red switch grass ‘Shenandoah’

Panicum virgatumShenandoah‘ or red switch grass ‘Shenandoah’. This member of the Poaceae is native to North America from Canada to Mexico, and has been heavily used as a forage crop, biofuel plant, and extensively selected as ornamental garden plants. P.Shenandoah‘ is a cultivar selected for its stable and reliable burgundy-red leaves from spring to fall, as well as its strong upright growth habit.

In general, switch grasses are low maintenance ornamental grasses requiring medium water and full-sun. When grown in partial shade, P. virgatumShenandoah‘ will loose its upright growth character. Plants will tolerate dry soils and drought conditions, as well as poor soils once they are well-established in the garden. Like other ornamental grasses, the tan and beige winter remnants of P. virgatumShenandoah‘ should be cut back in the early spring before new leaf growth initiates.

Flowers of ‘Shenandoah‘ are tiny and finely-textured borne on tall inflorescences above the foliage. While individually the flowers appear inconsequential, when plants are massed and in-bloom the grouping of inflorescences appear as an airy red-tinted cloud floating above the plants.’Shenandoah‘ makes a terrific companion plant for other Midwestern prairie-like garden plants. It is an introduction from German breeder Dr. Hans Simon.

Botanical Name Panicum virgatum ‘Shenandoah’
Common Name red switch grass ‘Shenandoah’
Family Poaceae
USDA Zone 5 thru 9
Light Requirement Full Sun to Part Shade
Season(s) of interest summer, fall, winter
Height and Spread 4-5ft x 1-2ft (120-150cm x 30-60cm)
Flower Color Pink
Attracts Wildlife Provides Food for Birds, Hosts Caterpillars of Butterflies/Moths,
Additional Information Cultivated Form of a Native Plant.
Location in Lurie Garden Southwest Light Plate, Northwest Light Plate, Northeast Light Plate, West Meadow

Average Flowering Time