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Cenchrus setaceus

Previously known as:

  • Pennisetum setaceum
Phonetic Spelling
sen-CRUS sa-TA-she-us
Description

Fountain grass is a mounding, clumping herbaceous grass in the Poaceae family that grows 2-4' tall and is normally grown as an annual. This plant starts blooming in summer and those flowers last until frost attracting birds.

This plant prefers full sun to partial shade in a wide range of soil conditions. It grows well in arid environments being quite drought tolerant and is also resistant to browsing by deer. It propagates readily through self-seeding.

This plant is utilized as a bedding plant, in bed backgrounds, in borders, and in fresh flower arrangements. Typically, the reddish-purple cultivars are used for color accents in the landscape.   

Quick ID Hints:

  • Clumping grass with burgundy to reddish-purple leaves
  • Inflorescence a bottlebrush raceme of spiklelets
  • Spiklelet reddish-purple, plumosely awned

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems: Weedy and spreads readily by seeds. Considered invasive in some southern west coast states

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Cupreum'
  • 'Fireworks'
  • 'Purpureum'
  • 'Red Riding Hood'
  • 'Rubrum'
  • 'Rubrum Dwarf'
  • 'Vertigo'
'Cupreum', 'Fireworks', 'Purpureum', 'Red Riding Hood', 'Rubrum', 'Rubrum Dwarf', 'Vertigo'
Tags:
#deciduous#drought tolerant#weedy#high maintenance#fast growing#aggressive#deer resistant#playground plant#self-seeding#pollinator plant#fantz#weedy grass#bird friendly#stormwater demo garden orange co#Buncombe County Sun and Shade Garden
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Cupreum'
  • 'Fireworks'
  • 'Purpureum'
  • 'Red Riding Hood'
  • 'Rubrum'
  • 'Rubrum Dwarf'
  • 'Vertigo'
'Cupreum', 'Fireworks', 'Purpureum', 'Red Riding Hood', 'Rubrum', 'Rubrum Dwarf', 'Vertigo'
Tags:
#deciduous#drought tolerant#weedy#high maintenance#fast growing#aggressive#deer resistant#playground plant#self-seeding#pollinator plant#fantz#weedy grass#bird friendly#stormwater demo garden orange co#Buncombe County Sun and Shade Garden
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Cenchrus
    Species:
    setaceus
    Family:
    Poaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Annual
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Division
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Norther & Eastern Africa
    Wildlife Value:
    Attracts birds
    Play Value:
    Attractive Flowers
    Attracts Pollinators
    Textural
    Wind Shimmer
    Dimensions:
    Height: 3 ft. 0 in. - 4 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 3 ft. 0 in. - 4 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Annual
    Ornamental Grasses and Sedges
    Habit/Form:
    Clumping
    Erect
    Mounding
    Growth Rate:
    Rapid
    Maintenance:
    High
    Texture:
    Fine
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    High Organic Matter
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Shallow Rocky
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Occasionally Dry
    Available Space To Plant:
    3 feet-6 feet
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    9b, 9a, 10b, 10a, 11b, 11a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Purple/Lavender
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Pink
    Purple/Lavender
    Red/Burgundy
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Spike
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Good Cut
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Fall
    Summer
    Flower Size:
    > 6 inches
    Flower Description:
    Inflorescence if a terminal, elongated raceme of spiklets resembling a bottlebrush that is reddish-purple in color. Spiklets are 1-3 flowered, awned, and awns are plumose basally.
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Color:
    Purple/Lavender
    Red/Burgundy
    Leaf Feel:
    Rough
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Deciduous Leaf Fall Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Leaf Type:
    Sheath
    Leaf Shape:
    Linear
    Hairs Present:
    Yes
    Leaf Length:
    > 6 inches
    Leaf Description:
    Leaves are rigid, linear, sheathing, scabrous, often burgundy to reddish-purple in color, and up to 1' long.
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
  • Landscape:
    Attracts:
    Songbirds
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer
    Drought
    Problems:
    Weedy