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PENNISETUM purpureum 'Prince'

Image of Pennisetum purpureum 'Prince' PP18509

Environmental Horticulture Dept. University of Florida

Family

Poaceae

Botanical Name

PENNISETUM purpureum 'Prince' PP18509

Plant Common Name

Elephant Grass

Special Notice

This entry has yet to be reviewed and approved by L2G editors.

General Description

Out of Africa comes this striking ornamental grass for hot climates with rampant growth and dark, almost black blades. Its parent species is a native of humid equatorial Africa where it is a vital forage for elephants. This origin indicates its fast growth, extreme sensitivity to frost and a propensity to self sow. This highly vigorous plant creates large clumps of wide bladed foliage which develops its best color in extremely hot weather while so many others are fading in the sun. Prince is an outstanding variety ideally suited to the warm South and West.

What makes this grass so unique is that it will not flower unless winter temperatures remain above freezing. Therefore in most regions it should be considered strictly a foliage plant. Where there is no frost by early winter, however, they will produce fluffy flower spikes that are prodigious self sowers. This can result in invasiveness in frost free zones. Group this grass with tropical plants for welcome textural effects or grow in pots to create bold color in the hot zone.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    12 - 1

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    7 - 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

    4'-6' / 1.2m - 1.8m

  • Width

    4'-6' / 1.2m - 1.8m

  • Bloom Time

    Summer, Late Summer

  • Native To

    Middle Africa

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral, Alkaline

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Clay, Loam, Sand

  • Tolerances

    Drought

  • Growth Rate

    Very Fast

  • Water Requirements

    Xeric/Desert, Drought Tolerant, Average Water

  • Habit

    Clump-Forming

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    White

  • Fruit Color

    Brown

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Purple

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Purple

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Purple

  • Foliage Color (Winter)

    Purple

  • Fragrant Flowers

    No

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Fruit

    No

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    Yes

  • Foliage Texture

    Fine

  • Foliage Sheen

    Glossy

  • Evergreen

    Yes

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Bedding Plant, Feature Plant, Foundation, Mixed Border

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    Yes

  • Self-Sowing

    Yes