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Fountain Grass - Garden Beauty

Updated on December 6, 2020
Jackie Lynnley profile image

Jackie shares her around-the-house ideas that anyone can copy and enjoy for their very own!

I share below how best to plant and grow fountain grass but by borrowing multiples of your own you can afford to experiment in so many different ways with your very own original ideas.

Paint a picture in your mind of these beauties mixed and matched and then make them become real!

Most people it seems to me just put Fountain grass out there, all alone. It is beautiful but when added to other flowers I think their real beauty is magnified.
Most people it seems to me just put Fountain grass out there, all alone. It is beautiful but when added to other flowers I think their real beauty is magnified. | Source

Pretty as a Picture - Work of Art

I have some very beautiful pictures with the pampas grass (also called Cortaderia selloana); it is simply beautiful mixed with other scenery or standing alone. The one above as you can see just accentuates all the beauty around it. See how the light colored grass shows off the dark trees and leaves around it? Taking pictures is a good way to help you decide how you want to use your pampas grass; what you want to highlight and just where it would beautify your landscape most.

You could have so many kinds and colors and mixtures with other beauties you already have and it multiplies so well you can keep your expenses down after the first purchases to get it started. I consider it one of my very best investments that will keep paying off for years to come.

Pampass Grass

Do you like fountain grass.

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"The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy is

to go outside, somewhere where they can be quiet, alone

with the heavens, nature and God.

Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be and

that God wishes to see people happy, amidst the simple

beauty of nature. I firmly believe that nature brings solace

in all troubles."

— Anne Frank

Purple Fountain Grass (Pennisetum setaceum ‘Rubrum’)

The purple is so beautiful but I would watch where I put it to not be clashing with roses?
The purple is so beautiful but I would watch where I put it to not be clashing with roses?

Perennial and Ornamental Fountain Grass

Fountain grass is very easy to grow.

As most ornamental grasses, it is very flexible, and so very easy to care for.

In the spring, fertilizer may be applied as growth continues but it is not necessary.

Established plants do not need watering, except during periods of drought. It does well in almost any type of soil; but for greater results, fountain grass should be planted in fertile, well-drained soil; in full sun or some light shade, although they prefer the full sun with temperatures ranging from 75 to 85 degrees.

The flowing leaves on this plant have a fountain-like appearance. Clump forming grasses grow in clumps, ideal for many areas not becoming continual.

Use alone or use as a border with other perennials.

During fall and throughout winter, this plant will also remain a decoration to your lawn.

Purple Fountain Grass

Of all the ornamental grasses, of which there are many, purple fountain grass (Pennisetum setaceum ‘Rubrum’) is probably one of the most popular. The purple or burgundy-colored foliage and soft, fuzzy-like blooms (which are followed by purplish seedheads) make a bold statement in the garden—on their own or grouped with other plantings. Growing purple fountain grass is easy and requires little maintenance once established.

"I love to think of nature as an unlimited broadcasting station, through which God speaks to us every hour, if we only will tune in."

— George Washington Carver

Grow purple grass from seed

  • 1

Buy enough purple fountain grass seeds to allow enough purple fountain grass seed per square inch of planting area or seedling pot. They are tiny and can be purchased in bulk very inexpensively.

  • 2

Plant several purple fountain grass seeds in prepared pots about 1-inch deep. Keep evenly moist but do not sog. Transplant into prepared ground soil or larger pots when they reach 3 to 4 inches in height; allowing at least 10-inches between plants.

Pink Cotton Candy Fountain Grass

Grown from seed and so very beautiful. These don't just make beautiful photos! They make gorgeous lawns.
Grown from seed and so very beautiful. These don't just make beautiful photos! They make gorgeous lawns. | Source

Pennisetum Setaceum - Red Fountain Grass

Gardeners grow red fountain grass (Pennisetum setaceum) to add color and movement into their landscapes. In Northern and other cool climates, red fountain grass is an annual. Gardeners in those environments need to replace their plants and do not have to worry about extensive pruning. In warm and tropical areas, red fountain grass grows abundantly, and if gardeners do not control it, the grass can spread over a significant amount of territory and create a nuisance.

Borderline Perfect - Divide and Conquer

I have never seen it used that way but I think fountain grass would make a beautiful border for privacy. Maybe outside a bedroom window would be nice. It would not block the view completely looking out but would be a beautiful sight really from any window!

It can be dug up and divided in areas where overcrowding occurs or if more plants are wanted. Dividing can be performed in early spring before new growth or after the growing season in the late summer or fall as with most other plants. I prefer the latter since spring can sneak in so quickly in the south.

Fountain grass grows well in any fertile, moist, wet or well-drained soil. It prefers full sun to very light shade. Cultivars to look for include Cassian, Hamelin, Little Bunny dwarf form, Little Honey dwarf form, and Moudry dark seed heads.

I love fountain grass, it grows really well for me and I have taken some of my best picture using my own for a focal point and find it is may be prettier than or as pretty as any; anywhere. The most common variety is Dwarf Fountain Grass Hameln with its light tan blooms turning pinkish brown in fall. This fountain grass blooms earlier than the others, good for gardens with shorter growing seasons. Purple Fountain Grass has purple foliage and blooms. Red Fountain Grass which grows about 3 to 4 feet tall, has reddish foliage and showy flowers.

Fountain grasses come in a great variety and grow from a few inches to quite tall, eight to ten feet I have seen the Pampas Grass and some people see it as a nuisance like Morning Glories, spreading so easily and I find that so hard to comprehend, such is the beauty and too with Pampas Grass being my favorite. What better way to decorate and the beauty of them just compliments anything else you grow. The ways of using them is simply endless!

Fountain grasses range anywhere from twelve inches to three feet high and wide, and mix with other large perennials. When overcrowding occurs, fountain grass can be divided in late fall or in early spring.

Hide and seek

Hide some ugly with these beauties! Great idea, huh?
Hide some ugly with these beauties! Great idea, huh? | Source

All You Need to Know

How about a low maintenance, long-lasting way to keep your yard beautiful? What about some decorative grasses that can be planted in a shaded area? These trees and plants can be planted in various seasons, won't get damaged because of pests or diseases, are resistant to deer, they come in different shapes and sizes, and above all, some are even good in drought as well. Who could ask for anything more?

Quick and Easy Trim

Things You Will Need

  • Stapler
  • Mulch
  • Pruning Shears
  • Staples
  • Stakes
  • Burlap sack


  1. Prune damaged, dead or diseased grass. Since heavy snow can damage fountain grass, it is best to remove any thick foliage to lighten the plant. Cut back to the healthy section of the plant using pruning shears.

  2. Hold back the amount of water you give it in winter to harden the plant; but give fountain grass at least one inch of water during winter.

  3. Cover with three to four inches of mulch over the fountain grass. Use leaves, compost or bark to cover your plant's root system to seal in moisture.

  4. Stakes should be the height of your plant around your ornamental grass. Attach burlap sacks to the stakes to make a shield from the wind.

  5. Take the stakes and mulch away after the last freeze to prevent root rot. This occurs when the root system gets too much moisture.

The best time to trim fountain grass back is in the late winter or early spring; just make sure that you prune fountain grass back before it starts actively growing because of course this could kill it so do make sure it is late winter; not fall when you cut it back.

Next is using a cutting tool, like pruning shears or hedge clippers, to cut back the stem bundle. Prune about 4 to 6 inches above the ground. I really prefer a small saw with a short handle, just seems so much easier and faster.

Tie up the dead stems first with rope; this way you don't have to clean up all the fallen stems. They end up in a neat bundle to do away with; just pull your dead cut away with the rope you tied it with to make clean up so much easier.

Fountain grass +

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2011 Jackie Lynnley


Submit a Comment
  • Jackie Lynnley profile imageAUTHOR

    Jackie Lynnley 

    3 years ago from the beautiful south

    I know, Peggy. We just can't have everything. I keep wishing I will get a place big enough for that, but not holding my breath!

  • Peggy W profile image

    Peggy Woods 

    3 years ago from Houston, Texas

    I see a lot of this growing in our area and admire it for its beauty. If I had more room in our yard I would like to add some fountain grass...but sadly all spaces are pretty much filled up with other plants. I will just have to keep admiring it in other places.

  • Jackie Lynnley profile imageAUTHOR

    Jackie Lynnley 

    6 years ago from the beautiful south

    It is great really. I see it so beautiful in places and I don't know what the people do to it because all that beautiful stuff will be gone! I wonder if they cut it back too far or something? Sometimes being lay pays off!

  • bluebird profile image


    6 years ago

    Nice hub, glad to find out what that grass is called! It is beautiful and from your hub sounds easy enough to get started and grow. I have none, but thanks to you, I'm gonna give it a try!

  • Jackie Lynnley profile imageAUTHOR

    Jackie Lynnley 

    6 years ago from the beautiful south

    Thank you Michael, it really is a beauty. Welcome back!

  • cleaner3 profile image


    6 years ago from Pueblo, Colorado

    great hub about something I never realized it was so different and pretty..

  • Jackie Lynnley profile imageAUTHOR

    Jackie Lynnley 

    6 years ago from the beautiful south

    I am slapping myself rebecca! I have used cheap hairspray starting years ago to spray dried grasses etc for flower arrangements and I have not once thought of fountain grass! How beautiful that would be; thank you so much!

  • rebeccamealey profile image

    Rebecca Mealey 

    6 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

    I love that stuff. I use to make indoor arrangements with them and spray them with hairspray to keep them from shedding. Thanks for the memories, Jackie!

  • Jackie Lynnley profile imageAUTHOR

    Jackie Lynnley 

    6 years ago from the beautiful south

    It really is beautiful I think; all of them. Thanks for reading!

  • poetryman6969 profile image


    6 years ago

    I love the look of ornamental grasses but I have never grown any.

  • Jackie Lynnley profile imageAUTHOR

    Jackie Lynnley 

    7 years ago from the beautiful south

    You have some too, Jo; if you would only get down to that ocean and take some! I don't have none of that and I love it. You only gave us a little taste; we want more! The fountain grass is still cut back right now but should have it a little later.

  • LadyFiddler profile image

    Joanna Chandler 

    7 years ago from On Planet Earth

    Jackie i need to come visit you LOL . You get so many beautiful pictures on your side of the world i can't help but adore them.

  • Jackie Lynnley profile imageAUTHOR

    Jackie Lynnley 

    7 years ago from the beautiful south

    Suzette; I am glad you are informed somewhat on it now, and it is so beautiful; all of it.

  • Jackie Lynnley profile imageAUTHOR

    Jackie Lynnley 

    7 years ago from the beautiful south

    Thanks Faith; I know you are like me and just want some of all of it! lol It is so beautiful though all by itself.

  • suzettenaples profile image

    Suzette Walker 

    7 years ago from Taos, NM

    Hi Jackie: I enjoyed reading this so much. I never knew the name for this grass was Fountain Grass. It is beautiful-so soft and sveldt. I love all your photos of the different types and colors of the grass. This is quite an interesting and informative hub. Thanks for sharing!

  • Faith Reaper profile image

    Faith Reaper 

    7 years ago from southern USA

    Morning Jackie,

    Wow, what a wonderful hub here. I am baffled that I have never read this hub! Well, looks like you published it back when I first joined HP, but you would have thought I would have come across it by now. LOL

    Your photos are just beautiful. I just love Fountain grass and we had the Pampas grass at our home in the city when we lived there. Now, because of your wonderful hub here, I am reminded that I do not have any at our current home and must make amends! Decisions, decisions ... I do not think it as invasive either, but just gorgeous.

    Up and more and sharing

    Have a blessed day.

  • Jackie Lynnley profile imageAUTHOR

    Jackie Lynnley 

    9 years ago from the beautiful south

    Thank you RTalloni. There is huge pampas grasses, I know I have personally seen it about ten feet high judging from my height. I have much better pictures I need to get out sometime. Maybe I will do another hub.

  • profile image


    9 years ago

    Thanks for this look at fountain grasses. That pampas is something else--I'm not sure I've seen it that large before! The red is just beautiful, thank for the introduction. :)

  • Jackie Lynnley profile imageAUTHOR

    Jackie Lynnley 

    9 years ago from the beautiful south

    Some are mine Rick, but I have some really beautiful ones I took last fall I need to put here, dozens, lol, because taken the right way against the sky or even green background really show them off. I will look soon and find a few. Thank you!

  • profile image

    Poetic Fool 

    9 years ago

    I love fountain grasses and there are a couple of varieties I would love to use in my landscaping at home. Unfortunately, they can be a problem if you own a pool and some varieties can be quite invasive and can take over, if not maintained properly. I've been told you can buy sterilized strains that won't spread. They are so beautiful though and I love to watch them in the breeze. Thanks for sharing this interesting hub. Oh, are these your pictures?

  • Jackie Lynnley profile imageAUTHOR

    Jackie Lynnley 

    9 years ago from the beautiful south

    Rebecca, I still call it all fountain grass but it is good to know the varied names but for me the pampas is the largest and most beautiful. Thank you!

  • Jackie Lynnley profile imageAUTHOR

    Jackie Lynnley 

    9 years ago from the beautiful south

    Thank you so much molometer, I have some gorgeous pictures I have taken of it since this hub I really need to get here. I really love it! Love your votes too! Thank you.

  • rebeccamealey profile image

    Rebecca Mealey 

    9 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

    I am glad to learn some names for it. I love the stuff. And your photos are great! You did a good job on this one!

  • molometer profile image


    9 years ago from United Kingdom

    I too never knew there were so many varieties of fountain grass.

    I never knew it was called fountain grass either.

    We do have the white bullrush in abundance here.

    Lovely photos too.

    4/5 votes and sharing.

  • Jackie Lynnley profile imageAUTHOR

    Jackie Lynnley 

    9 years ago from the beautiful south

    Only the Pampas grasses are mine. This is one of the first hubs I did and it got no attention so it has been so long ago I can only say the others are yours for the taking but they are not mine, only those two and I really should mark them but as I say this hub has sat here with no comments for many months and to begin with I rarely used my own photos. Thanks for stopping by!

  • cleaner3 profile image


    9 years ago from Pueblo, Colorado

    Wow, Jackie, I never knew that there was so many different types of grass's. and the different colors you have captured are very beautiful. such beuatiful pictures , I have to ask if I can use them in hub one of these days, of course I will give you credit and promote your great photography. Thanks for the pics.

    Love ya


  • Jackie Lynnley profile imageAUTHOR

    Jackie Lynnley 

    9 years ago from the beautiful south

    Hi Rolly. Luckily they grow all year round here but some cut them back now and then. Some beautiful ones I loves snapping got cropped right off, hope they will be back soon. I think the Pampas are the most beautiful.


  • Rolly A Chabot profile image

    Rolly A Chabot 

    9 years ago from Alberta Canada

    Hi Jackie... great hub and Fountain Grass is not that common in these parts of Canada but they are growable here. I have a few clumps I have started and enjoy them during their growing season.

    Hugs from Canada


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