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Black Stockings Fountain Grass

Pennisetum 'Black Stockings'

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Black Stockings Fountain Grass (Pennisetum 'Black Stockings') at Ashcombe Farm & Greenhouses

Pennisetum 'Black Stockings'

Pennisetum 'Black Stockings'

(Photo courtesy of NetPS Plant Finder)

Height:  6 feet

Spread:  4 feet

Sunlight:  full sun 

Hardiness Zone:  (annual)

Description:

A showy variety of fountain grass used as a focal point in the garden or containers; an upright clump of deep purple-burgundy leaves, blushed with sea-green, bearing striking black flower plumes in late summer; may be treated as an annual

Ornamental Features

Black Stockings Fountain Grass has masses of beautiful plumes of black flowers rising above the foliage from late summer to mid fall, which are most effective when planted in groupings. Its attractive grassy leaves emerge purple in spring, turning burgundy in color with showy bluish-green variegation throughout the season. The fruit is not ornamentally significant.

Landscape Attributes

Black Stockings Fountain Grass is an herbaceous annual with a shapely form and gracefully arching foliage. Its wonderfully bold, coarse texture can be very effective in a balanced garden composition.

This is a relatively low maintenance plant, and is best cleaned up in early spring before it resumes active growth for the season. Deer don't particularly care for this plant and will usually leave it alone in favor of tastier treats. It has no significant negative characteristics.

Black Stockings Fountain Grass is recommended for the following landscape applications;

  • Accent
  • Mass Planting
  • Rock/Alpine Gardens
  • General Garden Use
  • Container Planting

Planting & Growing

Black Stockings Fountain Grass will grow to be about 5 feet tall at maturity, with a spread of 4 feet. Although it's not a true annual, this plant can be expected to behave as an annual in our climate if left outdoors over the winter, usually needing replacement the following year. As such, gardeners should take into consideration that it will perform differently than it would in its native habitat.

This plant should only be grown in full sunlight. It is very adaptable to both dry and moist growing conditions, but will not tolerate any standing water. It is considered to be drought-tolerant, and thus makes an ideal choice for a low-water garden or xeriscape application. It is not particular as to soil type or pH. It is highly tolerant of urban pollution and will even thrive in inner city environments. This particular variety is an interspecific hybrid. It can be propagated by division; however, as a cultivated variety, be aware that it may be subject to certain restrictions or prohibitions on propagation.

Black Stockings Fountain Grass is a fine choice for the garden, but it is also a good selection for planting in outdoor pots and containers. Because of its height, it is often used as a 'thriller' in the 'spiller-thriller-filler' container combination; plant it near the center of the pot, surrounded by smaller plants and those that spill over the edges. Note that when growing plants in outdoor containers and baskets, they may require more frequent waterings than they would in the yard or garden.

 
 
Hardiness Zone Plant Height Minimum Sunlight
Characteristics
Accent  Massing  Rock  Garden  Container 
Applications
Flowers  Foliage Color  Texture  Plant Form  Winter Value 
Ornamental Features