Panicum viragatum Prairie Winds Totem Pole
Panicum viragatum Prairie Winds Totem Pole

Switch Grass

About This Grass

Panicum 'Totem Pole' forms a very upright column of steel blue foliage with powdery blue stems. In early fall, the top of the clump explodes with golden seed panicles. The narrow base of the plant makes it an ideal candidate for small spaces in the garden that need height and vertical structure. Switch grass gets its name from the peaceful swishing sound it makes when blowing in the wind. All parts of this grass are very sturdy, and will remain standing throughout the winter unless snows are heavy. This provides important cover for birds during the coldest days of winter. This grass is very useful in design; it is effective as a specimen, in masses, for screening, alongside ponds or streams, or even in large containers.

  • Height: 1.9 meters (6 ft)
  • Spread: 76 cm (30 in)
  • Cold Hardiness: Zone 4- 9
  • Sun or Shade: sun
  • Bloom Time: late summer
  • Leaf Colour: blue green
  • Bloom Colour: golden tan
  • Critter Resistance: deer
  • Nature Attraction: birds

Growing and Maintenance Tips

Panicum is a very easy native grass that is adaptable to a wide range of conditions. It prefers moist, fertile soil but will grow in any soil from sand to clay. It is drought tolerant once established. It will perform best in full sun, flopping over if it gets too much shade. It is tolerant of wind and salt making it a good choice for a more exposed site or an area that might be salted in the winter.