Fall may be for planting, but I rarely get new plants in the fall, except for the occasional bamboo or tree. This year is different though, as I've got some specific holes to fill in the garden, and will be putting in some new planting beds very soon. So I have a need for new perennials and more interesting plants.

Luckily, I have read other gardening blogs and gardeners like to share. Scott at Rhone Street Gardens sent me this package the other day, and I was so excited!


The box was much heavier than I thought it would be. Contents were a bit surprising:

The little plastic baggie was what I was expecting, as it contained some small grass divisions:

These sad-looking little stalks are Pennisetum 'Tift-8' or "Vertigo". Scott followed my example of taking single-stalk divisions for overwintering, but because this grass is so massive he was unable to get roots. I told him not to worry and see what happened -- as I know that I almost never have a Pennisetum setaceum 'Rubrum' division fail, regardless of how small it is. I was guessing that 'Tift-8' had the same vigor.

He was excited that the divisions eventually rooted out, and sent them along to me.

While the plants were rooting though, he must have rounded up another small Vertigo plant, since the potted plant was certainly not a new cutting:

I potted up everything as fast as I could, as I'm eager to get these guys growing as quickly as possible.

They'll be spending the winter indoors next to my 'Rubrum' divisions under the lights -- both of these varieties are not cold-hardy in my climate -- so I'm growing for next year instead of this one.

It's a new grass that I'm really excited to try in the garden next year, as it supposedly gets quite large. The colors too -- wow! Bigger than purple fountain grass and a deeper  color... I can't wait!

Technical info: 'Tift-8' is a trispecific hybrid that was selected in 2005, grown for a few years, then released into the gardening world in 2010. Developed at the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, it was produced from a cross between a cultivar of pearl millet ((P. glaucum) and P. purpureum ‘Merkeron’. One of the resulting plants was selected the following year and crossed with P. purpureum ‘Princess’, and the 'Tift-8' variety was selected from the results. 'Tift-8' blooms only when day length is below 10.5 hours, but is only cold-hardy to about 15ºF (-10ºC), which means that it will most likely never flower for me outdoors -- unlike P. setaceum 'Rubrum' which flowers for months. It could reach 5'(1.5m) in height and almost that in width, much bigger than 'Rubrum'.

More technical details in this PDF.

So exciting -- thanks Scott!


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scottweberpdx  – (September 17, 2012 at 9:38 AM)  

Yay! So glad they made it there intact! I'm so bad at packing stuff...I just put as much stuffing in as possible and hope the USPS gods are kind. I totally found that Vertigo for sale the weekend before I shipped the cuttings, and since I could not for the life of me get through the roots of my own plants, I figured "why not"! I really hope they make it through the winter...I think with your hotter summer weather, your's will be spectacular next year!

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