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Pennisetum villosum

Pennisetum villosum
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Price:  £4.00
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Family:  Poaceae
Main Season:  Summer
Flower Colour:  White
Leaf Colour:  Blue/grey/silver
Position:  Sun
Soil Type:  Dry, well drained
Height:  30cm to 45cm (12" to 18")
RHS Award of Garden Merit:  RHS Award of Garden Merit
Pot Size:  9cm

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Low clumps of greyish foliage and masses of over-the-top creamy caterpillar-like flowers from midsummer till the frosts.  Well drained soil in sun.  45cm.

This is one of the most attractive low growing ornamental grasses for gardens in the UK.  A warm season grower it needs a warm, sunny spot with well drained soil to do well and then it will do really well.  It does not like cold, wet positions and if you garden on clay you will need to grow it in a large pot and take it into a cool greenhouse or conservatory for the winter.

There have been several named forms in recent years but they all appear to just be selling names for the ordinary species.  It is possible to grow Pennisetum villosum as an annual from seed each year but it will flower very late if you do this and you might not get ripe seed before winter.

In warmer climates (southern Europe, southern USA etc) it could potentially self seed.

From mountains of north east Africa.  Introduced 1891.

Synonyms: Pennisetum villosum 'White Ladies', sometimes confused with the hardier Pennisetum orientale.