Panicum virgatum (Switchgrass) - Quart Super Plugs

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One of the toughest native grasses, Switch Grass grows excellently on average to poor soils.  Its roots penetrate deeply into the soil, accessing moisture deep in the ground and stabilizing soil, while its seasonal root cycle adds organic matter deep in the soil.

Switch grass ranges from Nova Scotia and Maine west to Idaho, south to Arizona and Florida - One of the largest ranges of any native grass!  Common both in the forest region of Eastern North America and the Prairies of the Midwest, there is a lot of regional variation in this species.  This has given rise to a lot of notable cultivars - We currently offer the following:

  • Northwind - Green, very tall and upright
  • Shenandoah - Reddish/Burgundy Tips, compact and upright

Growing 3 to 5 feet tall depending on soil conditions, Switch Grass is an excellent grass to use as an underpinning in prairie plantings.  Switch grass puts out airy seedheads in the late summer to early fall, and turns a pleasant auburn color after a frost or two.  Switch grass is a very sturdy grass even when dormant, and sweeps of it make an excellent drift barrier when snow flies.


Switch grass makes an excellent informal screen or backdrop for shorter prairie plants in a mixed garden.  Switch grass is an excellent soil stabilizer for flood-prone soils, and the tremendous root system of an established clump can soak up inches of rain, preventing runoff and erosion.  Switch grass is used by many different animals - Deer and rabbits like to forage on the foliage, while the seeds are favored by birds and small animals.  Switch grass is an excellent garden plant with its airy seedheads, fall and winter color, and its sheer size.

Cultivation/ Growing Information

Switch grass is very adaptable and easy to grow - Plant the plugs, give them a little water, and they'll grow rapidly to full size clumps.

Switch grass grows well in just about any type of soil, although (as usual!) growth will be best on neutral, moist loam soils.  Poorer soils will cause the grass to grow less tall, but switchgrass really shines on moist to wet floodplain soils.  Space the plugs 2 feet apart in prepared soil and water thoroughly.

We have Switchgrass available in both SuperPlugs and RootMaker Plugs - these containers offer much quicker establishment due to root pruning than standard plugs.  You can expect the plants to be thoroughly established after 2 weeks if moisture isn't lacking!  Rootmaker plugs are perfect for less accessible areas because of this feature.

Common Name: Switchgrass
Botanical Name: Panicum virgatum
USDA Hardiness Zones: 2-9
Height: 3-8 Feet (Depending on Variety)
Spread: 2-6 Feet (Depending on Variety)
Spacing: 24-36 Inches
Flower Color: Green (Grass)
Bloom Time: Late August - Early September
Texture: Fine
Habit: Upright Spreading Clump
Light Exposure: Full Sun to Part Shade; Glades, Riverbanks, Prairies & Meadows
Soil Moisture: Moist to Average
Soil Texture: Clay to Sandy Loam
Soil PH: Acidic to Neutral
Landscape Uses: Clump Grass, Accent Plant, Mass Planting, Riparian Buffer
Benefits: Fall Color, Summer Form, Drought Resistant, Rabbit Resistant
Ecological Function: Larval Food Source, Seed, Forage, Shelter