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Desert Plains Fountain Grass

Category:

Fine textured bright green foliage changes to a golden tan in fall; blooms are large smokey-purple bottlebrush plumes that persist until winter; beautiful as an accent or massed in borders or rock garden

Characteristics

Species:
alopecuroides
Average Landscape Height:
3 feet (4 feet with the flowers)
Average Landscape Width:
4 feet
Genus:
Pennisetum
Cultivar:
Desert Plains
Branching:
herbaceous
Plant Form:
arching
Canopy:
low
Growth Rate:
medium
Pruning:
spring cleanup
Flower Color:
purple
Flower Bicolor:
violet
Flower Period:
from mid to late summer
Summer Foliage Color:
green
Fall Color:
gold
Maximum Light:
full sun
Minimum Light:
full sun
Maximum Moisture:
moist
Minimum Moisture:
dry
Pollution Tolerance:
medium

Ornamental Features

Desert Plains Fountain Grass has masses of beautiful plumes of purple flowers with violet overtones rising above the foliage from mid to late summer, which are most effective when planted in groupings. The tan seed heads are carried on showy plumes displayed in abundance in mid fall. Its grassy leaves are green in color. As an added bonus, the foliage turns a gorgeous gold in the fall.

Landscape Attributes

Desert Plains Fountain Grass is an herbaceous perennial grass with a shapely form and gracefully arching stems. It brings an extremely fine and delicate texture to the garden composition and should be used to full effect.

Planting & Growing

Desert Plains Fountain Grass will grow to be about 3 feet tall at maturity extending to 4 feet tall with the flowers, with a spread of 4 feet. It grows at a medium rate, and under ideal conditions can be expected to live for approximately 10 years. As an herbaceous perennial, this plant will usually die back to the crown each winter, and will regrow from the base each spring. Be careful not to disturb the crown in late winter when it may not be readily seen!

This plant should only be grown in full sunlight. It is very adaptable to both dry and moist growing conditions, but will not tolerate any standing water. It is considered to be drought-tolerant, and thus makes an ideal choice for a low-water garden or xeriscape application. It is not particular as to soil type or pH, and is able to handle environmental salt. It is somewhat tolerant of urban pollution. This is a selected variety of a species not originally from North America. It can be propagated by division; however, as a cultivated variety, be aware that it may be subject to certain restrictions or prohibitions on propagation.

Desert Plains Fountain Grass is a fine choice for the garden, but it is also a good selection for planting in outdoor pots and containers. Because of its height, it is often used as a 'thriller' in the 'spiller-thriller-filler' container combination; plant it near the center of the pot, surrounded by smaller plants and those that spill over the edges. It is even sizeable enough that it can be grown alone in a suitable container. Note that when growing plants in outdoor containers and baskets, they may require more frequent waterings than they would in the yard or garden.

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