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A Floridata Plant Profile #767 Pennisetum orientale
Common Names: oriental fountain grass, fountain grass
Family: Poaceae/Gramineae (grass Family)
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Grass  Can be Grown in Containers Has Unusual or Interesting Foliage Flowers Useful for fresh and/or dried arrangements

oriental fountain grass
Oriental fountain grass is compact and combines easily with other plants in beds and borders.
Description
Oriental fountain grass is an unusually low-growing and compact fountain grass whose gracefully cascading clump of dense foliage rarely gets over 1 ft (0.3 m) tall. It grows in a mound that expands outward slowly from short underground rhizomes. The inflorescence, standing a foot or two above the arching mound of leaves, consists of a plume of pearly white or silvery pink fluff. The showy flowers are carried all summer and autumn.

Location
Pennisetum orientale is native to central and SW Asia.

Culture
Oriental fountain grass will rot out in the center if the root crown is planted below the soil surface.
Light: Full sun or, in hot climates, partial shade.
Moisture: Oriental fountain grass does best in well drained soil with regular watering.
Hardiness: USDA Zones 6 - 10. This is a hardy fountain grass that will come back reliably in spring at least to zone 7, possibly to zone 6.
Propagation: Oriental fountain grass is usually propagated from seed. It also can be propagated by dividing the root mass.

oriental fountain grass
Enjoy the oriental fountain grass' display of fluffy foxtails from summer through fall!
Usage
Oriental fountain grass is a very showy ornamental grass which makes a fine specimen alone or in a mixed perennial border. In masses, it can be gorgeous! It also is effective in containers or porch planters. Many gardeners consider this their favorite ornamental grass.

Features
Oriental fountain grass is a small bunch grass with an unusually beautiful inflorescence that is unusually long lasting. The cottony pink inflorescence literally glows when lit from behind by early morning or late afternoon sun. This fountain grass is not invasive and self-seeds only sparingly in the garden. There are some 80 species of Pennisetum. Most are called fountain grass of one kind or another. P. macrostachyum 'Burgundy Giant' and P. setaceum are larger, frost-tender fountain grasses.


Steve Christman 8/15/00; updated 3/19/04




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