Desert Plains Fountain Grass

Pennisetum alopecuroides 'Desert Plains'

Family: Fountain Grass

Type: Ornamental grass

Desert Plains Fountain Grass, known for its stunning, feathery plumes and graceful foliage, is a captivating addition to any garden. Its warm, tan to copper-colored plumes and green to burgundy foliage create a striking visual display.

This perennial grass is not only beautiful but also robust and easy to care for. It thrives in a variety of climates and soil types, making it a versatile choice for gardeners.

Resilient and drought-tolerant once established, Desert Plains Fountain Grass is an excellent choice for water-wise and low-maintenance landscaping. Its tolerance for dry conditions makes it a sustainable garden option.

Needs & Preferences

Hardiness Zone: 4b-5a

Deer Resistant: Yes

Pet Friendly: Yes

Moisture Preference: Dry to moist

Sun Needs: Full sun

Drought Tolerance (Xeriscape): Yes


Growth Rate: Medium

Average Height (feet): 4

Average Spread (feet): 4

Average Life Span (years): 10

Form: Arching


Flower Color: Purple

Secondary Flower Color: Violet

Bloom Season: From mid to late summer

Foliage Color: Green

Leaf Fall Color: Yellow

Foliage Shape: Grassy

Bark Texture: Yellow

Landscaping Your Yard With Desert Plains Fountain Grass

Adding Desert Plains Fountain Grass to your landscape introduces texture and movement. Its tall, flowing plumes sway gracefully in the breeze, creating a dynamic garden feature.

This grass is perfect for creating natural borders, adding height to flower beds, or as a standalone specimen in a focal area. Its warm tones complement a wide range of other plants and garden elements.

Incorporate it into rock gardens or dry riverbeds for a natural, desert-like aesthetic. Its adaptability to dry conditions makes it ideal for these settings.


Suitable Garden Styles

Xeriscape Gardens

Desert Plains Fountain Grass is perfect for xeriscape gardens, where water conservation is key. Its drought tolerance and natural beauty enhance the low-water landscape.

Modern Landscapes

In modern landscaping, this grass adds an element of softness and natural beauty. Its sleek form and textured plumes contrast nicely with contemporary design elements.

Traditional Cottage Gardens

While traditionally lush, adding Desert Plains Fountain Grass to a cottage garden introduces an element of warmth and texture. It pairs well with perennials and shrubs commonly found in these charming garden spaces.

Desert Plains Fountain Grass Landscaping Ideas

Plant it in groups for a stunning, cohesive look. The repetition of its form creates a visually appealing rhythm in your garden.

Combine it with succulents and other drought-tolerant plants for an eco-friendly garden. Its texture and color provide a beautiful contrast to these plants.

Use it to soften hard landscapes. Planted along pathways, walls, or in containers, it adds a gentle, inviting touch to these areas.

Seasonal Interest


In spring, new growth emerges, setting the stage for the vibrant display to come. The grass begins to grow, with its foliage gradually changing from green to deeper tones.


During summer, Desert Plains Fountain Grass is in full bloom. Its plumes reach their peak, displaying rich, warm hues that complement the sunny season.


In fall, the plumes of this grass may turn more golden, blending beautifully with autumn's palette. Its foliage might also deepen in color, adding to the fall landscape.


In winter, Desert Plains Fountain Grass can provide architectural interest, even as it becomes dormant. Its plumes persist, offering texture and movement in the winter garden. In milder climates, it may retain some foliage.

Planting Tips

Where to Plant

Desert Plains Fountain Grass should be planted in an area with full sun exposure. It is ideal for open spaces in gardens, borders, or as a standalone feature in a sunny spot.


This grass thrives in full sunlight, needing at least six hours of direct sun daily. The amount of sunlight directly influences its growth and the vibrancy of its plumes.


Desert Plains Fountain Grass is adaptable to a variety of soil types but prefers well-drained soil. It can tolerate both slightly acidic and alkaline soils.


Space these plants about 24 to 36 inches apart. Adequate spacing ensures proper air circulation and room for each plant to reach its full size.

When to Plant

The best time to plant Desert Plains Fountain Grass is in the spring, allowing it to establish its root system before the heat of the summer.

How to Plant

Dig a hole as deep and twice as wide as the root ball. Place the grass in the hole, fill with soil, and water thoroughly to ensure good root-to-soil contact.

Plant Care Tips


Regular watering is essential during the first growing season. Once established, the grass is drought-tolerant and requires less frequent watering.


Fertilize lightly in the spring with a general-purpose fertilizer to support initial growth. Over-fertilization is not necessary and can be detrimental.


Prune back the grass in late winter or early spring before new growth starts. This helps maintain its shape and encourages fresh, healthy growth.

By Season


Spring Care

In spring, remove any dead foliage and prune as needed. Begin watering as new growth appears and apply a light fertilizer.

Summer Care

During the summer, water the grass if there are prolonged dry spells, but generally, minimal care is needed. Monitor its growth and enjoy its full bloom.

Fall Care

Reduce watering as the grass begins to go dormant. No additional fertilizing is required during this season.

Winter Care

In winter, Desert Plains Fountain Grass requires little care. It can be left unpruned to provide winter interest, or it can be trimmed back in preparation for spring.


How Tall and Wide Does Desert Plains Fountain Grass Grow?

Desert Plains Fountain Grass typically reaches about 3 to 4 feet in height and 2 to 3 feet in width when mature.

Is Desert Plains Fountain Grass Invasive?

No, Desert Plains Fountain Grass is not considered invasive. It’s a well-behaved grass suitable for controlled garden environments.

Can It Be Grown in Containers?

Yes, it can be grown in containers, where its texture and plumes add height and visual interest. Ensure the container is large enough to accommodate its growth.

Products That Feature This Plant

A Quiet Sanctuary

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