2014 perennial of the year: Panicum virgatum ‘Northwind’ or switchgrass

Photo courtesy of Heritage Perennials

This year’s winner is Panicum virgatum ‘Northwind’ or switchgrass – a great addition to a sunny garden, where you can enjoy the wispy addition of a grass – part shade is okay, too. Its genus (panicum) is native to North America – switchgrasses are warm season meaning they come into full beauty as the warmth and heat arrive. ‘Northwind’ has graceful blue-green stems, fairly erect (approx. 5’, or 150 cm), that are golden in the fall, changing to beige. The plumes (up to 6-7’, or 2 m) are used often in dried flower arrangements. The plant is not fussy about soil type and needs little attention. Once established, it is disease- and pest-resistant and drought tolerant. It is rarely attractive to deer. Hardy to zone 4.

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