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Common Name:

Perennial Fountain Grass

Scientific Name:

Pennisetum alopecuroides

Family Name:

Graminae (Poaceae)


Perennial Fountain Grass is valued for its moderately fine textured foliage and foxtail like flowers. Several dwarf versions have become popular in recent years. Not as colorful nor striking in appearance as the red-leaved forms of Pennisetum setaceum, but more reliably cold hardy from USDA zones 5 to 8.

Plant Habit or Use:

Perennial, grasses


sun, partial sun

Flower Color:

Off-white, foxtail like plume

Blooming Period:

Summer, fall

Fruit Characteristics:

Persistant, effective late summer till early winter


1 ft to 3 ft


1 ft to 2 ft

Earth–Kind® Index:

  • Heat Tolerance: High Heat Tolerance
  • Water Requirements: Low Water Use
  • Soil Requirements: Low Soil Requirements
  • Pest Tolerance: Medium Pest Resistance
  • Fertility Requirements: Low Fertility Requirements
Explanation of the Earth–Kind® Index breakdown

Firewise Index

Explanation of the Firewise Index numerical value

USDA Hardiness Zones:

5, 6, 7, 8, 9

Regions that intersect these hardiness zones:
Region A - Panhandle and High Plains Region B - North and Central Texas Region C - Northeast and East Texas Region D - West Texas Region E - Upper Rio Grande Region F - Hill Country and Central Coast Region G - Southeast Texas Region H - Rio Grande Valley
Click image for enlarged map of USDA Hardiness Zones

Additional Comments:

Not as generally drought or heat tolerant as P. setaceum.
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A Special Note about Cool Season Annuals

Cool season annuals typically are planted in the fall or early winter and flower in early spring under moderate temperatures. This group of plant materials includes: pansies, snapdragons, violas, dianthus, flowering cabbage/kale, etc. Because cool season annuals flower in the spring when conditions are mild, most have limited heat tolerance.

As a result cool season annuals do not receive a high Earth–Kind® index despite their outstanding landscape qualities.