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Common Name:

Annual Fountain Grass or Crimson Fountaingrass

Scientific Name:

Pennisetum setaceum

Family Name:

Graminae (Poaceae)

Description:

Annual Fountain Grass is a fantastic summer annual for the northern three-fours of Texas and can be used as a herbaceous perennial in USDA zone 9b. The species type is seldom seen, with most cultivars in the trade derived from the red-leaved forms. The plants form an upright rounded fountain of usually bronze or red-green leaves topped from mid-summer to late fall by narrow bottle-brush or foxtail-like flower spikes ranging from off-white to red-bronze. Plants add much movement to the landscape in the slightest breeze.

Plant Habit or Use:

Warm season annual, perennial, grasses, tropical

Exposure:

sun, partial sun

Flower Color:

Off-white to bronze-red

Blooming Period:

Summer, fall

Fruit Characteristics:

Fadded version of the flower, attractive into late fall or early winter

Height:

3 ft to 4 ft

Width:

18 inch to 30 inch

Earth–Kind® Index:

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

Firewise Index

5.00
Explanation of the Firewise Index numerical value

USDA Hardiness Zones:

9, 10, 11

Regions that intersect these hardiness zones:
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:

Very versatile species sometimes escaping cultivation; often marketed as a perennial in much of Texas, but only reliably so in southern portions of USDA zone 9; if it does return in zones 9a and 8b it tends to lack vigor.
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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.