Why Not Fountain Grass?

California Native Plant Society, September 2012. By Roger Klemm: Fountain Grass (Pennisetum setaceum) is a bunchgrass from Africa that is widely planted as an ornamental plant in portions of the United States with warm winters. It is a tough, vigorous plant that will tolerate adverse conditions of heat and drought. It does not appear to suffer from any pests or diseases, and many people appreciate its graceful seed heads produced in profusion over the spring and summer months.

The downside is that in California, Fountain Grass has no natural enemies and readily out-competes other plants. It is invasive, and if you plant it in your yard, you will soon have seedlings of Fountain Grass popping up wherever there is bare soil. It will even grow vigorously in the gaps between sections of concrete and bedrock of natural slopes. Its seeds are carried long distances in the wind, so if your neighbor has it in their yard, it will eventually end up in yours, and the nearby natural areas. If you are in a fire hazard area, it is especially dangerous, as it dries out early in the summer and becomes extremely flammable. Read More

Fountain vs. Deer Grass

Two beautiful, shapely blondes, but only one is a true friend to LA

 
September 30, 2017. By Cassy Aoyagi:  Her beautiful, sparkling gold feathers flow like cornsilk in the wind. The movements of her curvy shape can mesmerize. The power of Fountain Grass is obvious.  No doubt, she’s one of the more popular grasses in LA. We aren’t fans.

Pretty can get you pretty far, and she is that. Her advocates make Fountain Grass sound friendly too. They’ll go so far as to call her drought tolerant! Well, that’s technically true. (But it’s the Regina George kind of tolerant.) If we take the time to look beyond her surface beauty, Fountain Grass is nothing but the ultimate mean girl. Lest you think I’m just jealous of her looks, check out what Roger Klemm has to say about her.

I’d like to nominate another homecoming queen, the equally pretty and far more generous Deer grass.
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Fountain, like her look-alike friends Pampas and Mexican feather grass, spreads seeds of trouble near and far.  In contrast, Deer grass has some truly endearing qualities. She:

  • Waves delightful gold wands that sparkle in the sunlight
  • Rocks a curvy base of deep, true green
  • Holds her own while respecting others space
  • Plays well with others, even letting friends take center stage
  • Keeps her seeds to herself

We know, Fountain Grass is pretty and popular. But at some point, don’t we all have to ask ourselves what kind of friends we want to invite to our homes?