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Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum)

(Panicum virgatum)


  • 3 to 7 feet (often on the shorter end)


  • July to October


  • Native
  • Perennial


  • Full sun to part sun

Soil moisture:

  • Moist to wet

Provides food for:

  • Caterpillars (foliage)
  • Songbirds (seeds, caterpillars and other insects)


  • Spreads by rhizomes to form a loose mat like the turf grass in your yard.
  • Can be aggressive because of the way it spreads.
  • Good choice for sunny, wet areas that are prone to erosion.
  • The foliage is bright green in the summer and turns yellow in fall then fades to tan in winter.
  • Switchgrass is a warm season grass which means that most of its growth occurs during summer and early fall.
  • Provides important nesting cover and habitat for a wide range of birds during the summer.
  • The vegetation remains standing throughout the winter which provides shelter to songbirds and other small wildlife.

Native Range:

USDA range map for Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum)
Map credit: USDA Plants Database