General Plant Information (Edit)
Plant Habit: Grass/Grass-like
Sun Requirements: Full Sun
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 3 feet
Plant Spread: about 4 feet
Flowers: Showy
Flower Time: Summer
Late summer or early fall
Underground structures: Rhizome
Resistances: Deer Resistant
Rabbit Resistant
Drought tolerant
Pollinators: Wind
Miscellaneous: Tolerates poor soil

Common names
  • Black Fountain Grass
  • Fountain Grass
Botanical names
  • Accepted: Cenchrus alopecuroides
  • Synonym: Pennisetum alopecuroides

Photo Gallery
  • Posted by sallyg (central Maryland - Zone 7b) on Nov 25, 2018 8:49 AM concerning plant:
    Rating this negative for self sowing and invasive traits. It has taken hold along the shoulders of a local two lane highway, well away from any initial plantings. If you let the seed heads dry, the seeds can sprout and seedlings are very hard to pull. Beware of handling the dry seedheads, as the seeds are very sharp, and become stuck in your socks and gloves, giving painful pokes or hours of picking them out of the fabric.

    I have clumps of it, for about 20 years. It does grow next to a maple tree making a nice flowing grass clump. I manage them by cutting off all seedheads before they dry and shed.
  • Posted by ILPARW (southeast Pennsylvania - Zone 6b) on Feb 18, 2019 8:47 PM concerning plant:
    I have never found this cultivar to be beautiful and I don't know why it is grown at all. It self-sows like crazy and is aggressive in the garden by seed. It is not supposed to come true from seed. Fortunately, it is not nearly as popular as a few other cultivars and I don't see it very much. The grass blades are wider than the mother species and the form is not really mounding. The flower clusters are very thick and wide and turn blackish.
  • Posted by Bonehead (Planet Earth - Zone 8b) on Dec 26, 2012 7:39 PM concerning plant:
    Be cautious with this grass. It can self-sow aggressively in some areas. I've just planted it this year, so don't know how it will behave in my area.

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