Panicum virgatum 'Hanse Herms'
- Red Switch Grass
aka Panicum virgatum 'Haense Herms'
P. 'Hanse Herms' is similar to P. 'Rotstrahlbusch' except
that the foliage is a bit wider and overall it is leafier.
The main feature is the beautiful pink seedheads, which
quail gobble up like candy!
- 'Rotstrahlbusch' and 'Hanse Hermes' have a more upright
form than the other two
- 'Rotstrahlbusch' and 'Hanse Hermes' are the smallest
- leaves of 'Rotstrahlbusch' are slightly narrower than
all the others
- 'Rotstrahlbusch' is the oldest cultivar and has withstood
the test of time
- leaves are tinged with red all growing season; 'Shenandoah'
has red leaf tips early in the growing season; 'Squaw'
is green until fall
- the fall color of 'Rotstrahlbusch' is red; 'Shenandoah'
and 'Squaw' are burgundy
- all three have burgundy seedheads
Description: warm season*; sod forming
Foliage is green, has a strong red colour by September;
10 mm (3/8") wide; 90-105 cm (36-42") in height
Flowers Aug-Sept; 105-120 cm (42-48") tall
Ideal conditions: full sun; prefers moist fertile
soil, but adapts to a wide range of soil conditions
Coldest zone: 4 (find your
zone; further info on plant hardiness)
Partner with: Coreopsis
tripteris, Solidago gigantea, Inula
racemosa 'Sonnenspeer', Panicum
virgatum 'Prairie Sky', Penstemmon grandiflora
Season of interest: August to winter
Drought tolerance rating: 2 (water to root depth once
every 2 weeks); further info
The species is native to: prairies and open ground,
open woods, brackish marshes from eastern Canada to central and eastern
US and south to Central America.
Recommended spacing between plants: 40-80
cm (24-32") why such a difference?
When to divide: when it shows signs of
life in the spring, continuing until the new growth is about
12" tall; only in the spring (further
info on dividing grasses)
When to plant or transplant: plant bare root plants
only in late spring to early summer, when the soil
is warm, about the same time you plant your bean or corn
seeds. The roots will grow only in warm soil. Planting too
early in the spring may cause the roots to rot. Similar
story in the fall when the roots may not grow enough to
establish before the cold and wet of winter, resulting in
the demise of the plant.
When to cut back: before the new growth
starts to appear, but after the cold weather is over. Cut
back to about 3-4" from the crown of the plant.
Pronunciation: Panicum (PAN-ih-kum) virgatum (veer-GAH-tum)
*a warm season grass likes to grow in warm weather. Before it will
show signs of life in the spring, the soil must warm up, and be warm
for possibly as long as two weeks.
More ornamental grasses
Compare Panicum virgatum 'Hanse Herms' to our other
grasses in this handy