Panicum Virgatum Northwind (Switch Grass) is an RHS AGM-winning deciduous ornamental grass. This perennial has strappy green leaves that turn orange in autumn and sprays of airy pink and green flowers in the summer. It’s a beautiful choice for cottage-style borders, prairie planting, and low-maintenance wildlife-friendly spaces.
Panicum Virgatum is the North American switchgrass that grows on prairies. Historically it was used for thatching but these days has given rise to a large number of ornamental cultivars prized across the globe for their differing heights, colours and shapes. Northwind Switch Grass cultivar is a tall decorative grass with vertical stems emerging from a clump. The foliage is flat, linear and blue-green but in autumn it matures to various shades of yellow and orange providing attractive autumn colour. In summer, tall airy sprays of pink and green flowers bloom on upright stems persisting well into the autumn.
If you love ornamental grass but need one with excellent vertical form, Northwind is a good choice. Its foliage and flowers remain upright even in strong winds.
Height And Spread Of Panicum Virgatum Northwind Northwind Switch Grass is a mid-sized ornamental grass that reaches approximately 1.5 metres tall and spreads a metre in 2-5 years.
How Hardy is Panicum Virgatum Northwind If the root ball is well-drained, Northwind Switch Grass is hardy in the UK and able to tolerate below zero temperatures. It copes well with drought and rarely attracts pests.
How To Use Panicum Virgatum Northwind Ornamental grasses suit a wide variety of planting schemes. Northwind is mid-height so it fits well at the back of a cottage garden’s sunny mixed border. It’s an obvious choice for prairie planting and fits into an architectural modern townhouse garden where it doesn’t outgrow its welcome. Northwind also suits coastal gardens, low-maintenance spaces, and areas that encourage wildlife. Mammals enjoy the cover of its foliage clump and birds take the flower heads for their nests. You can grow this ornamental grass in a large well-watered and fed container on a balcony, deck, or patio but put it on feet for good drainage and weigh the container down so strong winds don’t topple it.
How To Care For Panicum Virgatum Northwind Easy-to-grow Northwind Switch Grass requires very little maintenance in return for its whispering foliage and pretty flowers. It tolerates the majority of soils, including poorer chalk and sandy conditions, and copes with an exposed breeze. Cut away the previous year’s dead foliage in spring to encourage new growth and promote air circulation. Mulch it well at the same time to trap moisture and add nutrients.
Until it is established, decorative grasses needs plenty of water to put down roots.