Native Ornamental Grass That Exudes Red Color in Spring & Summer
Shenandoah Red Switch Grass is an ornamental native to the North American prairies and thrives in nearly any landscape. It’s great for privacy, adding a splash of red color through all seasons, and offers unique textures to liven up your yard space. Best of all, the flowers of this deciduous perennial are beautifully back-lit at sunrise and sunset, casting a warm summer glow over your garden.
This gorgeous plant offers habitation and shelter for a variety of native animals and is an ideal solution for areas that need to be naturalized. It is especially beloved by birds.
In early spring, this Switch Grass Shenandoah starts out with an attractive blueish green color. Then by late spring, red tipped leaves begin to emerge and tend to deepen through summer. By fall, they are a luxurious burgundy-wine color. These grassy blades look like they were dipped in a luxurious and dark fuchsia ink.
Erect stalks endure through the winter months as leaves and seeds take on handsome copperish tones. Seeds also provide food for birds and native wildlife far into the winter. As a result, this plant offers multi-season appeal.
These bright, red-tipped leaves can also be used in flower arrangements, seasonal wreaths, and incorporated into basketry.
Pinkish-purple flowers appear by mid-summer and last through September. In appearance, the flowers look like wispy clouds suspended above the attractive foliage beneath. These delicate and airy flowers draw birds, caterpillars, moths, and butterflies of all kinds.
This herbaceous Shenandoah Switch Grass perennial provides a decorative border along walkways and can be used as specimen pieces in garden beds, and as part of a potted patio garden. Panicum Shenandoah grass can also be used in meadows, marshy water gardens, wildlife gardens, and along woodland borders. It can also be used to prevent erosion as a ground cover.
Shenandoah Switch Grass Care
This hardy plant resists deer, rabbits, and insect pests. It is generally low-maintenance and resists disease. Shenandoah grows in USDA hardiness zones 4-9. It has extreme cold hardiness and is tolerant to the heat.
This grass prefers both full sun and partial sun. It needs at least 5 hours of direct sunlight daily and can endure partial afternoon shade also.
It does need occasional watering, especially when first establishing. Though this grass is drought tolerant, water regularly during extreme hot spells.
Shenandoah switch grass is adaptable and can withstand variable soil. However, it prefers rich and moist soil, if available. This grass is suitable for ditches and sloped lots as it helps with erosion control. It also grows well in sand dunes and along salty coastal areas. Naturally, it thrives in prairies and is excellent for naturalized areas.
Fertilize with all-purpose plant food in spring.
Shenandoah Switch Grass Size
The long grassy leaves grow fast and form in upright clumps. Shenandoah grass reaches a mature height of 4 to 5 feet tall, with a 2 to 3-foot spread. These grassy shrubs can be planted 2 feet apart to form a continuous border or low privacy hedge.
Shenandoah Switch Grass Pruning
Pruning should be performed in late winter to early spring before new growth emerges. This will enable local wildlife to continue enjoying the plant through the harshest winter months when food and shelter can be scarce.
Propagation can be accomplished by plant division.
Shenandoah Switch Grass Companion Plants
Not sure what to plant next to or around your Shenandoah switch grass? Consider these plants.
- Blanket Flower (Gaillardia)
- Salvia (Salvia)
- Shasta Daisy (Chrysanthemum)
- Sedum (Sedum)
- Tickseed (Coreopsis)
Shenandoah is one of our most versatile plants. It can be grown in nearly any environment and is an outstanding solution for problematic areas. As such, this fast-growing grass is ideal for quickly transforming a drab landscape. It also makes a delightful companion plant to other ornamentals in your garden. Get yours today!
To learn more about how to care for your Shenandoah grass visit our blog When to Cut Back Ornamental Grasses.
Shop our Shenandoah Switch Grass for sale.
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Sunlight Full Sun / Partial Shade
Mature Width 3-4 ft
Mature Height 4-5 ft
Growing Zones 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9