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Panicum virgatum

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Plant types and subtypes: Grasses, Prairie Grasses, Ornamental Grasses

Light Requirements: sun, part-sun

Water Use: low

Soil Moisture: dry, moist, wet

Soil Description: average, poor, loam, clay, sand, gravel/rock

Height: 3'-4'

Bloom Time: July

Bloom Color: pink

Leaf Color: green, blue-green

Hardiness Zone: 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11

Additional Tags: attracts birds, attracts butterflies, clumping, colonizing, deer resistant, dried flowers, drought tolerant, fall interest, naturalizing, ornamental foliage, pond margin plant, stream margin plant

Panicum virgatum (switchgrass)
  • Panicum virgatum (switchgrass)
  • Panicum virgatum (switchgrass)
  • Panicum virgatum (switchgrass)
  • Panicum virgatum (switchgrass)

Pricing & Availability

Description

Panicum virgatum

Also known as:

switchgrass

,

wand panic grass

Scientific Synonyms:

Description

Panicum virgatum is a stiff, columnar ornamental grass. It typically grows to a height of 3', with seed heads that may extend upward to 6'. The foliage is bright green, turning yellowish-orange in fall, then beige in winter, thus providing year round visual interest. The flower heads are airy, green, tinged with pinkish to brownish hues. These give way to seed plumes that persist well into winter.

Cultivation

Switch grass is a very easy plant to grow in a variety of conditions. It does not have any particular soil requirements, and will do well in wet, as well as dry environments. Being a prairie grass, it does best in full sun. It will tolerate some shade, but this will be to the detriment of its form. Cut old foliage back in late winter to early spring, before new growth emerges. It may be used to stabilize nutrient depleted soils. Will slowly spread and colonize by seed and by rhizomes. The blooming period is short, lasting only 1 to 2 weeks in mid-summer. Zones 3-11

Propagation

Easy to propagate from seed. May also be propagated by clump or root division in early spring.

Additional Notes

Panicum virgatum was once a dominant grass species in the Great Plains and is suitable for cattle grazing. It is native to all of the continental US, except for the Pacific coast. The seeds are an important winter source of food for a variety of birds and mammals. The plants themselves, provide shelter to a host of wildlife.

Native Range & Classification

Recorded County Distribution: USDA data

Native Range:
AL, AR, AZ, CO, CT, DC, DE, FL, GA, IA, ID, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MS, MT, NC, ND, NE, NH, NJ, NM, NV, NY, OH, OK, PA, RI, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VA, VT, WI, WV, WY

Classification

Kingdom Plantae Plants
Subkingdom Tracheobionta Vascular plants
Superdivision Spermatophyta Seed plants
Division Magnoliophyta Flowering plants
Class Liliopsida Monocotyledons
Subclass Commelinidae
Order Cyperales
Family Poaceae Grass family
Genus Panicum panicgrass
Species Panicum virgatum switchgrass