Panicum virgatum 'Prairie Sky'
- Switch Grass
This can easily become a favourite Panicum, but it requires
a second season for its true form to show. A plug will grow
in a splayed manner at first, but but grow upright towards
the end of the season. By the second year it is much more
erect. Grow in full sun and lean soil for maximum longevity.
Description: warm season*; sod forming
Foliage is blue; of wide blade width; 100-150 cm (40-70")
Flowers bloom Aug through Sept; 125-175 cm (50-70") in height
Ideal conditions: full sun; moist to dry soil but
can be floppy when grown too wet
Coldest zone: 3 (find your zone; further
info on plant hardiness)
Partner with: Sporobolus
racemosa 'Sonnenspeer', Valeriana
officinalis, Echinacea, any red shrub rose, Cotinus
(smoke bush), Liatris
Suggested uses: specimen, drifts, naturalizing, wildlife,
strong blue accent
Season of interest: August to winter
Drought tolerance rating: 2 (water to root depth once
every 2 weeks); further info
Recommended spacing between plants: 50-100 cm (20-40")
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 'Prairie Sky' to our other
grasses in this handy