Fountain Grass

Pennisetum spp.

Kikuyu Grass

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Pennisetum is no longer recognised as a genus. Plants once included are now considered part of the genus Cenchrus.

Planning

Difficulty

Easy

Flowering time

Summer

Harvesting

Since the inflorescence are suitable for dried and fresh arrangements, harvest cut linear leaf at the base. When harvest as a food or a crop, leaves can be cut at the base either by hand or using machinery.

Propagation

Division

Divide in late spring or early autumn. Larger divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions. Pot up the smaller divisions and grow them on in light shade in a cold frame.

Seed

Sow seed in early spring in warm soil and finely cover the seed. Germination usually takes place within 3 weeks.

Rhizomes

Rhizomes are the major means of spread in most species. Cultivation or grubbing are used and the detached rhizome sections can form new plants.

Special features

Attracts useful insects

Insects such as butterflies and flies.

Pot plant

They add beauty to decorative containers, given sufficient drainage holes.

Drought resistant

Generally drought tolerant.

Attractive flowers

Special features

Origin

Africa, Asia, Australia, and Latin America.

Natural climate

Tropical, sub-tropical, warm temperate

Environment

Light

Full Sun

Soil moisture

Dry

Soil type

Loam, Sand, Chalk

Soil PH preference

Neutral, Acid, Alkaline

Frost hardiness

Tender

Uses

Medicinal

In African traditional medicine the seed is used to treat chest disorders, leprosy, blennorrhoea and poisonings.

Edible

The genus includes pearl millet (P. glaucum), is grown as a grain crop and is an important food crop.

Personality

Family

Poaceae

Flower colour

Pink, Cream, Red

Scent

None

Problems

Generally pest and disease free.