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Panicum amarum (Bitter Switchgrass)

Bitter Panicgrass, Beachgrass, Coastal Panic Grass, Bitter Panicum, Bitter Switchgrass, Coastal Switchgrass, Panic Grasses, Seabeach Grass, Switchgrass

Panicum amarum, Bitter Panicgrass, Beachgrass, Coastal Panic Grass, Bitter Panicum, Bitter Switchgrass, Coastal Switchgrass, Panic Grasses, Seabeach Grass, Switchgrass

Panicum amarum (Bitter Switchgrass) is a deciduous, clump-forming, perennial grass forming an erect-stemmed and narrow clump of flat, linear, arching, blue-green leaves throughout the growing season. From late summer to fall, the foliage is topped with a profusion of finely-textured, pink flower panicles which hover over the foliage like an airy cloud. They are followed by beige seed heads that persist well into winter. Bitter Switchgrass is native to sandy dunes and shores in coastal areas from Connecticut to Florida to Texas. It slowly spreads by underground rhizomes and naturalizes easily in the landscape. It is used as a dune stabilizer but is a great addition to borders too. Easy care, drought, dry soil, salt, and air pollution tolerant, Bitter Switchgrass is a long-lived, warm-season grower. Bitter Switchgrass is a larval host plant for various Skipper butterflies and the Common Wood-Nymph (Cercyonis pegala). Adult Common Wood-Nymph butterflies feed on rotting fruit and flower nectar.

  • Grows up to 3-4 ft tall (90-120 cm) and 2-3 ft. wide (60-90 cm). Will
  • Performs best in full sun in moderately fertile, dry to moist, well-drained soils. Tolerates light shade, but will lose its upright form in too much shade and may fall over. Drought and salt tolerant.
  • Welcomed in any garden style, it is versatile and can be used in borders where it provides texture, color, and contrast. A fine choice for coastal gardens, city gardens, cottage gardens, patio containers, or prairies and meadows.
  • No serious insect or disease problems.
  • Requires little maintenance except cutting back the old foliage to the ground in late winter to early spring.
  • Propagate by seed or division in mid-spring.
  • Native to sandy dunes and shores in coastal areas from Connecticut to Florida to Texas.

Requirements

Hardiness 2 - 9
Plant Type Ornamental Grasses
Plant Family Poaceae
Genus Panicum
Common names Switchgrass
Exposure Full Sun
Season of Interest Summer (Late)
Fall
Winter
Height 3' - 4'
(90cm - 120cm)
Spread 2' - 3'
(60cm - 90cm)
Spacing 36" - 72"
(90cm - 180cm)
Maintenance Low
Water Needs Low, Average
Soil Type Chalk, Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Well-Drained
Characteristics Showy
Native Plants United States, Northeast, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Southeast, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Southwest, Texas, New Mexico
Tolerance Drought, Salt, Dry Soil
Attracts Birds
Garden Uses Beds And Borders, Patio And Containers
Garden Styles City and Courtyard, Informal and Cottage, Coastal Garden
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Alternative Plants to Consider

Panicum virgatum (Switch Grass)
Panicum virgatum ‘Shenandoah’ (Switch Grass)
Panicum virgatum ‘Hanse Herms’ (Switch Grass)
Panicum virgatum ‘Northwind’ (Switch Grass)
Panicum virgatum ‘Cloud Nine’ (Switch Grass)

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Great Ornamental Grasses for your Winter Garden
While every effort has been made to describe these plants accurately, please keep in mind that height, bloom time, and color may differ in various climates. The description of these plants has been written based on numerous outside resources.
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Requirements

Hardiness 2 - 9
Plant Type Ornamental Grasses
Plant Family Poaceae
Genus Panicum
Common names Switchgrass
Exposure Full Sun
Season of Interest Summer (Late)
Fall
Winter
Height 3' - 4'
(90cm - 120cm)
Spread 2' - 3'
(60cm - 90cm)
Spacing 36" - 72"
(90cm - 180cm)
Maintenance Low
Water Needs Low, Average
Soil Type Chalk, Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Well-Drained
Characteristics Showy
Native Plants United States, Northeast, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Southeast, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Southwest, Texas, New Mexico
Tolerance Drought, Salt, Dry Soil
Attracts Birds
Garden Uses Beds And Borders, Patio And Containers
Garden Styles City and Courtyard, Informal and Cottage, Coastal Garden
How Many Plants
Do I Need?
Explore Great Plant Combination Ideas
Panicum (Switch Grass)
Not sure which Panicum (Switch Grass) to pick?
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