Cheyenne Sky

By Susan Littlefield

Fall is on its way. This is the time of the year when ornamental grasses really strut their stuff in the garden, their leaves backlit by low autumn sunlight, their panicles waving against a clear blue fall sky. But many of these grasses, while lovely, take up lots of room. A great choice for space-challenged gardeners is the relatively diminutive 'Cheyenne Sky' red switch grass (Panicum virgatum) from Proven Winners.

Growing only 30-36 inches tall and 18 inches wide, this North American native is also a great choice for container growing. Adapted to zones 4-9, it forms a dense, upright clump of blue green leaves. In early summer, the leaves begin to turn a lovely wine red, followed by purple flower panicles held above the foliage in late summer that persist through fall and winter and provide food for birds. 'Cheyenne Sky' makes an effective contrast to fall bloomers such as asters, sedums, chrysanthemums, and heleniums. Easily grown and tolerant of many types of soil, switch grass does best in full sun. Cut back plants in early spring before new growth emerges.

For more about 'Cheyenne Sky' red switch grass, go to Proven Winners.

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