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Plant Culture: How to grow Pennisetum alopecuroides spp.

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Scientific name: Pennisetum alopecuroides. spp.
Common Name: Foxtail Grass

Pennisetum alopecuroides spp. are a tall growing grass which has delicate soft flowers that emerge on long stems during the summer months. They are a reliable drought tolerant plant once established and are low maintenance. They require the annual prune towards the end of their flowering season which is usually during Autumn. It is recommended that they are pruned to a third of their original height or that old flowers are cut off to help prevent the spread of their seeds. Their seeds are spread by birds and other animals which can cause some varieties to become invasive. However there are new hybrid varieties that are being developed to be less invasive in the home garden. Pictured above is a species of Pennisetum that I spotted growing in the perennial garden-bed at Alowyn Gardens which is in northern Victoria. It is the perfect example of how these plants can be used to add texture and contrast to a garden. Pennisetum are easily overlooked when being considered as a feature plant in most garden designs. This is only because grasses are not usually what first comes to mind when looking for a feature plant. If you are designing a perennial boarder, Australian garden or dry landscape garden why not consider giving these a try?

Until next time happy gardening!
By Bonnie-Marie Hibbs

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