Pennisetum and its bottle-brush-shape inflorescences

Pennisetum means a fountain of leaves and bottle-brush-shape inflorescences

Pretty, delicate, sways subtly in the wind. Pennisetum is called fountain grass for a reason.

In spring we have to wait quite a long time to see it over the surface because it starts to grow only when the risk of frost is over. In summer it turns into a dense clump of narrow leaves, and from August we can enjoy the presence of bottle-brush-shape inflorescences in different colors. Depending on the variety, they are brownish, sandy, pink, purple, or silver. Pennisetum grows up from 25  to 80-100 cm in height. It looks beautiful in Japanese, naturalistic and modern gardens. The most beautiful results are achieved when Pennisetum grows in sunny and warm places.

Check our overview of the varieties:

  • Pennisetum alopecuroides – takes the shape of spreading clumps, 60-90 cm wide (and similar in height). It has narrow green leaves that turn golden yellow in autumn and also look attractive in winter. Silvery or delicately pink inflorescences gush from the center of the clump like water from a fountain.
  • Black Beauty – a variety with green leaves and dark purple inflorescences that become even more expressive in autumn when the leaves start to turn yellow. This variety is great for mass planting. It will add style, color, and movement to city flower beds. It grows up to about 100 cm high and 120 cm wide.
  • JS Dance with Me has fuller and whiter flower plumes than other Pennisetum and has a dense, low, mounding growth habit and becomes about 45 cm high and 30 cm wide.
  • Hameln – a very popular variety with green leaves and cream, darkening inflorescences 60-80 cm high. It also looks great in winter, because it turns into a straw-golden color. 
  • Herbstzauber – a simple and elegant variety with green leaves and brownish inflorescences with a purple tinge. Perfect for mass plantings. It grows up to about 80-100 cm.
  • Little Bunny – an ideal variety for containers, as it grows up to about 45 cm in height and diameter. It has light green leaves and greenish, with time beige, fluffy inflorescences.
  • Lumen Gold PBR – has marvelous golden foliage in spring that turns lime green in summer. It looks great in tall containers, in contrasting colors in an industrial style. It grows up to about 30 cm in diameter and only 25 cm in height. It will look beautiful when planted in groups as a ground cover.
  • Red Head – young plants maintain an upright habit, older plants hang picturesquely. It grows vigorously but is not invasive. It has bright green leaves and intriguing inflorescences. Initially green with a pink tinge, they darken over time to a deep carmine color, and at the end of flowering are almost black with a silvery glow. It grows up to 100-120 cm in height and similar width.
  • Viridescens – has light green leaves, with time turn straw yellow with a tinge of red. The large inflorescences are deep purple in color, almost black with red “hairs” which add lightness and fluffiness. They look woven from the fog. The variety grows up to 80-100 cm in height and about 50 cm in diameter.
  • Flamingo – has delicate, airy green leaves and pink, subtle and fluffy inflorescences that brighten with time to a pink silver color. The variety grows up to 100 cm in height and 70 cm in width.

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