• USDA Zones 5 to 9 (Find Your Zone)
  • 3 – 6 Feet Tall, 2 – 3 Feet Width
  • Full Sun to Partial Shade
  • Great for late summer and fall interest
  • Tolerate wide range of soils, but prefers medium to wet
  • Drought tolerant
  • Wildlife cover and forage for songbirds


Switchgrass, Panicum virgatum, often dismissed as a roadside weed in the Southeast, is a highly-beneficial native warm-season grass. In late summer, purple cloud-like seed heads emerge with tiny attractive flowers, turning golden in the fall. Songbirds and other wildlife thrive on the seedheads, and the Tawny-edge Skipper and the Delaware Skipper butterflies specifically use this species as a host plant. Tolerating full sun and partial shade, Switchgrass accommodates nearly all soil conditions and is a common component of restoration seed mixes. Reaching 6′ in height, this bunch grass was once a dominant grass of the former vast tallgrass North American prairie. In addition to being a prolific self-seeder, Switchgrass is clump-forming and rhizomatous so it should be used in landscapes where it is allowed to spread.
Photo: Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

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