16 Dwarf Fountain Grass Varieties

Ralph Astley is a retired gardener from Philadelphia who specializes in outdoor plants and trees. With years of hands-on experience, Ralph not only cares for a diverse range of outdoor flora but also shares his extensive knowledge through well-written articles and social media posts. A trusted authority in arboriculture, he's committed to helping the community grow healthier, more robust gardens.
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Dwarf Fountain Grass Varieties are great for small gardens and containers where you want to bring a ‘foresty’ appeal!

These Dwarf Fountain Grass Varieties offer all the allure of their taller counterparts—wispy plumes, vibrant hues, and elegant movement—packed into a compact size perfect for small gardens, patios, and containers.

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Dwarf Fountain Grass Varieties

1. Pennisetum alopecuroides ‘Hameln’

Dwarf Fountain Grass Varieties 1

  • Height: 18-24 inches
  • Color: Green foliage with tan seed heads

Hamel,’ originating from Eastern Asia, is a compact clumping variety perfect for border planting and small gardens. It boasts fine-textured, arching leaves.

2. Pennisetum alopecuroides ‘Little Bunny’

  • Height: 12-18 inches
  • Color: Green foliage, creamy-tan plumes

These dwarf fountain grass varieties are native to Eastern Asia, and feature a petite size ideal for container gardening and small outdoor spaces.

3. Pennisetum ‘Red Head’

Dwarf Fountain Grass Varieties 3

  • Height: 2-3 feet
  • Color: Smoky-purple plumes

This hybrid variety is popular for its early emergence of smoky-purple plumes. The plant serves as an excellent focal point in landscaping.

4. Pennisetum orientale ‘Karley Rose’

  • Height: 2-3 feet
  • Color: Green foliage, rosy-pink plumes

Originating from the Middle East and Southwest Asia, ‘Karley Rose‘ offers rosy-pink plumes that make it an eye-catcher. This drought-tolerant variety is ideal for xeriscaping.

5. Pennisetum alopecuroides ‘Moudry’

Dwarf Fountain Grass Varieties 5

  • Height: 2-3 feet
  • Color: Blackish-purple plumes

‘Moudry,’ hailing from Eastern Asia, is notable for its striking blackish-purple plumes, making it an excellent choice for creating contrast in the garden.

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6. Pennisetum setaceum ‘Rubrum’

  • Height: 2-4 feet
  • Color: Reddish-purple foliage

‘Ruibum,’ originating from regions in Africa and the Middle East, stands out with its striking reddish-purple foliage. It’s popular as an annual.

7. Pennisetum orientale ‘Tall Tails’

Dwarf Fountain Grass Varieties 7

  • Height: 3-4 feet
  • Color: Creamy-white plumes

Next on the list of dwarf fountain grass varieties, this one stands out when planted in groups and serves as a prominent focal point in the landscape.

8. Pennisetum alopecuroides ‘Cassian’

  • Height: 24-30 inches
  • Color: Green foliage, tan seed heads

From Eastern Asia, ‘Cassian’ offers late summer blooms and versatility in any garden. Its green foliage and tan seed heads add a seasonal interest.

9. Pennisetum messiacum ‘Red Head’

Dwarf Fountain Grass Varieties 9
  • Height: 1-2 feet
  • Color: Reddish foxtails

Native to Africa, ‘Red Head’ is perfect for container gardening due to its compact size. The reddish foxtails add an ornamental element that stands out!

10. Pennisetum spathiolatum ‘Summer Samba’

  • Height: 18-24 inches
  • Color: Yellowish-tan plumes

This East African native stands out for its unique, feathery appearance. Often used for mass planting, the ‘Summer Samba’ is also great in mixed borders.

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11. Pennisetum thunbergii ‘Red Buttons’

Dwarf Fountain Grass Varieties 11
  • Height: 18-24 inches
  • Color: Reddish-brown plumes

Native to Africa, ‘Red Buttons‘ is recognized for its reddish-brown plumes. It thrives in well-drained soil and is often used in mixed borders and containers.

12. Pennisetum alopecuroides ‘Desert Plains’

  • Height: 3-4 feet
  • Color: Green foliage, purplish plumes

Another Eastern Asia native, ‘Desert Plains’ is a versatile grass suitable for a variety of soil types. With purplish plumes, it makes for an attractive centerpiece or a background plant.

13. Pennisetum alopecuroides ‘National Arboretum’

Dwarf Fountain Grass Varieties 13

  • Height: 2-3 feet
  • Color: Green foliage, creamy plumes

Selected for its distinct form, this Eastern Asian variety is often used for its textural qualities. It is ideal for borders and mass plantings.

14. Pennisetum alopecuroides ‘Burgundy Bunny’

  • Height: 12-16 inches
  • Color: Green to red foliage, white plumes

This compact variety from Eastern Asia changes its green foliage to red in the fall. ‘Burgundy Bunny’ is perfect for adding seasonal interest in small spaces and containers.

15. Pennisetum villosum ‘Feathertop’

Dwarf Fountain Grass Varieties 15

  • Height: 1-2 feet
  • Color: Green foliage, white fluffy plumes

Feathertop,’ native to Northern Africa, is well-suited for containers and small spaces due to its compact size. Its white, fluffy plumes bring texture and contrast to any setting.

16. Pennisetum alopecuroides ‘Lemon Squeeze’

Garden Answer
  • Height: 2-3 feet
  • Color: Lemon-yellow foliage, cream plumes

Last on our list of dwarf fountain grass varieties, it starts with lemon-yellow leaves, which eventually transition to a chartreuse hue. A must have for containers for sure!

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Quick Care Tips for Dwarf Fountain Grass Varieties

If you are planning to grow dwarf fountain grass varieties in containers, then do follow these tips to ensure they thrive all year round. 

  • Use a high-quality potting mix that offers good drainage.
  • Water the plant thoroughly but make sure the container has proper drainage to avoid root rot.
  • Place the container in a location that receives at least 6 hours of direct sunlight daily.
  • Trim back dead or yellow leaves as needed to keep the plant looking fresh.
  • Apply a balanced liquid fertilizer every 4-6 weeks after diluting it to 1/2 of its strength.
  • Choose a container that is at least 1.5 times the size of the root ball to allow for growth.
  • Keep an eye out for common pests like aphids or spider mites. Treat infestations with insecticidal soap or neem oil.

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