Perry's Perennial Pages

Panicum virgatum 'Prairie Sky'

    Perennial of the Month-- December 2001

(pan-i-cum')

Common name: Prairie Sky Switch Grass

Family: Poaceae, Grass

Height x width: 4-5' x 2'

Growth rate: moderate, faster than some species in the genus

Foliage: 2-3' long and ½" wide, flat, glaucous blue, in fact one of bluest in this genus

Flowers: fine textured panicle to 2' long in mid to late summer, bluish flowers fading tan

Hardiness: zones 4-9

Soil: well-drained, moist preferred but tolerates dry

Light: sun, more open and falls over in part shade

Pests and Problems: none serious

Landscape habit, uses: borders, low screen, tolerates wind and salt spray, wildlife cover grass, native areas; best in groups of at least 3; combines well with lower bluish grasses such as Blue Sedge, or with flowers such as bee balms, rudbeckia, New York asters, flowering kale or cabbage

Other interest: related to grain crop millet (miliaceum); native to North America; from Latin name for millet; relatively new cultivar and popular

Other culture: low maintenance

Propagation: spring division

Sources: Kurt Bluemel, Ambergate, Niche Gardens, Greer Gardens, and many other complete garden centers and perennial nurseries



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