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By Darren8

Lancashire, United Kingdom Gb

Overwintering a Pennisetum Indoors
I bought a pennisetum late in the year & could only put it into a pot. It seemed to be doing okay on a windowsill in moderate warmth (20c) but in the last week or two I've noticed that even the few blades of grass that were there are wilting & drying up. Is it terminal or just going into a rest period?
It's in slightly moist soil but I haven't watered it for at least six weeks. Should I tip it out & check the roots?



Hi, do you know which species you have ?there are about 120, most of which are hardy to about 14f, some are frost hardy, some are frost tender, also there are annual species, as well as perennials, so a lot depends on which species you have, Derek.

12 Dec, 2018


Yes, and I would have thought that bringing any of them indoors would be quite a shock. You’d be better fleecing it outside, ot preferably putting it in a frost-free greenhouse for the winter.

12 Dec, 2018


Thanks Derek, it's P. Fireworks, a fairly big red type. I got it as a 40mm plug from T&M & put it into a six inch pot in early September. It went out on a South facing slab surface & seemed completely stable. I knew it wasn't Winter hardy so once night temperatures got to about 10c I brought it in.
I don't think it could be a big shock Karen. I put it on a shelf across an open South facing window only two metres from where it was & I'm not the type to crank up the heating.
The fact that the soil is still moist bothers me, that seems to suggest it's not taking up ANY water?

12 Dec, 2018


Perhaps a 6"pot is a bit on the big side for a 2" plug Darren?
It won't be big enough to deal with all the moisture from a pot as big as that. I would try repotting it into a smaller one. And the cooler the room obviously the longer it will take for the compost to dry out, and they can rot if conditions are too damp. Perhaps use a lighter more free draining compost too - I don't know, but they look like a plant that likes a free draining dryish soil.

13 Dec, 2018


Hi, this is a variety of P setaceum, which is just frost hardy, but likes very well drained, fairly fertile soil, in full sun, it's more often grown as an annual, rather than trying to overwinter, and I agree with the above, a 6" pot is too big for the size of plant you get from t&m, I think you would be better off cutting your losses, and grow some from seed next year, and if you take my advice, stop buying from t&m, they're selling expensive, tiny plants, they're not hard to grow from seed, Derek

13 Dec, 2018


Fair enough Darren! I keep my house like the tropics!

13 Dec, 2018


Thanks all, I'll try to mix up something loose & free-draining before it's too late. It was on special offer so not much of a loss.
Derek, would one usually collect seed & then let frost finish them off as an annual?

14 Dec, 2018


Hi Darren, you can collect your own seed, but you won't get any from the plant you have, because ,[I.m presuming] it hasn't flowered, so you will probably have to buy the seed for next year, I would sow the seed in a propagator in early spring at 55 to 64f, to get the maximum growth, if you haven't got a propagator, you can probably get away with growing them on a sunny windowsill, but bring them into the room at night, just a thought, going back to your last question, if you haven't already got 1, why not use the money to get yourself a thermostatically controlled propagator, they really are what I would consider an essential item, Derek.

14 Dec, 2018


Hi Derek, thanks. I've been doing quite well on the bathroom windowsill which is above a radiator. My problem this year seems not to be germination but getting plants nice & strong after 6-8 weeks indoors. Just seems to be one thing after another... Bugs, moulds, you name it, I seem to have suffered with it

15 Dec, 2018


Hi Darren, I think your problem could be a moist warm atmosphere, if you're still keeping the seedlings in the bathroom after germination, they should be moved to somewhere cooler, with a drier atmosphere, and gradually hardened off, ready for outdoor conditions, a cold frame is invaluable for this process, Derek.

17 Dec, 2018


Hi Derek. I don't keep seedlings in the bathroom, it's just a handy spot for seed germination on the windowsill under plastic with the bottom heat from the radiator.
Just had dispiriting problems with my chillies indoors. Most will hopefully survive but I've had mould, solved that & then got some sort of flying sap suckers &, I suspect, some spider mite. I put up sticky traps & eventually sprayed with insecticide that's okay for edibles.
At the moment I'm making sure the area is as cold & unfriendly to bugs as I can without killing the plants...

18 Dec, 2018


Hi Darren, the joys of gardening,😂😂😂, Derek.

21 Dec, 2018


Hi Derek. Oh the joys😭

21 Dec, 2018

How do I say thanks?

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