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Panicum virgatum

Common Name(s):

Phonetic Spelling
PAN-ih-kum ver-GAY-tum
Description

Bluish cast in summer; reddish fall color; fast-spreading by rhizomes; vigorous. This plant is highly resistant to deer grazing and is slightly salt tolerant.

Switchgrass is a perennial, warm-season grass that may grow 3-4 feet and occasionally 7 feet. Foliage clump is topped in mid-summer by finely-textured, pink-tinged, branched flower panicles that hover over the foliage like a cloud. This plant is one of the more dominant species of the tallgrass prairie, but is also grows along moist roadsides. The yellow clumps will last throughout the winter.

Habitat: Var. cubense: wet to dry sandy pineland; var. virgatum: dry or wet sandy soils of pinelands, fresh and brackish marshes, shores

Fire Risk: This plant has an extreme flammability rating and should not be planted within the defensible space of your home.  Select plants with a low flammability rating for the sites nearest your home. 

Seasons of Interest:

     Bloom: Late Summer/Fall; Fruit/Seed/Nut: Fall/Winter

Compare this Plant to: Panicum virgatum 'Cloud Nine'Panicum virgatum 'Heavy Metal'

Habit: Upright

Form: Upright

 

 

 

See this plant in the following landscape:
Walkway Garden
Cultivars / Varieties:
'Cloud Nine', 'Dallas Blues', 'Heavy Metal', 'Northwind', 'Thundercloud'
Tags:
#fall color#resistant#wildlife plant#salt tolerant#cover plant#fall interest#playground#seeds#coastal#small mammals#food source#highly beneficial coastal plants#cpp#fire#extreme flammability#NC native#deer resistant#children's garden#skipper butterflies#edible seeds#pollinator plant#nesting sites#larval host plant#maze#food source winter#food source fall#food source herbage#coastal FAC#Piedmont Mountains FAC#bird friendly#food source hard mast fruit#mammals#butterfly friendly#butterfly larvae#audubon
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
'Cloud Nine', 'Dallas Blues', 'Heavy Metal', 'Northwind', 'Thundercloud'
Tags:
#fall color#resistant#wildlife plant#salt tolerant#cover plant#fall interest#playground#seeds#coastal#small mammals#food source#highly beneficial coastal plants#cpp#fire#extreme flammability#NC native#deer resistant#children's garden#skipper butterflies#edible seeds#pollinator plant#nesting sites#larval host plant#maze#food source winter#food source fall#food source herbage#coastal FAC#Piedmont Mountains FAC#bird friendly#food source hard mast fruit#mammals#butterfly friendly#butterfly larvae#audubon
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Panicum
    Species:
    virgatum
    Family:
    Poaceae
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Division
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    North America
    Fire Risk Rating:
    extreme flammability
    Wildlife Value:
    High deer resistance. Provides excellent cover year round. Host plant for Common Wood-Nymph and various skipper species of butterfly. Seeds are eaten by songbirds and small mammals.
    Play Value:
    Edible fruit
    Wildlife Cover/Habitat
    Wildlife Food Source
    Wildlife Nesting
    Dimensions:
    Height: 3 ft. 0 in. - 8 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 2 ft. 0 in. - 3 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Native Plant
    Ornamental Grasses and Sedges
    Perennial
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Clumping
    Dense
    Erect
    Growth Rate:
    Medium
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    Sand
    Soil Drainage:
    Moist
    Occasional Flooding
    Occasionally Dry
    Occasionally Wet
    Available Space To Plant:
    3 feet-6 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    5a, 5b, 6b, 6a, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9b, 9a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Cream/Tan
    Fruit Value To Gardener:
    Edible
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Fruit Type:
    Caryopsis
    Fruit Description:
    Seed is in form of a grain. Displays from August to November.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Pink
    Purple/Lavender
    Red/Burgundy
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Panicle
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Good Cut
    Good Dried
    Long-lasting
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Fall
    Summer
    Winter
    Flower Description:
    Open panicles of dark red to purple from June to October; shiny red seeds
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Blue
    Green
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Long-lasting
    Showy
    Deciduous Leaf Fall Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Red/Burgundy
    Hairs Present:
    No
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Container
    Meadow
    Naturalized Area
    Pond
    Recreational Play Area
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Butterfly Garden
    Children's Garden
    Edible Garden
    Native Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Design Feature:
    Border
    Screen/Privacy
    Attracts:
    Butterflies
    Small Mammals
    Songbirds
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Black Walnut
    Deer
    Drought
    Dry Soil
    Erosion
    Pollution
    Salt
    Wet Soil