Pennisetum is a genus of 80 to 140 species, native to Africa, Asia, Australia, and Latin America, with some of them widely naturalized elsewhere.
They are annual or perennial grasses. small or tall - up to 8 meters tall. The inflorescence is a very dense, narrow panicle containing fascicles of spikelets interspersed with bristles, like long, showy, plumelike hairs that inspired the genus name, the Latin penna ("feather") and seta ("bristle »).
Plant your fountain grass in the sun or possibly in semi-shade in neutral to alkaline soil, rich and draining, from February to April and from September to November.
Prepare the soil by a light digging (to decompact without necessarily turning it, with a pitchfork or a broadfork), a scratching and a raking.
Plant keeping a spacing of once the final height if you want the clumps to appear separated, and half if you want a mass effect.
Water thoroughly after planting.
- In pots, plant in a mixture of compost, loam and sand, in a container pierced at the bottom, and equipped with a cup.
Water my fountain grass
- During growth in the first year, water once or twice a week.
- For potted plants, water once a week from April to October when it is not raining. If the mixture is very dry, bathe the pot or planter for 30 minutes.
- Water thoroughly, which means the water you pour should not disappear too quickly : a small puddle should form. Also water in case of summer drought.
Fertilize my fountain grass
Fertilize before winter (while mulching for example), moderately decomposed compost or manure, and by a light scratching to incorporate. In this way, your intake will have time to decompose itself and will be available in the spring when the plant is restarted.
Propagate my fountain grass
Propagate by dividing the rootball in March.
Mulch my fountain grass
Mulch your fountain grass, it will prevent you from watering, weeding, and protect from cold winter. It can even provide a slight fertilization on the ground by decomposing.
To choose, know that dry crushed wood is the most inert, but it will hold longer.
Fresh crushed wood and leaves enrich the soil even more, but need to be renewed more often.
Grass clippings are to be used in a layer of 1 cm maximum mixed with something else. Mulch at least 5 cm thick for good efficiency.
Cut down my fountain grass
This operation is important for pennisetum: cut all the dry foliage at the beginning or at the end of winter, to leave room and light for the new leaves that will emerge in spring.