How to Grow White Fountain Grass

The fountain grass plants (Pennisetum alopecuroides) originate from Eastern Asia and Australia, where they can be found in meadows, near streams, and open woodlands. Fountain grass plants feature dense, green foliage which initially stands upright; however, as the plant develops, it starts to arch gracefully and resembles the appearance of a fountain.

How to Grow White Fountain Grass

According to the cultivar of fountain grass, the plants can reach an elevation of 12-48 inches (30 cm. to less than 1 millimeter). Every fountain grass variety differs in size and length from its leaflets. However, all are tapering long and well-serrated. The swaying foliage adds movement and drama during the growing season and even later.

Dazzling white to pink, purple, and copper flower spikes appear in the summer. In autumn, the foliage changes to an orange-bronze hue before fading into a more dull brown in the winter months. As long as the flower stalks remain cut, they can still be a source of interest in winter. What’s going on? Do you think there is some kind of grave fountain grass issue? Don’t worry, and it’s performing well. The process of bleaching is an integral aspect of the plant’s cycle.

White Fountain Grass      

White fountain grass, also known as Pennisetum setaceum’ Alba’, is beautiful with delicate green leaves and flowering white nodding inflorescences. It shouldn’t have silvery or white leaves, contrary to what is written. The name refers to the hue of the flower. The white fountain grass leaves appear towards the season’s close when cold temperatures begin to hit. The changing colors paint the beginning of the plant’s dormancy. The blades usually start to turn yellow before fading until the tips turn white and hard. The fountain grass becoming white is the plant’s response to cool temperatures as it prepares to sleep until the warm season temperatures begin to return. All other kinds of fountain grass can experience the same bleaching and fall back to winter.

White Fountain grasses are perennial plants that grow into dense clumps with airy foliage. They are a plant that thrives in warm weather and therefore is dormant during winter. Problems with fountain grass are rare, and the plants are well-adapted once established. They are tough, low-maintenance, and durable plants utilized by skilled gardeners.

Does White Fountain Grass Come Back?

Fountain grasses are perennial in warmer climates. However, to keep them alive in cooler regions, you can take care of them indoors. Learning how to winterize the fountain grass inside containers will let you take pleasure in the fun grass for many years to come.

Do White Grass Fertile / Reseed?  

Although certain ornamental grasses can quickly reproduce and grow in the garden, others might require assistance. As with other vegetation in the garden collecting ornamental grass seeds is a process that requires patience. However, this will ensure the highest quality seed when it’s a moment to start planting.

How Does White Fountain Grass Spread?    

The plants tend to clump and spread through underground rhizomes. Therefore, if you want to divide the fountain grass plants you have grown up to produce new ones, you should wait until the end of winter or at the beginning of spring. This gives the newly planted plants the chance to grow before the summer heat is too intense.


  • Flowers of a variety of grasses can be inspiring. Flowers differ in size, color, and even texture. Seed heads and flowers are available for months or weeks, and various varieties offer excitement throughout winter.
  • Foliage adds interest to the landscape with a wide range of course to fine-textured leaf blades, gently arching or upright shapes, as well as deep blue, green red or purple yellow or variegated leaf hues. Most grasses have a nice autumnal color and will change to gold shades of orange-red, yellow, or purple before turning straw or tan colors in winter.
  • Grasses can also add interest to your garden in ways very few other plants can. They can move freely in the breeze, adding a sense of movement and rustling sound to the park. In addition, their rapid growth and shifting style throughout the season create the appeal of the seasons.

Fountain Grass Varieties 

  • Fountain Grass (Pennisetum – alopecuroides)

Beautiful, pink to cream bottles of flower heads emerge between mid and late summer, atop delicate, arching mounded leaves about 3-4 feet high. It’s a lover of the sun and humidity. First, however, it needs well-drained soil.

 Fountain grass seeds are reseeding and can become invasive in natural habitats.

‘Hameln’ is among the most durable (and widespread) fountain grass varieties that are hardy to zone five but usually grown in zone four landscapes. The Hameln is a compact type of 18-24 inches (46-61 cm.) tall, with stunningly green leaves and silvery-white flowers. It blooms before other fountain grasses and is more likely to re-sow itself.

“Little Bunny” is a tiny species only about 1 foot in height that often blooms from midsummer until autumn. As the name implies, the small inflorescences appear similar to bunny tails.

  • Chinese Fountain Grass; (Pennisetum Orientale) 

The delicate white or pink flower spikes are visible in late spring and autumn, rising above blue, green leaves less than 1 1/2 feet tall. The plant spreads slowly through Rhizomes, but it rarely reseeds.

“Karley rose” can be grown quickly in medium to average moisture soils that are well-drained and well-drained in full sun. It will grow between 2 and three feet high. The pink flower spikes begin to appear during the summer. USDA Zones: 5-8

“Tall Tails” is 4 to 5 feet in sunlight with medium to average moisture and well-drained soil. It is showy flower spikes that are pinkish-white from June through September.

Annual Fountain Grass: (Pennisetum – setaceum):

As an annual plant in South Carolina, it will reach up to 4 feet tall before the summer’s end. The stunning pink flowers will continue to flower throughout summer.

Fountain grass thrives in full sun and moist, well-drained fertile soil. It is popular in mixed containers. They are cold-hardy in USDA Zones 9-10.

“Burgundy Giant” is a hybrid with extensive deep red foliage and pink flower spikes. It’s a vigorous cultivar and can grow up to 6 feet tall.

“Little Honey” is a variation of the famous ‘Little bunny’ but more minor. It features green leaves, highlighted in white, with an inflorescent plume of tan, 6- 12 inches (15-30 cm.). Because of its small size and smaller size, it should be placed in a visible spot such as the garden of rocks.

National Arboretum is like ‘Moudry, which has dark, almost black flowers bloom in late summer. However, it is better at flowering than the ‘Moudry. It can also self-sow and adapt to zone 6 up to zone 5.

The Black Fountain Grass (‘Moudry’)

Moudry isn’t entirely black but is more than a deep maroon. The dark flowers appear later in the spring (3-5 weeks earlier) instead of other fountain grass cultivars; however, it is a vigorous cultivar with large leaves and an abundance of tall inflorescences. It is prolific in warmer climates. It is a good grower within zones 6.

  • Big Bluestem (Andropogon gerardii): 

The Big Bluestem, a native grass, grows between 3 and 8 feet in a small clump. Its leaves are blue-green during summer and change into a rusty color in autumn. It requires full sun and moist soil but is exceptionally drought-tolerant once established.

“Red October” has small deep green leaves adorned with streaks of red. In autumn, the color changes from red to burgundy. After an initial frost leaf transforms into a candy apple red, it grows to an elevation of 5-6 feet in bloom. USDA Zones: 3 to 9

  • Muhly Grass or Hair-grass (Muhlenbergia capillaries): 

The showy native grass is adorned with small, delicate flowers that create the appearance of a white or pinkish-purple cloud that appears in October before disappearing to tan throughout the winter. The clumps of fine, green to grey-green leaves grow up to 2 or three feet high. It’s best to plant it in full sunlight, and after it has been established, it becomes very drought-resistant. USDA Zones: 6 to 9

“White Cloud” is a cultivar related to the local Muhlenbergia. The airy seed heads are white to ivory, and they bloom within a short time in the wake of the local Pink Muhly.

Why is White Fountain Grass bleaching out?

Fountain grasses flourish throughout United States Department of Agriculture zones 5-9. In hot environments, they can be burnt by the harsh sunlight and fade in color at the edges of the leaf blades. In warmer climates, it is an annual that will start dying during cold temperatures.

If you want to keep your plant in the northern climates, plant it in a pot and bring it inside for the winter months. The plants grown in hot climates will benefit from protection from the sun’s rays during the day. The best foliage is in the shade of a light breeze. If the fountain grass is dying out under any other circumstances, this is most likely the season and can be taken pleasure in.

However, if you are concerned about the color, it’s acceptable to cut the grass back to about a foot above the ground in late autumn and then wait for new blades to emerge as spring approaches.

How to Grow White Fountain Grass?

You’re bound to find a Pennisetum appropriate for you with a few issues with pests and deer resistance, deer resistance, and deer resistance, not to mention the variety of fountain grass cultivars.

 Cultivars All varieties and types of fountain grasses are warm-season grasses. According to the type of fountain grass, they can be planted as annuals or for a long time as perennials, especially in warm climates. Sow seeds or plant seeds for fountain grass varieties suitable to your area in full sunshine. Fountain grass plants aren’t sensitive to the soil, but dry, well-drained soil is recommended.

 Once established in the garden, these plants are drought-resistant, though the edges of the leaves could dry out and turn brown. Fountain grass species are slightly hardy in zones 5’s northern regions; therefore, expect the crown to fall back in winter.

Fountain Grass Problems 

Fountain grass is relatively resistant to disease and pests. Certain plants can suffer from foliar issues caused by molds that cause rust, and slugs and snails can take bites from the leaves, but overall it’s a challenging and robust plant with no problems.

The seed heads produce a lot of seeds and can be problematic in some environments where they can quickly propagate and grow. Removing the inflorescences before they start planting seeds can help reduce the risk.

Rust can be found in some cool-season grasses; however, most plants recover after cutting back. Anthracnose can be an issue. The disease is often found in plants growing in poor conditions, including inadequate light, inadequate circulation of air, or excessive fertilization.

Some grasses, including frequent seeding or prolific seeding grasses, may be a nuisance if they are placed in the wrong place. For example, to keep grasses that run overgrown, you must confine the root system to the bottom of a bottomless container. Likewise, the non-native grasses prolific in seeding must be handled carefully, particularly near the natural wetland or natural areas.

Plant Profile

Name:                                    White Fountain Grass         

Botanical Name                      Cenchrus setaceus                             

Plant Family                            Poaceae (grass)

Also known as                         Pennisetum setaceum, African fountain grass

Originally                                Africa
Height & Width:                   Arching to 3 to 4 ft. tall and wide.
Light:                                      Full Sun
Salt:                                        moderate salt tolerance
Deer:                                     do not usually eat
Zone:                                     8-11

Bloom Time                            Mid to Late Summer

Deciduous/ Evergreen           Herbaceous

Flower Attribute                     Showy Plumes

Flower & Foliage Color          White & Green

Growth Habit and rate           Clumping & Fast

Landscape Use                       Cutting Garden

Soil Needs                               All-Purpose Plant Food

Special Feature                       Easy Care, Fall Color

Water requirement                regularly water required in summer season – weekly, or more

Notes: This grass is green but produces small white plumes all summer long. Useful for accent or clustered together around trees or palms. In the winter, it dies, but it is back in winter-trim back in spring-recovers nicely.

Similar Posts