General Plant Information (Edit)
Plant Habit: Grass/Grass-like
Life cycle: Perennial
Sun Requirements: Full Sun
Full Sun to Partial Shade
Water Preferences: Wet Mesic
Soil pH Preferences: Slightly acid (6.1 – 6.5)
Neutral (6.6 – 7.3)
Minimum cold hardiness: Zone 4a -34.4 °C (-30 °F) to -31.7 °C (-25 °F)
Plant Height: 2 to 3 feet, to 4 feet when in bloom
Plant Spread: 3 to 4 feet
Leaves: Good fall color
Unusual foliage color
Other: Foliage emerges bluish green, rapidly turning burgundy-red by late June
Fruit: Showy
Edible to birds
Fruiting Time: Late fall or early winter
Other: Seed plumes often persist throughout winter
Flowers: Inconspicuous
Flower Color: Pink
Bloom Size: Under 1"
Flower Time: Summer
Late summer or early fall
Underground structures: Rhizome
Suitable Locations: Xeriscapic
Bog gardening
Uses: Windbreak or Hedge
Provides winter interest
Erosion control
Dried Flower
Will Naturalize
Wildlife Attractant: Birds
Resistances: Deer Resistant
Drought tolerant
Salt tolerant
Propagation: Other methods: Division
Containers: Suitable in 3 gallon or larger

Common names
  • Switch Grass
  • Wand Panic Grass
  • Switchgrass

Photo Gallery

Date: 2011-11-02
Location: Iowa
Location: Iowa
Date: 2017-08-26
Location: Iowa
Location: Iowa
Date: 2016-09-07
Location: Manitoba, Canada
Date: 2016-08-19
Location: National Botanical Garden, DC, Virginia :) | May, 2022
Date: 2022-05-28
Location: the Lurie Garden in Chicago, Illinois
Date: mid-August 2010
a large mass
Location: Royal Botanical Gardens, Burlington, ON, Canada
Date: 2014-06-05
Location: Farmer John's Greenhouse, Farmington Hills, MI
Date: 2010-08-07
Location: Farmer John's Greenhouse, Farmington Hills, MI
Date: 2011-07-23
Location: the Lurie Garden in Chicago, Illinois
Date: 2010-08-16
three clumps together
Location: Wayne, Pennsylvania
Date: 2010-07-31
full-grown clump

Date: 2016-08-21
Photo courtesy of Santa Rosa Gardens. Used with permission.

Photo courtesy of Joy Creek Nursery
  • Uploaded by Joy
Location: Wayne, Pennsylvania
Date: 2018-07-20
one specimen in planting bed
Location: Wayne, Pennsylvania
Date: 2018-07-20
summer foliage
Location: Farmer John's Greenhouse, Farmington Hills, MI
Date: 2010-08-07
Location: Farmer John's Greenhouse, Farmington Hills, MI
Date: 2010-08-07
Location: Farmer John's Greenhouse, Farmington Hills, MI
Date: 2010-08-07
Location: Farmer John's Greenhouse, Farmington Hills, MI
Date: 2011-07-23
Location: Maryland
Date: 2015-07-10
The bloom is a lovely pink color
Location: My Northeastern Indiana Gardens - Zone 5b
Date: 2013-10-04
Location: Maryland
Date: 2015-07-26
The delicate pink blossoms on this grass are long-lasting

Photo Courtesy of Garden Perennials. Used with Permission.
  • Uploaded by Joy
Location: Downingtown, Pennsylvania
Date: 2012-08-02
real good red color in Aug 2012
Location: rest station on #476 in Poconos of Pennsylvania
Date: 2016-09-14
several clumps
Location: Wayne, Pennsylvania
Date: 2010-07-12
foliage and tiny grass flowers
Location: Wayne, Pennsylvania
Date: 2014-09-07
a line of the grass at a bank landscape
Location: Downingtown, Pennsylvania
Date: 2009-12-28
clump in winter
Location: Maryland
Date: 2014-07-13
This plant is tagged in:
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  • Posted by ILPARW (southeast Pennsylvania - Zone 6b) on Feb 8, 2018 9:20 PM concerning plant:
    'Shenandoah' is oftentimes the most common cultivar of Common Switchgrass. The tips or ends of the bluish blades are red. The blades at times can turn red most of their length during cooler weather as one of my plants did in 2012. The grass flowers have a burgundy color. It is very similar to the cultivar of 'Rotstrahlbusch' that is a German name that should mean red twig bush. 'Shenandoah' is supposed to be a little taller, cascades some, has slightly wider blades, gets its red color a little later in the growing season, and turns more burgundy in the autumn than the older cultivar of 'Rotstrahlbusch' (also known as 'Red Ray) that is supposed to be smaller, more upright, with narrower blades, and turning more true red in autumn. Another very similar cultivar is 'Haense Herms' that tends to cascade more (less upright) and the flowers are more silver-pink though I have not seen this last cultivar. A large number of conventional nurseries and garden centers sell 'Shenandoah'. The two cultivars are probably often mixed up in the nursery trade. Like the mother species, it has a soft, fine texture and stays upright well. It is a clump grass that slowly spreads wider. It is easy to transplant and to divide. It is best to divide it in the spring (May) when the foliage is about 12 inches high. It looks good all winter long, turning a straw color. Cut down in early spring. It is a warm season grass and does not grow until May. I like to set fire to the low cut crown a few inches high after I cut the tall perennial grass down in early spring; it likes the burn like other native prairie grasses. I remember the older plants getting to become about 5 feet high.
  • Posted by Catmint20906 (PNW WA half hour south of Olympia - Zone 8a) on Aug 24, 2014 5:36 PM concerning plant:
    Switch Grass (Panicum virgatum) 'Shenandoah' is an attractive, pink-tipped ornamental grass that is native to North America. It is a larval host plant for the Delaware Skipper and Leonard's Skipper Butterflies. Ground-feeding songbirds and game birds enjoy its seeds. In addition, its dense growth provides birds with cover and nesting material. Switch Grass is also useful for controlling erosion. Its ecological benefits and ornamental value make it an excellent choice for gardeners interested in creating beauty while preserving wildlife habitat through the use of native plants.
  • Posted by Bonehead (Planet Earth - Zone 8b) on Apr 24, 2014 9:13 AM concerning plant:
    Emerges green with red tips, turns burgundy in the fall. Fast growing. Provides winter interest and bird cover. Cut to ground in late winter
Plant Events from our members
Catmint20906 On July 1, 2015 Bloomed
jhugart On June 5, 2020 Obtained plant
Purchased from Mother Earth Gardens in northeast Minneapolis.
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