plant Fountain Grass
The best time to plant is Spring, however can be planted any time.
They like a well drained fertile soil.
How To Plant Fountain Grass
Plant in full sun to part shade, with the plant crown at soil level. Space will vary depending on plant variety. Make sure that acquitted space is given for the plants to expand.
Fountain Grass Plant Care
Water regularly during the warmer months initially, but once the plants have been in the ground for a full year, they will generally only need assistance during times of extreme dryness.
Mulch annually to retain moisture.
Use a slow releasing fertiliser in Spring when new growth appears.
Reduce to a 1/3 size in late Winter to early Spring to remove old foliage and spent flowers. Also reduces the likely hood of unwanted guests making a home in the plant such as mice.
Remove spent flower heads before they set seed.