One of the most drought resistant grains in the southeastern United States, Ornamental Millet grow an extensive root
system to help catch essential minerals and water in the soil. The flowers grow on a raceme, a type of flower spike, that
look similar to cattails.
Pennisetum glaucum (Ornamental Millet, Pearl Millet)
Deciduous: These survive for only one year.
Hardiness Zones: 10-11, keep temperatures above 50 degrees Fahrenheit, prefers around 90 degrees Fahrenheit for optimal growth
Height: grow 0.6-1.5 meters (3-5 feet) tall
Diameter: spreads to 1.5 meters (5 feet)
Growth Rate: fast
Age: annual, flowers around 50 days old, reaches maximum size around 70 days old
Root System: taproot, extensive for drought tolerance
Subspecies: ‘Purple Majesty’ (purple foliage, flowers profusely), ‘Jester’ (green-red/burgundy foliage, dark brown flower
spikes), ‘Purple Baron’ (smaller, to 0.9 meters (3 feet) tall), TifGrain 102 (produced by USDA and the RAS for high crop yields)
Tolerates: drought, herbivores (deer), heavy/clay soils
Problems (major): chinch bug, root rot (overwatering), rust, pyricularia leaf spot
Problems (minor): competing vegetation (weeds), stink bugs, nematodes, grain molds, birds
Soil requirements: prefers moist, light/sandy or medium/loamy, well-drained soils with a pH between 6.0-7.0 (up to 8.0)
Air requirements: not sufficiently researched
Watering requirement: low to moderate
Sun requirement: requires full sun, intolerant of shade
Leaf shape: strap-like
Leaf size: to 1 meter (40 inches) long by 3 centimeters (1 inch) wide
Stems: to 2 centimeters (1 inch) in diameter
Flower structure: a hairy, brown raceme (inflorescence) resembling a cattail inflorescence, to 5 centimeters wide by 50
Flowering frequency: commonly in September and October
Fruit: caryopsis (a dry fruit with one seed), cylindrical, white/yellow/brown/purple
The seeds germinate quickly in temperatures around 80 degrees Fahrenheit.The flowers are wind pollinated.
These are commonly grown in the southern United States as a crop for cattle and swine.
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