University of Vermont Extension
Department of Plant and Soil Science

Perennial of the Month - December 1998

Pennisetum alopecuroides 'Hameln'

(pen-ni-see' tum al-o-peck-your-oy' dees)

Common name: Fountain Grass

Family: Poaceae, Grass

Height x width: 1-2' high x 2' wide

Growth rate: moderate

Foliage: 1-2' long and ¼" wide, culms (flower stalks) to 2' long, bright green in summer turning golden brown in fall

Flowers: 5-7" flower spikes resembling soft bottle brushes, silvery white fading tan

Hardiness: zones 5-9

Soil: well-drained, moist

Light: sun, tolerates light shade, doesn't flower in dense shade

Pests and Problems: none

Landscape habit, uses: masses, groups or specimen; borders, containers; tolerates wind and salt spray; cut in summer; one of more dwarf cultivars of genus and perhaps most popular, otherwise similar to 'Cassian'

Other interest: flowers shatter in fall so no winter effect as with many other grasses; native to China; name is from the Latin penna meaning feather and seta meaning bristle, refering to the feathery bristles or awns; named after famous German city of Pied Piper fame

Other culture: low maintenance

Propagation: spring division, seed for species only

Sources: many; as always, check with your local garden center or perennial nursery


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