Bring the Outdoors Home

Switch Grass | Plant Profile

Switch Grasses are tall ornamental grasses that are native to Missouri and make up a large portion of the plains found in central United States. Switch Grass is a relatively rigid ornamental grass that grows in a column, rather than spreading out with height. The blades reach up to 3′ but when in bloom, the seed plumes can reach up to 6′. Most blades are green that turn tan in the fall and winter.

Medium to wet soils in full sun are preferable. Switch Grasses can tolerate a wide range of soils. Japanese beetles, and spider mites can populate these plants. Rust may occur and root rot can happen in poorly drain soils.

Switch Grasses can be planted en mass to fill in meadows, as borders, or as accent pieces.


Switch Grass Characteristics

There are many varieties of Switch Grass and while similar, each have their own features.

‘Shenandoah’ has a thin base with medium to light green upright blades. The seed plumes tend to be purple. These are the smallest variety of Switch Grass.

‘Heavy Metal’ can stand almost perfectly upright and has metallic blue blades. This cultivar is particularly rigid in appearance.

‘Cloud Nine’ is one of the taller varieties, growing up to 6′ tall. It has light green blades with lightly purple tinted seed plumes. The blades are less rigid than ‘Heavy Metal’ and can slightly bend with height.

‘Prairie Sky’ has deep green blades and white-ish plumes. It is a taller variety, reaching up to 6′.

Switch Grasses are versatile ornamental grasses that can be accents pieces, planted in small groups, or planted en mass in meadows. Their height and foliage density make for effected borders and screens in small areas. Their tolerance of wet ground make them perfect for lining streams, bogs, wetlands, or ponds.

USDA Climate Zone
Zones  5 - 9
3.00 - 4.00'
3.00 - 4.00'
Bloom Time
July - February
Medium - Wet
Full Sun to Part Shade
Deer Resistant?