|PENNISETUM setaceum - Fountain Grass|
Poaceae; native to Africa.
Germination: Best sown indoors at 65-70°. Sow at a depth of 4 times the size of the seed; germination occurs in 15-20 days. If sown early enough in the spring, flowers will appear by fall. Sow seeds outdoors in spring or summer, up to two months before first frost.
Growth: Transplant when there are at least two true leaves. Plant out when all danger of frost is past. Space seedlings 2-3 feet apart in full sun in any average, well-drained soil. Fertilize in the spring with a balanced fertilizer. Dead stems and leaves should be removed in late winter, before new growth in the spring. If division is necessary, do so at this time. To prevent reseeding, remove the flowers before they shatter. Very tolerant of drought, exposure, wind, pollution, and pests.
Appearance and Use: In warm climates it is perennial, the rest of us grow it as a summer annual in beds, borders, and containers. The flowers cut well for fresh and dried use. The habit is that of a 2-4 foot tall, arching fountain of leaves and flowers. the strap-shaped leaves are green, but there are cultivars that range from purple-to copper-colored. The flowers appear in creamy white, grassy plumes from summer through fall. Ornamental Millet, P. glaucum, is becoming increasingly popular for its attractive foliage and flower spikes. The seed is very attractive to birds.
NASA Seeds in Space
"Now why do you think a plant would look like this? That’s how I’d always get caught up in this stuff. Botany by imagination," Susan Orlean, The Orchid Thief