Panicum virgatum 'Northwind' -
Northwind Switch Grass
The main feature of Panicum 'Northwind' is its narrowly
upright form, more upright than other Panicums. Added to
that is the slender flowers creating a more formal look
in the landscape. For a longer season of interest, plant
Northwind with the earlier blooming Calamagrostis 'Karl
Foerster'. By autumn the golden flowers of C. Karl Foerster
will echo the bright yellow foliage of P. Northwind.
The Perennial Plant Association’s 2014 Perennial
Plant of the Year™.
Description: warm season*; sod forming (slow spreader)
Foliage is upright and green; blade is 10 mm (3/8") wide; 100-125
cm (40-50") in height
Flowers from early Aug-Sept; 125-150 cm (50-60") tall
Ideal conditions: full sun; prefers moist fertile
soil, but adapts to a wide range of soil conditions
Coldest zone: 4-10 (find
your zone; further info on plant hardiness)
Salix purpurea 'Pendula', Sporobolus
heterolepis, Inula racemosa
'Sonnenspeer', Achillea 'Walter Funcke'
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: 70-100 cm (28-40")
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 'Northwind' to
our other grasses in this handy