Fountain Grass

Pennisetum alopecuroides

Family: Fountain Grass

Type: Ornamental grass

Other Common Name: Chinese Pennisetum, Foxtail Fountain Grass

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Fountain Grass is a popular ornamental grass known for its graceful, flowing foliage and attractive flower plumes. Its ease of care and adaptability make it a favorite in many gardens.

This perennial grass is valued for its versatility in landscape design. It can be used as a standalone feature or in mass plantings for a dramatic effect.

Fountain Grass thrives in full sun and is drought-tolerant once established, making it an excellent choice for low-maintenance gardens. It adds movement and texture to any landscape.

Needs & Preferences

Hardiness Zone: 4b-6a

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): 5

Average Spread (feet): 2

Average Life Span (years): 10

Form: Arching


Flower Color: Red

Secondary Flower Color: Brown

Bloom Season: In late summer

Foliage Color: Green

Leaf Fall Color: Orange

Foliage Shape: Grassy

Bark Texture: Orange

Landscaping Your Yard With Fountain Grass

Incorporating Fountain Grass into your landscape brings a sense of elegance and movement. Its arching leaves and feathery plumes sway gently in the breeze.

It’s perfect for creating a soft, natural border along walkways or garden beds. Fountain Grass also works well as a backdrop for flowering plants, adding contrast with its tall, slender form.

Planting this grass in clusters or as a solitary feature can create a focal point in your garden. Its versatility makes it suitable for various landscape styles.


Suitable Garden Styles

Contemporary Garden

In a contemporary garden, Fountain Grass adds texture and movement. Its sleek form complements modern garden designs, providing a natural contrast to hard landscaping elements.

Cottage Garden

Fountain Grass fits beautifully in cottage gardens. Its informal growth pattern and feathery plumes blend well with the abundance of flowering plants typical in this style.

Mediterranean Garden

This grass is ideal for Mediterranean gardens, thriving in sunny conditions. Its drought tolerance aligns with the water-efficient ethos of Mediterranean-style landscaping.

Fountain Grass Landscaping Ideas

Use Fountain Grass as a natural privacy screen. Its height and density can create a soft, green barrier in your garden.

Pair it with other drought-tolerant plants for a water-wise garden. Its texture complements succulents and other low-water plants.

In container gardens, Fountain Grass adds height and drama. It’s ideal for balcony gardens or as an accent on patios and decks.

Seasonal Interest


In spring, Fountain Grass begins to grow, with fresh green leaves emerging. This is the time when new growth starts, setting the stage for the lush appearance to come.


During summer, Fountain Grass reaches its full glory. Flower plumes appear, adding a soft, feathery texture to the garden. The grass is most vigorous and visually striking in this season.


In fall, the foliage of Fountain Grass may turn golden-brown, providing a beautiful autumnal hue. Its plumes may persist, adding interest and movement to the fall garden.


In winter, Fountain Grass can provide structural interest, even as it goes dormant. In milder climates, it may retain some of its foliage, while in colder regions, it might die back to the ground.

Planting Tips

Where to Plant

Fountain Grass should be planted in areas that receive full sunlight. It thrives in open spaces like garden beds, borders, and open lawns where it can receive unobstructed light.


This grass prefers full sun but can tolerate partial shade. However, for the best growth and plume production, aim to provide it with at least 6 hours of direct sunlight daily.


Fountain Grass is not picky about soil but prefers well-drained types. It can tolerate a range of soil conditions, from clay to sandy soils, as long as there is good drainage.


When planting, give each Fountain Grass plant about 24-36 inches of space. This spacing allows for adequate air circulation and room for the grass to spread to its full size.

When to Plant

The ideal time to plant Fountain Grass is in the spring, once the threat of frost has passed. This timing gives the plant a full growing season to establish itself.

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 it thoroughly to settle the roots and eliminate air pockets.

Plant Care Tips


Water regularly during the first growing season to establish a deep, extensive root system. Once established, Fountain Grass is drought-tolerant and requires less frequent watering.


Fertilize sparingly, as over-fertilization can lead to weak growth. A light application of a balanced fertilizer in spring is typically sufficient.


Cut back the grass in late winter or early spring before new growth starts to remove old foliage and encourage fresh growth.

By Season


Spring Care

Remove any dead foliage and apply a light fertilizer to encourage new growth. Ensure adequate watering as the plant breaks dormancy.

Summer Care

During the summer, water the grass if there are prolonged dry spells. Otherwise, Fountain Grass requires minimal care in this season.

Fall Care

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

Winter Care

In winter, Fountain Grass can be left unpruned to provide winter interest, or it can be cut back to tidy the garden and prepare for spring growth.


How Fast Does Fountain Grass Grow?

Fountain Grass grows quickly and can reach its full size in one growing season, making it a great choice for adding rapid greenery to a space.

Is Fountain Grass Invasive?

Some varieties of Fountain Grass can be invasive. It’s important to choose non-invasive cultivars or manage self-seeding through regular maintenance.

Can Fountain Grass Be Grown in Containers?

Yes, Fountain Grass can be grown in containers, where it adds height and texture. Choose a large enough container to accommodate its root system and ensure good drainage.

Products That Feature This Plant

Summer Breeze

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