Panicum virgatum ‘Rotstrahlbusch’
Panicum virgatum 'Rotstrahlbusch' is one of the best red-foliaged grasses for the landscape. It has a more compact habit and upright form than other switch grass selections, only growing to about 3 feet tall. The red tones on the leaf blades hold from early summer through fall, climaxing to rich crimson in autumn. This perennial, deciduous grass creates a fine-textured clump and is topped with a haze of beautiful burgundy seed heads in late summer. It is a well-behaved grass and will not seed around in the garden, making it an excellent substitute for the more aggressive spreading Japanese blood grass (Imperata cylindrica 'Rubra'). Mix with warm colors like orange and red, or go for a contrast with brilliant purples. It makes a good specimen but also creates a bold statement in a drift. It is a great companion for fall-blooming asters and sedums. The German cultivar name translates loosely as "red-ray-bush."
Colors & Combos
Great Color Contrasts: dark green, blue, cream
Great Color Partners: red, purple, bronze, gold
Culture NotesSwitch grass loves full sun and can tolerate hot spots. Plant it in well-drained or sandy soil and provide occasional watering during dry weather. Keep fertilizing to a minimum to prevent flopping in late summer. Once the fall color fades switch grass can be cut to the ground. It is slow to emerge in the spring, but grows robustly once the weather warms.
© Richie Steffen / Great Plant Picks
Plant Type: grass
Foliage Type: deciduous
Plant Height: 3 ft. 0 in. (0.91 m.)
Plant Width/Spread: 2 ft. 0 in. (0.61 m.)
Hardiness: USDA Zones 3 to 8
Flower Color: brown
Sun/Light Exposure: full sun
Water Requirements: occasional watering