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Panicum virgatum

Rusty-red winter color and fine seed heads that attractively collect frost in winter

Note: This item is sold by the PLS pound.




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Panicum virgatum, commonly called switchgrass, is a Missouri native perennial warm season grass with an important historical role in the tallgrass prairie.  It grows well in both wet and dry soil and is widely distributed in North America. Currently, two ecotypes are widely recognized – lowland and upland. Upland types usually grow four to five feet tall and are adapted to relatively shallow soils. Conversely, lowland types, which grow up to 12 feet tall, are typically found on deeper soils. We currently offer the following varieties/cultivars:

RC Big Rock, Alamo, Blackwell, Cave-in-Rock, Kanlow, Iowa native, and Missouri native.


Forage notes

Switchgrass provides excellent forage and hay for livestock and is an important species for native warm-season grass plantings. Consequently, it is often used in mixes with Little Bluestem, Big Bluestem, Indiangrass, and Sideoats Grama.


Landscaping notes

Switchgrass makes a wonderful ornamental grass. Like most warm season grasses, it prefers full sun. However, it also does well in a rain garden. Switchgrass showcases a lovely rusty red winter color and fine seed heads that attractively collect frost in the winter. The seedheads can also be used in flower arrangements, either cut or dried.


Wildlife notes

Birds feed on the seed while the foliage provides wildlife cover. It is a host plant for grass skippers. Those interested in hunting will find that it makes a wonderful screen alternative compared to introduced species like Miscanthus.


Restoration notes

Switchgrass is a characteristic species of the tallgrass prairie and dolomite glade natural communities, but it occurs in numerous other habitats. It is used to prevent soil erosion and can be employed in projects where plants are needed to remove toxins from the soil.

*Interesting Fact: Switchgrass is being tested as a possible source of plant material for production of ethanol for fuel.


Switchgrass is often used in the following mixes: Native Warm Season Grass Hay Mix, NWSG Grazing Mix, and Hide & Sneak

Videos About This Plant

To learn more about this plant, check out our videos about it and its uses.

Switchgrass could have prevented this

Additional information

Weight N/A

Full Sun

Seeding Rate

6 PLS lbs/acre


Dry, Average, Moist



Bloom Month

Jul, Aug



Specialty Uses

Landscaping, Edible

Cattle Palatability


# seeds/pkt


Packet coverage area

5 sq. ft

What is PLS?

Pure Live Seed (PLS) is the portion of good viable seed per pound. It is a measure of the seed that is alive and able to sprout into plants. This product is sold by PLS ounce/pound. To provide one ounce/pound of viable seed, you will receive more than one ounce/pound of product. Read more about PLS here.