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Panicum virgatum

Switch Grass
Poaceae (Gramineae)
Ornamental grasses and grasslike plants

Native to much of the U.S. except the Far West. Upright, 2 to 4-ft.-wide clump of narrow deep green or gray-green leaves. Bloom begins in midsummer, when slender flower clusters rise above the foliage, increasing height of clump to 4 to 7 ft.; clusters open into loose, airy clouds of pinkish blossoms that fade to white, then brown. Foliage turns yellow in fall, gradually fades to beige. Both foliage and flowers persist all winter, providing interest in cold-weather gardens. Tolerates coastal winds.

Panicum virgatum 'Cloud Nine', photo courtesy of Saxon Holt/PhotoBotanic
Panicum virgatum 'Cloud Nine', photo courtesy of Saxon Holt/PhotoBotanic

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'Cloud Nine'

Metallic blue foliage that turns gold in autumn; billowing clouds of reddish brown flowers bring height to 6 ft. tall.

Panicum virgatum
Panicum virgatum

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'Heavy Metal'

Has silvery blue, sturdy leaves that turn bright yellow in fall.

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