En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Sunday - September 20, 2009

From: Edwardsburg, MI
Region: Midwest
Topic: Non-Natives
Title: Non-native fountain grass for Edwardsburg MI
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I purchased a purple fountain grass by a vendor @ the Plymouth, IN blueberry festival. He told me that it is a perennial. I live in Edwardsburg, MI and I keep reading that in my area, they are considered annuals. What is correct?? I love this grass and would love to have it back every year without having to re-plant.

ANSWER:

The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is committed to the care, protection and propagation of plants native not only to North America but to the area in which it is being grown. Pennisetum setaceum, fountain grass, is native to Africa and Saudi Arabia, among others. The word "Purple" attached to the plant you bought no doubt was a vendor-selected description. Not only is this plant out of our area of expertise, but it is considered a harmful invasive in the areas in which it can be grown, none of which are as far north as Michigan. Read this Plant Conservation Alliance's Alien Plant Working Group 'Least Wanted' article on Fountain Grass.

In our Native Plant Database, we have found seven grasses that are similarly attractive to the fountain grass, but are all perennial and all native to Michigan. Follow the links to the page on each grass for more information.

Native ornamental grasses for Michigan

Calamagrostis canadensis (bluejoint) - clump-forming, 3 to 5 ft. tall, purple when in flower, stands up well in winter, sun, part shade or shade More pictures

Chasmanthium latifolium (Inland sea oats) - clump-forming, 3 to 5 ft. tall, part shade or shade

Deschampsia cespitosa (tufted hairgrass) - cool season perennial, mostly evergreen, 2 to 3 ft. tall, part sun. More information

Elymus villosus (hairy wildrye) - 3 to 6 ft. tall, partial shade

Hordeum jubatum (foxtail barley) - 1 to 3 ft. tall

Schizachyrium scoparium (little bluestem) - ornamental bunchgrass, 18 to 24 inches tall, sun or part shade

Tridens flavus (purpletop tridens) - 3 to 7 ft. tall with purple spikelets, part shade

Pictures from our Native Plant Image Gallery


Calamagrostis canadensis

Chasmanthium latifolium

Deschampsia cespitosa

Elymus villosus

Hordeum jubatum

Schizachyrium scoparium

Tridens flavus

 

 

More Non-Natives Questions

Care for non-native Spathiphyllum from Floral Park, NY
December 03, 2010 - I have a medium to large size friendship lily indoor plant that was once magnificent when first purchased it. I lost plenty of lush green leaves to brown spots. The health has improved( I moved locat...
view the full question and answer

Non-native Pride of Barbados for Austin
July 07, 2009 - When does the Pride of Barbados need to be planted and where would I find a nursery that carries them?
view the full question and answer

Support for non-native, invasive Nandina Domestica from San Antonio, TX
July 09, 2013 - I consider nandina domestica to be a perfect plant for San Antonio, but see that it is on the list of invasive plants for surrounding eco-areas. How should I respond regarding one of my favorite land...
view the full question and answer

Non-fruiting squash
July 25, 2007 - With all this rain in Dallas why would our Zuchinni and Yellow squash be beautiful and green but not produce any squash?
view the full question and answer

Problems with non-native impatiens in Denton, TX
May 19, 2009 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, 4 weeks ago I planted a shady bed (2'x10') with impatiens for the third year in-a-row. Previously, the plants thrived & bloomed till November. Three weeks ago, something ...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center