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Pennisetum villosum
  • RHS AGM

feathertop

P. villosum is a tufted perennial grass, often grown as an annual, with narrowly linear leaves and cylindrical, feathery, whitish-green panicles becoming purple with age

Synonyms
Pennisetum villosum 'White Ladies'
Pennisetum longistylum misapplied

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Size
Ultimate height
0.1–0.5 metres
Time to ultimate height
1–2 years
Ultimate spread
0.1–0.5 metres
Growing conditions
Chalk
Loam
Sand
Moisture
Well–drained
pH
Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Colour & scent
StemFlowerFoliageFruit
Spring Green
Summer Green Purple White Green
Autumn Green Purple White Green
Winter
Position
  • Full sun
Aspect

South–facing or West–facing

Exposure
Sheltered
Hardiness
H3
Botanical details
Family
Poaceae
Native to the UK
No
Foliage
Deciduous
Habit
Tufted
Genus

Pennisetum can be annual or perennial, evergreen or deciduous grasses, clump-forming or spreading in habit, with linear leaves and narrow flowering panicles with conspicuous bristles

Name status

Correct

Plant range
NE Tropical Africa

How to grow

Cultivation

Grow in a light, moderately fertile, well-drained soil with good winter drainage. May need winter protection in colder areas

Propagation

Propagate by seed sown in containers in a warm glasshouse in spring or by division in spring

Suggested planting locations and garden types
  • Prairie planting
  • City and courtyard gardens
  • Coastal
  • Cottage and informal garden
  • Cut flowers
  • Flower borders and beds
Pruning

Remove dead foliage and old flowered stems in spring

Pests

Generally pest-free

Diseases

Generally disease-free

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