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Switch Grass Panicum virgatum

Other 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.

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

 

 

 

Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Cloud Nine'
  • 'Dallas Blues'
Tags:
#butterflies#fall color#birds#resistant#wildlife plant#salt tolerant#cover plant#host plant#fall interest#playground#seeds#host#coastal#mammals#food source#highly beneficial coastal plants#cpp#fire#extreme flammability#NC native#deer resistant#children's garden#skipper butterflies#butterfly garden#edible seeds#pollinator plant#fall food source#nesting sites#larval host plant#maze#food source winter
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Cloud Nine'
  • 'Dallas Blues'
Tags:
#butterflies#fall color#birds#resistant#wildlife plant#salt tolerant#cover plant#host plant#fall interest#playground#seeds#host#coastal#mammals#food source#highly beneficial coastal plants#cpp#fire#extreme flammability#NC native#deer resistant#children's garden#skipper butterflies#butterfly garden#edible seeds#pollinator plant#fall food source#nesting sites#larval host plant#maze#food source winter
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Panicum
    Species:
    virgatum
    Family:
    Poaceae
    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. - 7 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 2 ft. 0 in. - 3 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Native Plant
    Ornamental Grass
    Perennial
    Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Clumping
    Dense
    Growth Rate:
    Rapid
    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 Drainage:
    Moist
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    Usda Plant Hardiness Zone:
    5a, 5b, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9a, 9b
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Cream/Tan
    Fruit Value To Gardener:
    Edible
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Winter
    Fruit Description:
    Seed is in form of a grain.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Pink
    Purple/Lavender
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Panicle
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Fall
    Summer
    Flower Description:
    Open panicles of dark red to purple in late summer and fall; shiny red seeds
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Deciduous Leaf Fall Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Hairs Present:
    No
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Recreational Play Area
    Landscape Theme:
    Butterfly Garden
    Children's Garden
    Edible Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Attracts:
    Butterflies
    Small Mammals
    Songbirds
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer
    Salt