Panicum virgatum (Switchgrass)

Tried and True Native Plant Selections for the Mid-Atlantic

Once the dominant species of the North American tallgrass prairie, this native* warm-season grass is noted for the open, airy appearance of its seed heads and the multi-season interest of its foliage. Many ornamental cultivars are available.

*It is native to DC. In DE, it is common in the coastal plain. In PA, it is found in scattered counties with concentrations along the Delaware River. In VA, many herbarium species are only partially mapped. Current mapping shows this species is found throughout VA except for its south central and southwestern counties.

Print Version (Legal Size): Panicum virgatum (Switchgrass)

Panicum virgatum, Switch Grass - 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 GrassLearn more about other Mid-Atlantic plants: Tried and True Plant Fact Sheets