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A picture of a Kikuyu Grass

Kikuyu Grass

Pennisetum clandestinum

Starr 020911-0028 Pennisetum clandestinum by Forest & Kim Starr (CC BY 3.0)

Full Sun
Easy care
Moderate watering
Half-hardy

10a

USDA zone

-1°C

Minimum temperature

Expected size

Height
Spread

50cm

Max

6m

10cm

Min

1m

Flowering

  • spring
  • summer
  • autumn
  • winter

This plant has a mild fragrance

More images of Kikuyu Grass

Starr 020911-0029 Pennisetum clandestinum
Starr 061205-1921 Pennisetum clandestinum
A photo of Kikuyu Grass
A photo of Kikuyu Grass

Kikuyu Grass Overview

Pennisetum clandestinum is commonly known by the name kikuyu grass. It is a popular grass to grow as a lawn in South Africa, Nieu Seeland, Australia and America because it is inexpensive and fast-spreading. Its aggressive growth has led to it being classified invasive in many areas. It originates from East Africa and is named after the tribe living there. It provides food for cattle and other livestock as well as supporting many wild birds.

Common problems with Kikuyu Grass

Grasshoppers, mole crickets and lawn caterpillars can be a threat.

How to harvest Kikuyu Grass

Cut weekly to keep neat. Pastures need to be rotated to allow recovery after grazing.

How to propagate Kikuyu Grass

Seed

Sow seed in Spring and keep moist.

Division

Divide thick patches and replant with runners with roots.

Cuttings

Make cuttings from the thick rhizomes with a few nodes attached and replant. Keep moist.

Rhizomes

Divide the thick rhizomes and replant.

Special features of Kikuyu Grass

Attracts birds

The flowering culms are very short and "hidden" amongst the leaves, but a good food source to some birds.

Attracts useful insects

Wet sites

Other uses of Kikuyu Grass

Grazing

Horses, cows and sheep eat kikuyu as green food. Make sure to rotate to allow recovery!