Gardening Magazine

Plant of the Week: Pennisetum Orientale ‘Karley Rose’

By Davis Landscape Architecture @DavisLandArch

Pennisetum orientale 'Karley Rose' Flower (28/07/2012, Kew Gardens, London)

Pennisetum orientale ‘Karley Rose’ Flower (28/07/2012, Kew Gardens, London)

Position: Full sun

Flowering period: Summer

Soil: Moist, well drained

Eventual Height: 60cm

Eventual Spread: 60cm

Hardiness: 5a – 9b

Family: Poaceae

Pennisetum orientale ‘Karley Rose’ is a deciduous, clump forming, tufted perennial grass. Its dark green leaves are linear, arching and up to 60cm long and 15mm broad. Its purple flowers appear in panicles at the ends of stalks and are up to 12cm long. These panicles may remain on the plant through the winter months. Its roots are rhizomes.

The species Pennisetum orientale, commonly known as Oriental Fountain Grass, is native to the mountains of south west Asia.

The etymology root of the binomial name Pennisetum is derived from the Latin penna ’feather’ and seta ‘bristle’ in reference to the seed heads Orientale is derived from the Latin oriens meaning ‘eastern’.

The landscape architect may find Pennisetum orientale ‘Karley Rose’ useful in prairie type planting schemes. This grass looks fantastic when planted en mass. Once established this plant is drought tolerant.

Pennisetum orientale 'Karley Rose' (28/07/2012, Kew Gardens, London)

Pennisetum orientale ‘Karley Rose’ (28/07/2012, Kew Gardens, London)

Ecologically, P. orientale ‘Karley Rose’ is of little interest to wild life.

The Royal Horticultural Society has given the species Pennisetum orientale their prestigious Award of Garden Merit in 1993.

P. orientale ‘Karley Rose’ prefers moist, fertile, well-drained soils. It tolerates most pH of soil. It will not tolerate wet soils.

Pennisetum orientale ‘Karley Rose’ requires little maintenance. For a tidy appearance this grass may be cut to 10cm above ground level. Large clumps may be divided in early spring.

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