Panicum virgatum – also known as Switchgrass – is native to the tallgrass prairies of the Great Plains. Its height, texture, and stunning fall color have made it a favorite of gardeners throughout the Rogue Valley.
Switchgrass is drought tolerant and deer resistant, but will also tolerate clay soils well. Plants prefer full sun and relatively lean soil (over-fertilized plants can get floppy). Light, airy flower heads appear in mid-summer and remain attractive through the winter months; providing four-season interest in the garden.
As with all ornamental grasses here in the Rogue Valley, we recommend leaving the grasses standing through the winter (the leaves provide habitat for beneficial insects and the seeds are beloved by overwintering birds) and cut back in late winter/early spring.
We carry three different varieties of Switchgrass here at Shooting Star Nursery:
Heavy Metal – Striking metallic blue-gray leaves with airy buff-pink flower heads. Plants reach 5-6’ tall by 2-3’ wide.
Northwind – Strong, upright growth habit; blue-green leaves turn a lovely tawny gold in the fall. Reaches 6’ by 3’. Northwind was the 2014 Perennial Plant of the Year. See photo at top of the page.
Shenandoah – During the growing season, green leaves are tipped with reddish-purple and the whole plant turns red and orange in the fall. Truly striking! 3-4’ tall by 18” wide.