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Two new princesses added to Athens Selects popular Prince and Princess family of Pennisetum hybrids.

November 23, 2009
David Kuack

Athens Select has added two cultivars to its popular ‘Prince’ and ‘Princess’ family of Pennisetum hybrids. Like the originals, ‘Princess Molly’ and ‘Princess Caroline’ offer the same great characteristic of deepening color as heat and humidity increase, but with the added versatility of smaller size.

'Princess Molly,’ which is the second generation of ‘Prince,’ produces thin, russet baurgundy leaves, but grows less than 30 inches tall. It is an ideal plant for smaller landscapes where color is desired but size is not.

‘Princess Caroline,’ which produces wide, brilliant-purple foliage, reaches a mature height of about 3 feet. A shorter version of ‘Princess,’ Caroline has better disease resistance, excellent weather tolerance and sturdier growth.

Name: Pennisetum ‘Princess Molly’ and ‘Princess Caroline’

Crop timing: Plant mid-January for a spring finish and March 1 for late-spring finish. Plants started from rooted liners (38- or 50-cell size) finish in six to eight weeks in 6-inch pots and eight to 10 weeks in 1-gallon containers.

Grower benefits: No pinching or growth regulators are necessary. ‘Princess Caroline’ and ‘Princess Molly’ are excellent in pots, landscape plantings and mixed containers. Both cultivars prefer full sun and offer excellent heat and drought tolerance and disease resistance. The purple foliage deepens in color as the weather becomes hotter and more humid.
Both cultivars prefer full sun and offer excellent heat and drought tolerance and can be grown across the country. They will not flower except in total frost-free areas. They are reliably cold hardy in USDA Hardiness Zones 8-11, and often come back in Zone 7b. In the landscape, plants should be fertilized monthly, and twice a month for those in containers using a well-balanced fertilizer.

Plant one liner (38- or 50-cell size) per 6-inch or 1-gallon container. Use a well-drained growing medium with a pH of 5.5-6.2 and electrical conductivity of 0.6-0.9. A growing mix containing 10-15 percent pine bark is suggested. Keep the medium moist, but not consistently wet.

Grow under high light with 65°F-80°F days and 62°F nights.

Provide a constant feed of 250-300 parts per million nitrogen from a well-balanced complete fertilizer.

No pinching or growth regulators are required.

Pests won’t be a problem if standard sanitation practices are followed. Drench with a broad spectrum fungicide at liner planting as a preventive treatment.

Both ‘Princess Molly’ and ‘Princess Caroline’ finish in an average of six to eight weeks in 6-inch pots and eight to 10 weeks in 1-gallon containers. 

For more: Athens Select, (760) 944-7889;

'               Princess Molly' (front), which grows 14-20 inches tall, and 'Princess Caroline' (back), which reaches about 3 feet tall, prefer full sun and offer excellent heat and drought tolerance.



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