Growing Guide
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Fountain Grass (annual)

Annual Flower, Ornamental Grass

Pennisetum setaceum
Poaceae Family
Synonym: Pennisetum ruppelii

One of the few annual ornamental grasses, Fountain Grass provides a showy and attractive mound foliage with arching, plumed flowerheads. The flowerheads are lighter than the foliage, providing a unique contrast. Reddish-colored varieties are particularly striking and far superior to the species.

Site Characteristics
  • full sun
  • part shade

Soil conditions:

  • requires well-drained soil
Plant Traits

Lifecycle: annual

Ease-of-care: easy

Height: 2 to 4 feet

'Burgundy Giant' grows 6 tall.

Spread: 2 to 2.5 feet

Bloom time:

  • late spring
  • mid-summer
  • late summer
  • early fall

Flower color:

  • violet
  • pink

Foliage color:

  • medium green
  • red

Some varieties have maroonish-red foliage.

Foliage texture:

  • medium
  • fine


  • cushion, mound or clump
  • grass-like

Shape in flower: flower stalks with upright spikes

Flowers borne on erect, arching stems that rise above the foliage.

Special Considerations
Special characteristics:
  • deer resistant
  • aggressive - Self-seeds prolifically.
  • non-invasive
  • not native to North America - Native to Africa
Growing Information
How to plant:

Propagate by seed - Sows seeds in spring. Self-seeds readily.

Maintenance and care:
Remove the foliage after it loses its appearance after a hard frost.

More growing information: How to Grow Annuals

'Cupreum', 'Rubrum' and 'Atrosanguineum': all have deep reddish purple foliage.

'Burgundy Giant': huge plant (6 tall) with burgundy leaves up to 1 wide.

'Purpureum' ('Atropurpureum'): crimson flowers and dark purple leaves.