How to Plant Fountain Grass


Perennial and annual types of fountain grass are available, including green and red, large clumping and dwarf varieties. Some are hardy to U.S. Department of Agriculture planting zone 4, and others grow only in zones 9 through 11. Foundation grass normally forms a clump of foliage where flowers of cream, pink, purple or bronze flow from long stems. Depending on the variety, it can be propagated by division or seed. In many areas it is considered too invasive to be practical in the garden. Its flowers can be used in vases and flower arrangements.

Step 1

Choose an area in your landscape that has full sun and drains well. Fountain grass works well in borders, as an accent in beds or alone as an accent plant. Plan to plant your fountain grass in the spring.

Step 2

Dig a hole three times the diameter and 3 inches deeper than the container you purchased the fountain grass in. A garden spade works well to dig the hole. Remove any grass and debris from the dug-out soil.

Step 3

Amend the soil with 1 part compost to 2 parts original soil, and fill 4 inches of the planting hole.

Step 4

Remove the fountain grass from its container. Gently knock off the growing medium around its roots.

Step 5

Place the fountain grass in the planting hole.

Step 6

Fill the remaining hole halfway with the amended soil. Use water to settle the soil around the fountain grass' roots, and then continue to fill the hole until the soil is level with the surrounding ground.

Step 7

Saturate the soil with water immediately after planting.

Step 8

Water to keep the soil evenly moist for the first two weeks, giving the fountain grass' roots a chance to adjust. Fountain grass needs to be watered only once a week throughout the growing season but twice a week during very hot and dry periods.

Step 9

Apply a general-purpose fertilizer once in the spring and again when the fountain grass starts to flower. Follow the fertilizer manufacturer's instructions on the amount to use per application.

Step 10

Spread 2 inches of pine needle or dried leaf mulch around the spread of the plant. This will keep weeds from growing and help the soil to retain moisture.

Things You'll Need

  • Garden spade
  • Compost
  • General-purpose fertilizer
  • Pine needle or dried leaf mulch


  • University of Florida IFAS Extension: Pennisetum Setaceum "Rubrum" Purple Fountain Grass
  • Iowa State University: Fountain Grass Pennisetum Alopecuroides
  • University of Illinois Extension: Types of Ornamental Grasses--Perennial Fountain Grass
Keywords: planting fountain grass, growing ornamental grasses, red ornamental grass

About this Author

Dale DeVries is a retired realtor with 30 years of experience in almost every facet of the business. DeVries started writing in 1990 when she wrote advertising and training manuals for her real estate agents. Since retiring, she has spent the last two years writing well over a thousand articles online for Associated Content, Bright Hub and Demand Studios.