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The Wentworth Blog

Plant of the Month: Shenandoah Switch Grass

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Shenandoah Switch Grass

Panicum virgatum

This is the brightest red switch grass, by a long shot. In the spring, the grasses emerge from the ground a shade of green and begin to turn red by June. By fall the red colour is in full force and is a show stopper with a bright red pop in the garden along with its beautiful open matching red flower atop the blades of grass.

The grass reaches a height of 2-3’ making it a great grass for smaller gardens. Shenandoah Switch Grass is less invasive than some other ornamental grasses can be. Full or partial sun will bring out the best colouring in the foliage. It’s also deer and salt resistant and can take both dry and moist soil conditions.

Grasses are always a great choice for a low maintenance garden as they only need to be cut back once per season. We recommend leaving them standing tall for the winter and cut them back in the spring to allow for winter interest in the garden. But it can also be cut back in the fall to prevent breakage of dried foliage and a small mess to clean up in the spring. Regardless of when it’s cut back, it does not affect the health of the plant.

All in all, the Shenandoah Switch Grass is a must have in the garden for late-season colour and winter interest with little maintenance.