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Products > Pennisetum spathiolatum
Pennisetum spathiolatum - Slender Veldt Grass

[2nd Image]
Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Grass
Family: Poaceae (Gramineae) (Grasses)
Origin: South Africa (Africa)
Evergreen: Yes
Flower Color: Tan
Bloomtime: Spring/Summer
Synonyms: [P. sphacelatum, Cenchrus sphacelatus]
Height: 1-2 feet
Width: 1-2 feet
Exposure: Full Sun
Summer Dry: Yes
Irrigation (H2O Info): Low Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 0-10 F
Pennisetum spathiolatum (Slender Veldt Grass) - A evergreen to semi-evergreen plant that produces clumps of fine-textured dark-green narrow foliage that mounds to 18 inches tall. In late spring to late summer arise in abundance the vertical tall wirey flower stalks to 3 to 4 feet tall that terminate in tight elongated spikes of tan-colored flowers that seem to dance unattached high above the foliage. Plant in full to part sun in a fairly well-drained soil. Requires little irrigation but responds well to occaisonal watering. Hardy and mostly evergreen in mild climates and root hardy to USDA Zone 7 (0-10 F). Cut back in late winter to early spring prior to the first flush of growt. Great in a meadow planting with other plants - John Greenlee suggests combining it with Festuca mairei in The American Meadow Graden. Also nice grouped in a dry stream bed or silhouetted against a plain wall. This plant has not been known to reseed. Pennisetum spathiolatum is reported by some to be a native to South Africa but the name does not appear in any of the floras of this region, any other flora, nor in The International Plant Name Index so it seems that the name "Pennisetum spathiolatum" actually may not be a valid botanical name. The closest plant matching it in both name and description is Pennisetum sphacelatum (Nees) T. Duran & Schinz but until we can get confirmation on this name we will leave it as Pennisetum spathiolatum - whatever the name, it sure is nice! The genus name comes from the Latin words 'penna' meaning "feather" and 'seta' meaning a "bristle" or "hair" and alludes to the plumose bristles of some species.  Information on this page is based on research conducted in our nursery library, from online sources, as well as from observations made of this plant as it grows in our nursery, in the nursery's garden and in other gardens where we have observed it. We also will incorporate comments received from others and welcome getting feedback of any kind from those who have additional information, particularly if this information is contrary to what we have written or includes additional cultural tips would aid others in growing Pennisetum spathiolatum.