Rose Fountain Grass (Cenchrus setaceus)

Common names:
Give a thumbs up Rose Fountain Grass
Give a thumbs up Tender Fountain Grass
Give a thumbs up Fountain Grass

Botanical names:
Cenchrus setaceus Accepted
Pennisetum setaceum Synonym

General Plant Information (Edit)
Plant Habit: Grass/Grass-like
Life cycle: Perennial
Sun Requirements: Full Sun to Partial Shade
Water Preferences: Mesic
Soil pH Preferences: Slightly acid (6.1 – 6.5)
Neutral (6.6 – 7.3)
Slightly alkaline (7.4 – 7.8)
Minimum cold hardiness: Zone 9a -6.7 °C (20 °F) to -3.9 °C (25 °F)
Maximum recommended zone: Zone 11
Plant Height: 2 to 4 feet
Plant Spread: 2 to 4 feet
Leaves: Deciduous
Fruit: Other: Pinkish red to purplish, 6 to 10 inch long;
Flowers: Showy
Flower Color: Other: Reddish-purple
Flower Time: Summer
Late summer or early fall
Fall
Uses: Cut Flower
Will Naturalize
Suitable as Annual
Wildlife Attractant: Birds
Resistances: Deer Resistant
Humidity tolerant
Propagation: Other methods: Division
Containers: Suitable in 3 gallon or larger
Needs excellent drainage in pots

close-up of grass flower spikes

Photo gallery:
Location: Bolingbrook, IllinoisDate: summer in the 1990'sclose-up of grass flower spikes
By ILPARW
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Location: Hinsdale, IllinoisDate: summer of the 1990'sa clump with other big annuals
By ILPARW
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Location: Bolingbrook, IllinoisDate: summer of the 1990'sa few plants in a foundation planting
By ILPARW
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Comments:
Posted by ILPARW (southeast Pennsylvania - Zone 6b) on Sep 2, 2020 10:23 AM

It is easy to find garden centers in the US selling the Red Tender Fountaingrass or some other cultivars with reddish or copperish foliage color, but it is not easy to find the original species with green foliage. In the 1990's I found some seed source of this green-foliaged form, started the seedlings in a small greenhouse and grew them up into mature plants. Before the frost would strike in fall, I would dig up all the Tender Fountaingrasses and store them in the small greenhouse at the hospital where I worked around the grounds in northeast Illinois. I would usually divide them, repot them, grow them on awhile in the greenhouse before placing them outside again in May. This green form is perfectly beautiful and should be used as an annual plant in the northern US along with the red or other colored forms. This species comes from eastern Africa where it is a perennial in that or any tropical climate. It can escape cultivation in the warmer parts of the Southwest USA and become invasive down over there.

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Discussion Threads about this plant
Thread Title Last Reply Replies
Identify plant by Nicxr Sep 27, 2018 9:33 AM 1

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