Our Panicums are warm season prairie grasses native to North America. Resistant to heat, drought and extreme cold, Switch Grass hosts a cloud of inflorescences—a mystifying hologram of tiny red seeds that mature to black in late summer. If grown in drifts and not cut back until early spring, Panicums promise a lively winter show. After several frosty nights, they stiffen and adopt the warm glowing color and soft rustling sound of wheat.
Claiming the coveted 2014 Plant of the Year award, ‘Northwind’s roots can be traced back to the railroad tracks near South Elgin, IL, where Roy Diblik collected some native Panicum seeds. Selected from those initial seedlings for its unique unwavering stature, this dashing straight-backed cultivar unleashes a narrow sky-bound clump of broad olive-colored blades with bluish green undersides. The gossamer textured inflorescences hover just above the leaves and are characterized by tiny yellow flowers plus purple seed heads. Unsung among ornamental grasses and the most markedly vertical of the Switch grasses, it lends intriguing winter architecture and possesses a tenacious bent that triumphs over drought, heavy downpours, varied soil conditions, pesky deer and foliar rust.
Size: 4' 0" – 6' 0" high x 2' 0" – 2-1/2' wide.
Hardy to zone 5.
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Other selections in this genus:
- Panicum amarum ‘Dewey Blue’
- Panicum virgatum ‘Cape Breeze’
- Panicum virgatum ‘Cloud Nine’
- Panicum virgatum ‘Heavy Metal’
- Panicum virgatum ‘Heiliger Hain’
- Panicum virgatum ‘Prairie Sky’
- Panicum virgatum ‘Purple Tears’
- Panicum virgatum ‘Rehbraun’
- Panicum virgatum ‘Rotstrahlbusch’
- Panicum virgatum ‘Ruby Ribbons’
- Panicum virgatum ‘Shenandoah’
- Panicum virgatum ‘Thundercloud’
- Panicum virgatum ‘Trailblazer’
- Panicum virgatum ‘Warrior’