Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Palm Grass
Setaria palmifolia

Family: Poaceae (poh-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Setaria (set-TARE-ee-uh) (Info)
Species: palmifolia (palm-ih-FOH-lee-uh) (Info)

One vendor has this plant for sale.

3 members have or want this plant for trade.

Ornamental Grasses and Bamboo

4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)
6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)
8-10 ft. (2.4-3 m)

24-36 in. (60-90 cm)
36-48 in. (90-120 cm)
4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)

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)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)
USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:
Sun to Partial Shade


Bloom Color:

Bloom Time:
Mid Fall
Late Fall/Early Winter

Grown for foliage

Other details:
May be a noxious weed or invasive
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater
Self-sows freely; deadhead if you do not want volunteer seedlings next season

Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
By dividing the rootball
From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall
Direct sow as soon as the ground can be worked

Seed Collecting:
Bag seedheads to capture ripening seed
Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds

Click thumbnail
to view:

By revlar
Thumbnail #1 of Setaria palmifolia by revlar

By onalee
Thumbnail #2 of Setaria palmifolia by onalee

By mswestover
Thumbnail #3 of Setaria palmifolia by mswestover

By Zaragoza
Thumbnail #4 of Setaria palmifolia by Zaragoza

By JaxFlaGardener
Thumbnail #5 of Setaria palmifolia by JaxFlaGardener

By RosinaBloom
Thumbnail #6 of Setaria palmifolia by RosinaBloom

By RosinaBloom
Thumbnail #7 of Setaria palmifolia by RosinaBloom

There are a total of 10 photos.
Click here to view them all!


3 positives
1 neutral
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive Tuscawilla On Oct 29, 2012, Tuscawilla from Micanopy, FL wrote:

Beautiful grasses when blooming or not blooming. Had it growing in part shade. It took a hard hit last winter and i totally lost one plant, but the other has come back some. Moved some seedlings to full sun but so far they are not doing that well. Hope the mother plant comes back to its former glory. Will try some in a shadier area and see how they might fill in under some old holly.

Neutral JaxFlaGardener On Aug 8, 2012, JaxFlaGardener from Jacksonville, FL (Zone 8b) wrote:

Makes a very dramatic, arching clump for landscapes, but it reseeds very freely and can be invasive. I try to cut the flower heads off in late summer when it blooms, but I still get seedlings popping up within about 25 ft of any clump of Setaria palmifolia.

Positive mswestover On Oct 3, 2009, mswestover from Yulee, FL (Zone 9a) wrote:

I bought four small plants from Revlar Farms in Aug 08. They thrived and have tripled in size. I do not water them too much, I do not want them to take over the flower bed. I am beginning to think I will need to move a couple of them with their babies later this fall. Beautiful when in bloom.

Positive Jungleman On Sep 28, 2009, Jungleman from Pasadena, CA (Zone 9b) wrote:

Grows beatifully in shade to part sun here in Pasadena (rather dry Zone 9b), with average to little water. Can get a little rangy in full shade, but will fill out when cut back. Beautiful understory plant - surprised it is not even in the Sunset Western Garden Book. Seems an ideal shade plant for the West.

Update: 2011

I find that it is not a choice plant for the West because it is not as suited to our dry summers. It gets big and sparse, unless you cut it back twice a year, then you have to deal with the blank spot in the garden. I underplanted it (yes, underplanted - it is that big) with Chlorphytum comosum (spider plant) to alleviate this problem. It is a beautiful plant. It is just better suited to the warm, humid East. That said, I still like it enough to soldier on with it! It is very tough, and can take some neglect and lower water than I at first expected. Easy to divide and spread.. Just split it in half with a shovel and move half of the plant to another shaded or partially shaded area.


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

Pasadena, California
San Diego, California
Brooksville, Florida (2 reports)
Gainesville, Florida
Jacksonville, Florida
Plant City, Florida
Yulee, Florida
Florence, South Carolina
Houston, Texas

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