One of the tallest switch grass, Panicum virgatum 'Cloud Nine' forms an erect-stemmed and narrow clump of glaucous blue foliage in spring, which gets topped in mid to late summer by a profusion of finely-textured, airy golden flower panicles which hover over the foliage like an airy cloud. They persist well into fall before eventually turning beige while the foliage warms up to a lovely dark golden shade in the fall.
Like many North American prairie grasses, switch grass is a long-lived, warm-season grower. Quite sturdy, even when dry or dormant, it stands through winter (unless your area enjoys heavy snow falls), providing essential cover for birds.
- Typically grows in narrow clumps, up to 5-7 ft tall (150-210 cm).
- Welcomed in any garden style, it is versatile and can be used in groups or en masse. It is ideal in borders where it provides texture, color and contrast. Excellent choice for prairies, wild gardens, along ponds and stream or in naturalized areas.
- Performs best in full sun in average, medium to wet, well-drained soils. Tolerates part shade, but will lose its upright form in too much shade and may fall over. Tolerates a wide range of soils, including dry soils, but prefers moist, sandy or clay soils. Drought and wet soil tolerant!
- No serious insect or disease problems. Deer resistant.
- Requires little maintenance except cutting back the old foliage to the ground in late winter to early spring. Self sowing is generally minimal, but can be prolific on open moist soil.