Fountain Grass (Pennisetum Setaceum ‘Sky Rocket’)

Plant: Table of Contents

Fountain Grass (Pennisetum setaceum ‘Sky Rocket’)


Fountain grass, scientifically known as Pennisetum setaceum ‘Sky Rocket’, is an ornamental grass prized for its graceful growth habit and striking appearance. Its unique characteristics make it a popular choice for landscaping, adding texture, color, and movement to outdoor spaces. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the various aspects of cultivating and caring for this captivating plant, including its cultural requirements, maintenance, uses, and more.

Key Takeaways – Fountain Grass (Pennisetum setaceum ‘Sky Rocket’)

1. Culture

Cultivating fountain grass requires attention to its specific cultural needs, including water, sunlight, soil, and fertilization.

2. Uses

Fountain grass is valued for its ornamental appeal and can be utilized in various landscaping applications, such as borders, containers, and wildlife gardens.

3. Water

Understanding the water requirements of fountain grass is essential for maintaining its health and vitality, particularly in different climatic conditions.

4. Sunlight

The sunlight preferences of Pennisetum setaceum ‘Sky Rocket’ play a crucial role in its growth and overall appearance, making it vital to provide the appropriate light conditions.

5. Fertilizer

Applying the right type and amount of fertilizer is integral to promoting healthy growth and vibrant foliage in fountain grass.

6. Soil

The soil composition and quality significantly impact the well-being of fountain grass, influencing factors such as nutrient uptake and moisture retention.

7. Pruning

Pruning fountain grass is essential for maintaining its form and preventing the accumulation of dead foliage, contributing to its overall aesthetic appeal.

8. Propagation

Understanding the methods of propagating fountain grass is valuable for expanding its presence in the landscape or sharing it with others.

9. Container Popularity

The versatility of fountain grass makes it a favored choice for container gardening, offering the opportunity to enjoy its beauty in smaller outdoor spaces.

10. Common Diseases

Recognizing potential diseases that may affect fountain grass enables proactive measures to be taken for its protection and preservation.

11. Disease Diagnosis

Identifying symptoms and signs of diseases in fountain grass aids in implementing timely and effective treatments, safeguarding its health.

12. Common Pests

Awareness of common pests that can target fountain grass allows for the implementation of pest management strategies to mitigate their impact.

13. Botanist’s Tips

Insightful tips from botanists can provide valuable guidance for successfully cultivating and caring for Pennisetum setaceum ‘Sky Rocket’.

14. Fun Facts

Exploring interesting and unique facts about fountain grass adds an element of fascination to its cultivation and appreciation.

15. Links to External Resources

Accessing reputable external resources offers additional insights and information on fountain grass, enhancing the depth of knowledge about this exceptional plant.

Now, let’s delve into the various aspects of Pennisetum setaceum ‘Sky Rocket’ and gain a deeper understanding of its characteristics, cultural requirements, and landscaping potential.

What is Fountain Grass (Pennisetum setaceum ‘Sky Rocket’)?

Fountain grass, specifically the cultivar Pennisetum setaceum ‘Sky Rocket’, is a herbaceous perennial grass known for its striking and elegant appearance. It belongs to the botanical family Poaceae and is native to regions in Africa, the Middle East, and Southwest Asia. This ornamental grass is highly valued for its graceful, arching foliage, which exhibits variegated colors, these characteristics make it an excellent choice for enhancing the aesthetic appeal of diverse outdoor settings, from home landscapes to public gardens. The distinct growth habit and visual allure of this grass have contributed to its widespread popularity for landscaping applications, serving as a versatile and captivating addition to outdoor environments.

Culture of Fountain Grass (Pennisetum setaceum ‘Sky Rocket’)

Cultivating Pennisetum setaceum ‘Sky Rocket’ successfully requires a comprehensive understanding of its cultural requirements, encompassing factors such as water, sunlight, soil, and fertilizer. By addressing these essential elements, plant enthusiasts can create optimal growing conditions for fountain grass, enabling it to thrive and display its splendor to the fullest extent.


  • Watering Frequency: Fountain grass generally prefers regular watering, particularly during its initial establishment and periods of prolonged drought. However, it exhibits a moderate tolerance to dry conditions once established, making it suitable for landscapes with varying moisture levels.
  • Moisture Levels: It is advisable to maintain slightly moist soil for fountain grass, avoiding excessive dryness or waterlogging, both of which can negatively impact its growth and health.
  • Drought Tolerance: Pennisetum setaceum ‘Sky Rocket’ exhibits a degree of drought tolerance once its root system is well-established. This attribute contributes to its suitability for landscapes with diverse water availability.


  • Sun Exposure: Fountain grass thrives in full sun to partial shade, showcasing optimal growth and vibrant coloration when provided with ample sunlight. Selecting a site with the appropriate sun exposure is essential for maximizing its ornamental appeal.
  • Shade Tolerance: While fountain grass prefers full sun, it also demonstrates a degree of adaptability to partial shade, enabling its cultivation in locations with varying light conditions.


  • Nutrient Requirements: Providing a balanced fertilizer with a focus on nitrogen can support the healthy growth and vigor of fountain grass. It is recommended to apply fertilizer in the early spring to promote robust foliage and overall plant wellness.
  • Application Frequency: Fertilization can be conducted once per year for established fountain grass, preferably during the early stages of the growing season. Care should be taken to avoid over-fertilizing, which may lead to excessive vegetative growth at the expense of flowering and ornamental qualities.


  • Preferred Soil Type: Pennisetum setaceum ‘Sky Rocket’ thrives in well-drained soil with a fertile composition, enabling adequate root aeration and nutrient uptake. Loamy and sandy soils with good drainage properties are conducive to its successful cultivation.
  • pH Range: Fountain grass prefers a slightly acidic to neutral soil pH range, with values falling between 6.0 and 7.0. Maintaining suitable soil acidity facilitates the efficient utilization of essential nutrients by the plant.


  • Pruning Requirements: Periodic pruning is beneficial for fountain grass to remove dead foliage and rejuvenate its appearance. Pruning can be conducted in the early spring to clear out dormant growth and encourage fresh, new shoots.
  • Pruning Technique: To maintain the graceful form of Pennisetum setaceum ‘Sky Rocket’, it is advisable to trim back the foliage to a few inches above ground level, promoting the development of new growth and preserving its aesthetic appeal.


  • Propagation Methods: Fountain grass can be propagated through division or seeds, offering opportunities to expand its presence in the landscape or propagate it for gardening purposes. Division is typically carried out in the spring, while seeds can be sown in a controlled environment to facilitate germination.
  • Division Process: When dividing fountain grass, it is essential to ensure that each division possesses viable roots and shoots, promoting successful establishment and subsequent growth.

Container Popularity

Fountain grass is well-suited for cultivation in containers, adding a touch of elegance and visual interest to outdoor spaces. Its adaptability to container gardening allows for versatile placement and design possibilities, making it an appealing choice for individuals with limited garden space or those seeking to enhance patio, balcony, or terrace environments.

Uses of Fountain Grass (Pennisetum setaceum ‘Sky Rocket’)

The ornamental allure and versatile characteristics of Pennisetum setaceum ‘Sky Rocket’ render it suitable for diverse landscaping applications, contributing to the visual and functional enrichment of outdoor settings. Understanding its potential uses enables gardeners and landscapers to integrate this captivating grass into their projects with creativity and purpose.


  • Borders and Edging: Fountain grass serves as an exquisite border plant, delineating garden beds and walkways with its graceful form and variegated foliage. Its visual appeal and moderate height make it a compelling choice for framing landscape features.
  • Mass Plantings: Creating mass plantings of fountain grass allows for the establishment of visually striking swaths of color and texture, imparting a sense of dynamism and cohesion to outdoor environments.
  • Mixed Plantings: Incorporating fountain grass into mixed plantings adds diverse textures and forms to garden compositions, enhancing their visual interest and overall aesthetics.


  • Patio and Deck Décor: Displaying fountain grass in containers on patios and decks brings an element of natural beauty and movement to outdoor leisure spaces, complementing various design styles and layouts.
  • Balcony Gardens: Cultivating fountain grass in containers on balconies enlivens the surroundings and introduces a touch of greenery and ornamental charm to urban settings, creating a welcoming and serene ambiance.

Wildlife Gardens

  • Habitat Enhancement: Fountain grass contributes to the habitat diversity of wildlife gardens, attracting beneficial insects and avian species with its seeds and sheltering properties. Its aesthetic appeal and ecological benefits enrich the ecological value of wildlife-friendly landscapes.

Public Gardens and Parks

  • Ornamental Features: This distinctive grass can be employed as an ornamental feature in public gardens and parks, contributing to the visual interest and sensory experience of visitors. Its graceful movement and variegated foliage make it a compelling addition to public green spaces.

Common Diseases of Fountain Grass (Pennisetum setaceum ‘Sky Rocket’)

Fountain grass is susceptible to certain diseases that can affect its health and vigor, necessitating vigilance and proactive measures to prevent or manage potential ailments. By familiarizing ourselves with these common diseases, we can safeguard the well-being of Pennisetum setaceum ‘Sky Rocket’, ensuring its sustained beauty and vitality in the landscape.

Disease Diagnosis

  • Leaf Spot: Leaf spot, caused by various fungal pathogens, manifests as circular lesions on the foliage of fountain grass, potentially leading to leaf discoloration and defoliation. Fostering good air circulation and minimizing leaf wetness can help mitigate the incidence of this disease.
  • Rust: Rust, characterized by orange to rust-colored pustules on the leaves, can affect the visual appeal and vitality of fountain grass. Prompt removal and disposal of affected foliage can minimize the spread of this fungal disease in the landscape.
  • Fungal Blights: Fungal blights may affect fountain grass, causing browning, wilting, and dieback of foliage. Implementing proper irrigation practices and maintaining optimal soil drainage can aid in reducing the likelihood of fungal blights.

Disease-Resistant Varieties

  • Cultivating disease-resistant varieties of fountain grass can provide added protection against common diseases, enhancing its resilience and longevity in the landscape. Selecting cultivars with inherent resistance to prevalent diseases contributes to the sustainable and low-maintenance cultivation of Pennisetum setaceum ‘Sky Rocket’.

Common Pests Affecting Fountain Grass (Pennisetum setaceum ‘Sky Rocket’)

Fountain grass can be impacted by various pests that may compromise its health and visual appeal, necessitating proactive pest management measures to mitigate their impact and safeguard its well-being. By identifying and understanding these common pests, we can implement effective strategies to protect the integrity of Pennisetum setaceum ‘Sky Rocket’ in our landscapes.

Pest Control Methods

  • Aphids: Aphids can infest fountain grass, leading to the distortion of new growth and the development of sticky honeydew on the foliage. Insecticidal soaps or horticultural oils can be used to control aphid populations and limit their damage to the plant.
  • Grasshoppers: Grasshoppers may feed on the foliage of fountain grass, causing visible damage and defoliation. Physical removal and the use of barrier methods can aid in preventing grasshoppers from accessing and feeding on the plant.

Beneficial Insects

  • **Attracting beneficial insects, such as ladybugs and lacewings, to the garden can help naturally control pest populations, providing a sustainable and ecologically friendly approach to pest management for fountain grass.

Botanist’s Tips for Cultivating Fountain Grass (Pennisetum setaceum ‘Sky Rocket’)

Insightful tips from experienced botanists offer valuable guidance and recommendations for successfully cultivating and caring for Pennisetum setaceum ‘Sky Rocket’. Their expertise and observations can provide plant enthusiasts with practical insights and strategies for maximizing the growth and ornamental appeal of this captivating grass.

Planting Location

  • **Selecting a well-drained planting location with ample sunlight is crucial for the successful cultivation of fountain grass, ensuring optimal growth and visual appeal.

Water Management

  • **Balancing the water requirements of fountain grass through regular monitoring and appropriate irrigation practices is essential for promoting its health and vitality, particularly in varying environmental conditions.

Soil Composition

  • **Establishing fountain grass in a fertile, well-drained soil with adequate aeration facilitates its robust growth and resilience, contributing to its overall well-being.

Maintenance Practices

  • Implementing regular maintenance practices, such as pruning, fertilization, and disease surveillance, is integral to promoting the long-term health and visual allure of Pennisetum setaceum ‘Sky Rocket’.

Seasonal Considerations

  • **Adapting cultivation and care strategies based on seasonal changes and climatic conditions enables the successful management of fountain grass throughout the year, addressing its specific needs and requirements.

Landscape Integration

  • **Integrating fountain grass into diverse landscaping settings with creativity and purpose enhances the visual and functional appeal of outdoor environments, showcasing its ornamental qualities to the fullest extent.

Fun Facts About Fountain Grass (Pennisetum setaceum ‘Sky Rocket’)

Exploring interesting and unique facts about fountain grass adds an element of fascination and appreciation to its cultivation and integration into outdoor settings. These curious insights shed light on the captivating nature of Pennisetum setaceum ‘Sky Rocket’, enriching our understanding of its distinctive attributes.

1. Variegated Foliage

  • The variegated foliage of Pennisetum setaceum ‘Sky Rocket’ exhibits a striking blend of hues, including vibrant red, green, and white, adding a dynamic and visually captivating element to outdoor landscapes.

2. Ornamental Grass Diversity

  • **Fountain grass belongs to a diverse group of ornamental grasses appreciated for their decorative appeal and textural contributions to garden compositions, showcasing the broad spectrum of grass species available to gardeners.

3. Graceful Movement

  • **The graceful, arching growth habit of fountain grass imparts a sense of movement and flow to outdoor spaces, creating a visually dynamic and engaging presence within the landscape.

4. Drought Tolerance

  • **Pennisetum setaceum ‘Sky Rocket’ demonstrates a commendable level of drought tolerance once established, making it well-suited for landscapes with limited water availability and fluctuating moisture levels.

5. Wildlife Attraction

  • **Fountain grass can attract beneficial insects, such as pollinators and predators, to the garden, fostering ecological diversity and contributing to the sustainable functioning of outdoor ecosystems.

6. Architectural Interest

  • **The architectural form of fountain grass adds an element of sophistication and visual interest to contemporary and traditional landscape designs, enhancing the structural and aesthetic qualities of outdoor settings.

Links to External Resources

Accessing reputable external resources provides additional insights and information on fountain grass, enriching the depth of knowledge about this exceptional plant. Below are links to credible external resources for further exploration:


Fountain grass, represented by the cultivar Pennisetum setaceum ‘Sky Rocket’, is a captivating ornamental grass renowned for its graceful growth habit, variegated foliage, and versatile uses in landscaping. By understanding its cultural requirements, including water, sunlight, soil, and fertilizer, enthusiasts can create optimal growing conditions for this exceptional plant, promoting its health and ornamental appeal. From its utilization in borders, containers, and wildlife gardens to its disease management and propagation methods, fountain grass offers a wealth of opportunities for enhancing outdoor environments with its unique charm and visual allure. By integrating botanist’s tips, exploring fun facts, and accessing external resources, we can deepen our appreciation and knowledge of fountain grass, celebrating its contribution to the diversity and beauty of the natural world.

The comprehensive guide provides an in-depth exploration of the various aspects of cultivating and caring for fountain grass, specifically the cultivar Pennisetum setaceum ‘Sky Rocket’. By addressing its cultural requirements, uses, disease management, and propagation methods, this resource aims to equip plant enthusiasts and landscaping professionals with valuable insights and practical strategies for cultivating and integrating this captivating ornamental grass into diverse outdoor settings. The incorporation of fun facts, botanist’s tips, and links to external resources further enriches the depth of knowledge and appreciation for fountain grass, fostering a sense of fascination and admiration for its unique qualities and contributions to the natural world.

Picture of Peter Taylors

Peter Taylors

Expert botanist who loves plants. His expertise spans taxonomy, plant ecology, and ethnobotany. An advocate for plant conservation, he mentors and educates future botanists, leaving a lasting impact on the field.