Panicum virgatum 'Prairie Fire' PP19367
  Common Name: Grass-Ornamental
Common Name (Alternative): Switch Grass
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Photo Courtesy of Walters Gardens, Inc.

A spectacular switch grass with sturdy, upright, blue-green stems and wine-red leaves. In the spring, the foliage is blue-green, but by early summer the leaves begin to turn a stunning shade of deep red. Most red switch grasses do not begin to turn color until late summer, so this grass is quite remarkable in that it changes color so early in the season.

In late summer, a bouquet of rosy panicles is displayed just above the foliage. When in bloom, the leaves curl slightly, which gives the impression of red ribbons woven throughout the flowers.

This selection was hybridized by Gary Trucks of Amber Wave Gardens in Michigan.

Switch grass gets its name from the peaceful swishing sound it makes when blowing in the wind. All parts of this grass are very sturdy, and will remain standing thru winter unless snows are heavy. This provides important cover for birds during the coldest days of winter. This grass is very versitile from a design standpoint; it is effective as a specimen, in masses, for screening, alongside ponds or streams, or even in large containers.

Breeder: Gary Trucks

Origin: Native Cultivar

Characteristics:



Height:
  4-5 Feet
Spread:
  18-24 Inches
Flower Color:
  Red shades
Foliage Color:
  Red shades
Hardiness Zone:
4,5,6,7,8,9
Find Your Zone
Sun or Shade?:
  Full sun (> 6 hrs. direct sun)
Wet or dry?:
  Low water needs
  Average water needs
  Consistent water needs
Need critter resistant plants?:
  Deer resistant
How fast should it grow?:
  Medium
When should it bloom?:
  Late summer
How's your soil?:
  Average Soil
  Fertile Soil
Sweet or Sour Soil?:
  Acidic Soil (pH < 7.0)
  Neutral Soil (pH = 7.0)
What's your garden style?:
  Container/Patio
  Prairie
  Rain Garden
  Eclectic

  Click here to view the Grower Cultural Sheet

Size(s) Offered:

  Plugs: 20ct
  Plugs: 72ct

Attributes:

Border plants
Container
Cut flower or foliage
Drought Tolerant
Mass Planting
Salt Tolerant
Specimen or focal point
Easy to grow

Homeowner Growing & Maintenance Tips:

Panicum is native grass that is very easy to grow and is a good grass for beginners. It will grow in any soil, from sand to clay, is drought tolerant once established, and even withstands periodic flooding. Grow this grass in full sun. It will tolerate light shade, but will flop over if the shade is too heavy.

Panicum is wind and salt tolerant, making it a good choice for seaside gardens or along roads that are salted in winter.


Companions:

Common/Botanical Name
Zones  
Asclepias tuberosa
Common Name: Butterfly Weed
3,4,5,6,7,8,9
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Echinacea SUNDOWN™ ('Evan Saul' PP17659)
Common Name: Coneflower
4,5,6,7,8
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Nepeta faassenii 'Walker's Low'
Common Name: Catmint
3,4,5,6,7,8
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Sedum spectabile 'Brilliant'
Common Name: Stonecrop-Showy
3,4,5,6,7,8,9
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Rudbeckia fulgida 'Goldsturm'
Common Name: Black-Eyed Susan
4,5,6,7,8,9,10
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While every effort has been made to describe this plant accurately, please keep in mind that the height, bloom time, and color may differ in various climates throughout the country. The description of this plant was written based on our experience growing it in Michigan (USDA hardiness zone 5) and on numerous outside resources.