Panicum virgatum 'Rotstrahlbusch' is a mouthful, and if like me you have no idea how to pronounce it, you can settle on calling it red switchgrass. The variety name loosely translates “red ray bush,” which is a good description of its appearance. The key characteristics that differentiate it from the parent species, are conspicuously red-tipped leaves that that become burgundy towards fall before fading to shades of beige in winter. It is of shorter stature than the straight species (topping off at about 4'), and bears reddish, fluffy seed heads.
As with the straight species, 'Rotstrahlbusch' is adaptable to a wide range of soil types, and moisture levels ranging from wet to dry. It is best grown under full some, but it will tolerate some shade. In part due to a shorter habit, this cultivar remains remarkably erect throughout the seasons.
The origin of Panicum virgatum 'Rotstrahlbusch' is traced back to Karl Foerster in Germany, in 1968. The cultivar is not patented.