General Plant Information (Edit)
Plant Habit: Grass/Grass-like
Sun Requirements: Full Sun
Full Sun to Partial Shade
Water Preferences: Mesic
Dry Mesic
Soil pH Preferences: Slightly acid (6.1 – 6.5)
Neutral (6.6 – 7.3)
Slightly alkaline (7.4 – 7.8)
Plant Height: about 4 feet
Plant Spread: 4 to 5 feet
Leaves: Deciduous
Flowers: Showy
Flower Color: Other: purplish-tan
Flower Time: Summer
Late summer or early fall
Inflorescence Height: about 4 feet
Foliage Mound Height: about 3 feeet
Underground structures: Rhizome
Resistances: Deer Resistant
Rabbit Resistant
Drought tolerant
Propagation: Seeds: Sow in situ
Propagation: Other methods: Stolons and runners
Pollinators: Wind
Miscellaneous: Tolerates poor soil

Common names
  • Fountain Grass
  • Chinese Fountain Grass
Botanical names
  • Accepted: Cenchrus alopecuroides
  • Synonym: Pennisetum alopecuroides var. viridescens
  • Synonym: Pennisetum alopecuroides
  • Synonym: Cenchrus compressus

Photo Gallery
Location: Central Florida, my back yard
Date: 2023-01-14

Date: October
Credit: Dominicus Johannes Bergsma

Date: 2016-08-21
Photo courtesy of Santa Rosa Gardens. Used with permission.

Image Courtesy of Bloomin Designs Nursery Used with Permission
  • Uploaded by vic

Credit florum
Location: Lancaster County, Pennsylvania
Date: 2012-01-09
clumps in winter in parking lot bed

Photo Courtesy of Garden Perennials. Used with Permission.
  • Uploaded by Joy
Location: Downingtown, Pennsylvania
Date: 2020-08-27
a few plants together that filled in when older
Location: Downingtown, Pennsylvania
Date: 2020-08-27
another view of a few plants that filled in together

Date: 2016-08-21
Photo courtesy of Santa Rosa Gardens. Used with permission.

Credit florum
Location: IL
Date: 2010-08-29
Grown from commercial seed. It did well, but I removed it to make
Location: IL
Date: 2012-10-05
This plant is tagged in:
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  • Posted by ILPARW (southeast Pennsylvania - Zone 6b) on Feb 17, 2019 4:29 PM concerning plant:
    I was surprised today to see that the generic name of "Pennisetum" was changed to "Cenchrus" for this and a few other species of Fountain-grasses. This species is native to east Asia and some of Australia. Some of this mother species are still sold at some conventional nurseries that gets about 4 to 5 feet high and about as wide, but the compact cultivar of 'Hameln' is now being sold much more often. This is a beautiful, soft clump grass species. It stays as a clump but it does sprawl on the outside by short rhizomes. It also becomes very thick and the center of the plant can die out after 10 or more years, so that this perennial should be dug up and reset when it becomes either too big and thick or when the center does weaken. It is a warm season grass so that it does not show life until mid-spring in late April to mid-May. There are reports of this species being invasive into nature or even sometimes in lawn. I have not seen it escape cultivation myself. I have seen it self-sow in gardens.
Plant Events from our members
chelle On April 13, 2015 Potted up
chelle On April 9, 2015 Obtained plant

dnrevel On November 8, 2021 Entered Dormancy
Large grassy plant, left in place. No seed heads. Do not plan to regrow. Will replace with more Savannah Ruby Grass instead.
dnrevel On February 28, 2021 Seeds sown
Winter Sown in a large container
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