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PENNISETUM glaucum 'Jester'

Image of Pennisetum glaucum 'Jester'

James H. Schutte

Family

Poaceae

Botanical Name

PENNISETUM glaucum 'Jester'

Plant Common Name

Jester Millet, Millet, Pearl Millet

General Description

Highly valued as both a crop plant and ornamental, pearl millet is easy to cultivate, tough, and its seeds are attractive to birds. The bronze-leaved cultivar, 'Jester', is a superb ornamental grass for hot, sunny areas in need of bold lines and color.

Millet is a broad bladed grass with an upright habit. Each plant is solitary and looks a bit like a small corn plant. The flower panicles are dense and upright and appear when summer temperatures are hot. Upright clusters of little, round millet seeds follow. This is the same millet that you buy for parakeet treats at pet stores and wild birds like it just as well.

This tough and easy to cultivate grass is widely adapted drought and extreme heat. Be sure to provide it with full sun and average soil with a neutral to alkaline pH and excellent drainage. Millet looks best when planted in groups or dotted among other colorful ornamentals for sun. Perennials with soft, rounded habits are complimented by its sharp, vertical lines. Try it next to plants with bright green or even chartreuse foliage, such as the sweet potato vine, for a sizzling combination. The seed heads are wonderful cut, fresh or dried.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    12 - 8

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    8 - 11

  • Sunset Zone

    A1, A2, A3, H1, H2, 1a, 1b, 2a, 2b, 3a, 3b, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24

  • Plant Type

    Grass

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun

  • Height

    2'-3' / 0.6m - 0.9m

  • Width

    1'-2' / 0.3m - 0.6m

  • Bloom Time

    Early Summer, Summer, Late Summer, Early Fall

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Neutral, Alkaline

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Clay, Loam, Sand

  • Growth Rate

    Very Fast

  • Water Requirements

    Drought Tolerant, Average Water

  • Habit

    Upright/Erect

  • Seasonal Interest

    Summer, Fall

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    Bronze, Chocolate

  • Fruit Color

    Tan, Sandy Brown

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green, Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green, Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Green, Gold

  • Fragrant Flowers

    No

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    Yes

  • Showy Fruit

    Yes

  • Edible Fruit

    Yes

  • Showy Foliage

    Yes

  • Foliage Texture

    Coarse

  • Foliage Sheen

    Glossy

  • Evergreen

    No

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Bedding Plant, Cutflower, Dried Flower/Everlasting, Edible, Mixed Border

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Attracts

    Birds

  • Self-Sowing

    Yes