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Pennisetum purpureum x americanum
Bana Grass is a hybrid cross between Elephant Grass (Pennisetum purpureum) and Pearl Millet (Pennisetum americanum). It is clump forming and grows 3-4m tall after 2-3 years. It is sterile and does not set viable seed.
Being a tropical grass it thrives in warm conditions and will perform best in a frost free location, but it can recover from light frosts. It is drought tolerant and has low nutrient needs. It is pest and disease resistant and can grow in most soil types.
Bana Grass makes a good shelter belt plant, providing fast shelter, and it is a useful plant for food forest systems, providing large quantities of carbon-rich material. Once they are well established, we cut our clumps back almost to the ground once a year in spring, (keeping the stems to use for propagation material). Being high in carbon, the mulch does a good job of balancing out the high nitrogen mulch from our two other main chop and drop species, Tithonia and Comfrey. It can also be used as an animal fodder.
Bana Grass is a sterile, clumping grass so it does not spread, however if the canes are allowed to bend over and touch the ground they can take root, so they do need to be managed. We have not had any problems but apparently in ideal conditions the stems can occasionally take root when used as a mulch. To avoid this they can be put through a chipper, laid in a shady area, or buried under other layers of mulch.
Size: 10cm Pot