Monday, November 22, 2010

Plant of the week: Pennisetum 'Fairy Tails'

It's funny how we can love a plant and then somehow forget about it.  I learned about Pennisetum 'Fairy Tails'  maybe 7 or 8 years ago,  and time went on and I just forgot about it.  But then this spring I pulled a sad 4" plant out of a dumpster of a local nursery. I gave it a bit of a haircut and plunked it in the ground for observation.  Within a month it had grown almost to full size and was blooming. Of course the timing was good but this plant really performed. And with that kind of growth you might think "jeeze this plant is going to take over the free world", but you would be wrong. It just sort of grew to a point and stopped. It wasn't even affected by that 100 degree heat we had.  

Because it's such a tough plant I decided to plant it in my hellstrip.  Growing about 2' wide and 3' tall,  I think it will make a lovely meadow in the end.  What I love about P. "Fairy Tails" is the charming wands of flowers it has, which like so many grasses are alive with even the slightest breeze. The flower spikes are erect so it is set apart from the common fountain grass. A good dark green foliage will fool you into thinking it takes more water than it actually does.  And then the last great thing is that it's clumping and I believe sterile so it's well behaved while pretending to be a bit wild.

I cannot wait until the parkway is a bending with thousands of creamy wands.  As the weather cools I have already come to accept that I will probably have to wait until spring for such a display.   But it is gardening after all that has taught me patience.


  1. Dumpster diving, are we? Why hadn't I thought of checking out what goes on in a nursery's dumpster? What a beautiful grass, and congratulations on completing the hell strip installation.

  2. Pennisetum synchronistic blogging.

    Yeah, dumpster diving at nurseries is reserved for insiders I'm afraid.