I've developed a keener interest in ornamental grasses since we moved into our current house almost 4 years ago. My most recent acquisition is Pennisetum 'Fireworks,' a sport of P. setaceum and P. macrostachys. While it would be premature for me to make any predictions concerning its long-term performance after just 2 months in my garden, I'm pleased with it thus far. I bought it mainly for the vibrant red-pink foliage but also because it's said to stay smaller than the P. setaceum 'Rubrum' that came with the garden.
Estimates of its mature size vary from source to source ranging from as small as 1 foot (30 cm) tall and wide to 4 feet (1.2 m) tall and wide. Mine are placed along the edge of one wall and at the front of another bed so, in this case, I'm hoping they stay at the smaller end of the range.
The variegation is said to be unstable, especially when the plant is grown in full sun. All of mine get late afternoon shade so I hope they'll retain their current bright color.
The flowers are very similar to those on P. setaceum 'Rubrum,' although I've noted that a lot of 'Fireworks' plumes develop a crimp at the end. The flowers are long-lasting when used in floral arrangements.
This grass is hardy to 25F (minus 3.9C) and, according to San Marcos Growers, it has proven to be root hardy to 20F. Most sources claim it has low water needs once established. Mine, still in the process of developing their root systems, currently get watered twice a week.
Pennisetum 'Fireworks' is my favorite plant this week. Please visit Loree at danger garden, the host for this weekly review, to see her favorite and to find links to other gardeners' selections.
All material © 2012-2014 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party