How to Plant Fountain Grass Seed


Fountain grass is an ornamental plant that has gained popularity in recent years. It's foliage can grow to 4 feet tall accompanied by flower spikes. The red fountain grass (Pennisetum setaceum rubrum) is especially colorful, but other varieties, such as dwarf fountain grass Hameln (P. alopecuroides "Hameln") are favored for their flowers, which become pink in fall. Before you plant fountain grass, check with your Agricultural Extension to learn if it classified an invasive species---for example, fountain grass is a noxious weed in Hawaii.

Step 1

Mix 1 cup peat moss, 1 cup vermiculite or perlite, starter fertilizer and 2 to 3 quarts of well draining potting mix together and then fill one or more nursery flats. Follow label instructions to learn how much fertilizer to add. Sprinkle well with water.

Step 2

Scatter fountain grass seeds on top of the soil mixture and then gently press down on the soil surface with your palm. Shower with water again and be sure to keep the soil constantly moist.

Step 3

Place your seeded flat in an area that receives full sun and good air circulation and that maintains a temperature between 65 and 70 degrees F.

Step 4

Transplant your fountain grass seedlings to their outdoor location when they are several inches tall. Work in a good amount of compost or other organic material. Dig holes at least 2 feet apart and then plant several seedlings in each hole. Keep the area well watered until your fountain grass begins to show signs of active growth.

Step 5

Plant fountain grass seeds directly into the soil if you prefer. Spring is the best time to plant outdoors. Weed the area where you plant to grow your fountain grass and then dig in plenty of compost. Water it well and then scatter your seeds on top of the soil, pressing them down gently afterward. Keep the area well watered until the young plants are several inches tall. You want it to grow in clumps of several seedlings each. To encourage this, thin single seedlings that emerge between clumps. Clumps of seedlings should be at least 2 feet apart.

Things You'll Need

  • Sphagnum peat moss
  • Vermiculite or perlite
  • Starter fertilizer
  • Well draining potting mix
  • Nursery flat(s)


  • Gardening Knowhow
  • The Garden Helper
  • Hawaii Invasive Species

Who Can Help

  • Plantation Products
Keywords: fountain grass, ornamental grasses, invasive species

About this Author

Barbara Fahs lives on Hawaii island, where she has created Hiā€˜iaka's Healing Herb Garden. Barbara wrote "Super Simple Guide to Creating Hawaiian Gardens," and has been a professional writer since 1984. She contributes to Big Island Weekly, Ke Ola magazine, and She earned her B.A. at UCSB and her M.A. from San Jose State University.