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Switch Grass

Category:

Switch Grass features airy plumes of rose flowers rising above the foliage in mid summer. The brick red seed heads are carried on showy plumes displayed in abundance from late summer to mid fall. Its grassy leaves are green in color. The foliage often turns yellow in fall.

Characteristics

Species:
virgatum
Average Landscape Height:
5 feet
Average Landscape Width:
3 feet
Genus:
Panicum
Branching:
herbaceous
Plant Form:
upright spreading
Canopy:
leggy
Growth Rate:
medium
Pruning:
late winter pruning
Flower Color:
rose
Flower Period:
in mid summer
Summer Foliage Color:
green
Fall Color:
yellow
Maximum Light:
full sun
Minimum Light:
partial shade
Maximum Moisture:
moist
Minimum Moisture:
dry
Pollution Tolerance:
medium

Ornamental Features

Switch Grass features airy plumes of rose flowers rising above the foliage in mid summer. The brick red seed heads are carried on showy plumes displayed in abundance from late summer to mid fall. Its grassy leaves are green in color. The foliage often turns yellow in fall.

Landscape Attributes

Switch Grass is an herbaceous perennial grass with an upright spreading habit of growth. Its relatively fine texture sets it apart from other garden plants with less refined foliage.

Planting & Growing

Switch Grass will grow to be about 4 feet tall at maturity, with a spread of 3 feet. It tends to be leggy, with a typical clearance of 1 foot from the ground, and should be underplanted with lower-growing perennials. It grows at a medium rate, and under ideal conditions can be expected to live for approximately 15 years. As an herbaceous perennial, this plant will usually die back to the crown each winter, and will regrow from the base each spring. Be careful not to disturb the crown in late winter when it may not be readily seen!

This plant does best in full sun to partial shade. It is very adaptable to both dry and moist locations, and should do just fine under typical garden conditions. It is considered to be drought-tolerant, and thus makes an ideal choice for a low-water garden or xeriscape application. It is not particular as to soil type, but has a definite preference for alkaline soils, and is able to handle environmental salt. It is somewhat tolerant of urban pollution. This species is native to parts of North America. It can be propagated by division.

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