Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Oriental Fountain Grass
Pennisetum orientale 'Karley Rose'

Family: Poaceae (poh-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Pennisetum (pen-ih-SEE-tum) (Info)
Species: orientale (or-ee-en-TAY-lee) (Info)
Cultivar: Karley Rose
Additional cultivar information: (PP12909)
Hybridized by Skwiot; Year of Registration or Introduction: 1999

11 vendors have this plant for sale.

9 members have or want this plant for trade.

Ornamental Grasses and Bamboo

36-48 in. (90-120 cm)

24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)
USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)
USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun
Sun to Partial Shade


Bloom Color:

Bloom Time:
Late Summer/Early Fall
Mid Fall

Grown for foliage

Other details:
Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Soil pH requirements:
5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
By dividing the rootball
From seed; sow indoors before last frost
From seed; direct sow after last frost

Seed Collecting:
Bag seedheads to capture ripening seed
Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds
N/A: plant does not set seed, flowers are sterile, or plants will not come true from seed

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There are a total of 28 photos.
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10 positives
3 neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive Rickwebb On Jan 31, 2014, Rickwebb from Downingtown, PA wrote:

This grass from western Asia, the original Orient to Europeans, not East Asia, makes a big handsome mound. It is soft and easy to dig up or cut into sections. My one plant at the garage would get too big for the spot and I would dig it up and replant a section of it back. It does sucker some from the clump in time. It is offered for sale at a good number of nurseries, but it is not nearly as commonly planted as the similar Perennial Fountaingrass with the most popular cultivar of 'Hamelin'. I like this pretty plant with the great pinkish bottlebrush flower heads, but I got tired of it getting too big for the spot and I replaced it with a Little Bluestem that is more upright and native.

Positive bikeman1 On Sep 15, 2013, bikeman1 from Westover, WV wrote:

we have got one cultivar from the local Lowe's and another from seed. Flower color differs but the vigor and size are similar. Carefree maintenance, vigorous growth. I believe the seeds are sterile but it likes to spread as rhizomes. Great for filling areas or can be moved around, recovers in first year. Good around porches == Love this grass!

Neutral Karelly On May 30, 2013, Karelly from Spofford, NH wrote:

May 30, 2013 these plants have not yet germinated in Spofford, NH (5A). We have had a wet cool Spring, but no signs of green growth as of this date. The grasses are planted in full sun.

Positive Karlynisgreen On Nov 7, 2012, Karlynisgreen from Cuyahoga Falls, OH wrote:

Not sure if questions are allowed, I love this plant but wonder how it will hold up through the snow? Cut back now or spring?

Positive hortulaninobili On Jan 13, 2011, hortulaninobili from St. Louis, MO (Zone 6a) wrote:

Pennisetum orientale 'Karley Rose'

This plant has been in my gardens now for nearly 10 years and never has it suffered from disease or pest. Oriental fountain grass thrives nearly in every location I have planted it: near the foundation, full sun, part shade, rich soil, soil that floods, exposed, and near the street/sidewalk. The plant is robust and durable but refined and malleable in the landscape. Fountain grass provides interest planted among other plants in the border, as a grouping, mass planting, or landscape plant. Classic or modern looks are achievable with this plant. Not cutting back dry leaves during fall/winter has the benefit of adding an element of interest to winter landscapes.

Maintenance of this plant is straightforward. If sited properly, regular precipitation and supplemental fertilizer (organic or non-organic - both DO work fine) produce best plants. Mulch to suppress weeds from growing near/in plant. Dry grass tufts can be burned back to ground in spring prior to plant growth, if your jurisdiction allows such practices.

Positive massnorth On Mar 14, 2010, massnorth from Topsfield, MA (Zone 6a) wrote:

This is my favorite grass. So vigorous and long-blooming! I second the comment about them flopping in the rain, but I also second the comment that they pop up again very quickly as they dry. The other thing I'll say is that this is no 'Hameln' -- 'Karley Rose' may look dainty, but this isn't a small Pennisetum, and though not tall per se, it grows wider and wider over the course of the growing season. I know folks who've planted it in small spaces and had to relocate later. Site with that in mind, and you'll have a great low-care plant for the duration.

Positive jsuppa On Jul 21, 2009, jsuppa from Boonton, NJ wrote:

This grass gets the most compliments when people pass by. It comes up reliably each year and keeps its form perfectly. It only lays down after a soaking rain but comes right back up when it has had a chance to dry off. It has been very tolerant of dry conditions, and being at the end of the driveway, has had no problem with road salt in the winter. The only maintenance is to cut it to the ground in March or April and then just wait for it to grow again!

Positive Meredith79 On Oct 15, 2008, Meredith79 from Southeastern, NH (Zone 5b) wrote:

It is true that these flop in rain, however in full sun they pop right back up all on their own. That is, after the sun comes out and they have an hour or so to dry off a bit. I have some mixed in with some wildflowers in a partly shady area and they perform no where near as well as out on their own in full sun. I absolutely love them and they are one of my favorite plants I've ever grown. They start sending out their beautiful mauve seed heads in late June, before they are even half the size they will be by the time the first, killing frost comes. Mine are an inch or two shy of five feet and in their second growing season, they have grown to double the width they were originally. I have dry mesic soil and I added organic matter before planting. Now that they are established I only water them deeply, during dry spells. They have proven hardy through their first winter here. The lowest the temperature dropped to was -13 degrees F. We did however have very good snow cover, which is not always the case here. So far they have not disappointed me and I highly recommend them, if the right spot can be provided.

Neutral Gabrielle On Sep 7, 2007, Gabrielle from (Zone 5a) wrote:

Blooms June-August in my garden, beautiful heads. USPP #12909

Positive kaisu On Jul 14, 2007, kaisu from Cotuit, MA (Zone 7a) wrote:

Lovely plant. It looks great at the back of my flower garden, but for me it grows 4 feet tall. And this is only the second year!

Positive weedwarden On Jun 17, 2007, weedwarden from Lincoln, IL wrote:

This is one of my favorite grasses, as it moves so gracefully in a breeze. It's one major drawback in my garden is that after a rain it flops badly. I have found, though, that by using a long garden stake to lift it and shake the water off, I can get it back upright again. This one is a "keeper" in my garden.

Positive aprilwillis On Sep 30, 2006, aprilwillis from Missouri City, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

This grass looks amazing in mass plantings!

Neutral phloxy_lady On Sep 28, 2003, phloxy_lady from West Portsmouth, OH (Zone 6a) wrote:

My vote is still out on this grass.
I love the plumes and the overall plant is attractive, at a distance. Upclose and personel, it is a "little" weedy(unruly) looking and tends to flop.
My plants are 2 years old. I have, now, relocated them, and will wait to see if the growing habits improve.
Like most grasses, they look wonderful, with the sun behind it.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Marietta, Georgia
Herrin, Illinois
Lincoln, Illinois
Palmyra, Illinois
Washington, Illinois
South Bend, Indiana
Princeton, Kansas
Topsfield, Massachusetts
O Fallon, Missouri
Exeter, New Hampshire
Hudson, New Hampshire
Spofford, New Hampshire
Boonton, New Jersey
Calabash, North Carolina
Raleigh, North Carolina
Dalton, Ohio
Defiance, Ohio
West Portsmouth, Ohio
Roseburg, Oregon
Downingtown, Pennsylvania
Milford, Pennsylvania
Renfrew, Pennsylvania
Johns Island, South Carolina
Christiana, Tennessee
Memphis, Tennessee
Iredell, Texas
Missouri City, Texas
Vernal, Utah
Norfolk, Virginia

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