I have a similar problem with my next grass, Pennisetum villosum. What exactly am I looking for? Some sort of grain is what I’m expecting but I pull the heads apart in vain. It is reputed to be a bit tender so perhaps it doesn’t have the right conditions to set seed. But I’m sure I’ve seen seedlings around my plant so it must do. I was discussing this with a fellow member who said that she didn’t worry with such niceties – she just sprinkles the whole thing over the pot and that’s that. So I tried that too and, would you believe it, fantastic germination and the plants are growing well. But wherever you get it from you can still enjoy this beautiful grass.
My first two grasses have both had problems and my next is no better. Cortaderia fulvida is a pampus grass, but not the usual South American one. This elegant beauty comes from New Zealand. I have a love/hate relationship with it – I love it and it hates me. I despair of ever growing it successfully. I first saw it when Jack Elliott showed it during a lecture. Any plant that Jack commented on was bound to be good and this one really attracted my attention. It was some years later when I saw it listed in the RHS seed distribution. I managed to grow a number of plants and, knowing that it had been recommended by Jack, I thought that some other members might like it. One of the plants ended up in the garden of a friend but, due to my own procrastination and stupidity, the ones I kept perished still in the pots. Hers, planted in the front garden, grew and flowered for all to see as they drove past. I took to taking a detour so that I wasn’t reminded of my own tardiness. I tried again with fresh seed but this time, in my haste, planted it out when it was too young and at the wrong time of year – it too perished. Not to be beaten I ordered the seed again. I have a plant, put out at the right time and size, as far as I know, but I have to admit that it is not doing well. It is the most beautiful grass and one of these days I might have one of my own but meanwhile I’ll drive past Vera’s and enjoy hers.