Panicum virgatum 'Hanse Herms' is a deciduous, perennial grass of choice. It forms an erect, compact and narrow clump of gracefully arching, steely blue foliage with red-tinged tips that become more conspicuous as the season progresses. Dark red by late summer, the foliage turns vibrant burgundy-red by fall and usually remains attractive in the garden all winter long. It gets topped in summer by a profusion of finely-textured, pink flower spikelets which hover over the foliage like an airy cloud. Both flowers and foliage turn beige in fall and persist well into winter.
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 3-4 ft tall (90-120 cm) and 24-32 in. wide (60-80 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.
- Propagate by division in spring