Panicum virgatum, Switch Grass

Tried and True Native Plant Selections for the Mid-Atlantic

Once the dominant species of the North American tallgrass prairie, this warm-season grass is noted for the open, airy appearance of its seed heads and the multi-season interest of its foliage.  In addition to its use as an ornamental, Switch Grass is also utilized for soil conservation and as a biomass crop.

Print Version: Panicum virgatum, Switch Grass

Panicum virgatum, Switch Grass

Learn more about other Mid-Atlantic plants: Tried and True Plant Fact Sheets

Tags: Clumping, warm season, perennial grass, Stiff, columnar form, Green leaves turn yellow in fall and tan in winter, Pink-tinged branched flowers above foliage from July to February; Can form colonies through rhizome spread and self-seeding; Winter interest; Winter food source for birds and host plant to skipper species; Controls erosion through extensive fibrous root system reaching 10 feet in depth; Tolerates drought, pollution, and Black Walnut, Height:3-6 feet; Spread:2-3 feet; Bloom color:Pink-tinged; Soil requirements: Average; Light requirements: Sun to part-shade; Water requirements: Dry to moist; Grows best in full sun; Cut back to ground in late winter or early spring; Can be grown from seed; Accent plant, screen, or mass planting in borders, meadows, rain or waterwise gardens; Hardiness: USDA Zones 5-9; Excellent Replacement for Miscanthus sinensis – Chinese Silver Grass