Your opinion is important to us!

We are constantly making our site better and more user friendly for you. Any dispute, whether praise or criticism is important to us!

We welcome your suggestions!

Send

Feedback
Flat delivery fee £4.95, for all plants (excepted areas see here).
Customer service & advice: call 0845 527 1658 or email support@lubera.co.uk
 
 

Panicum - Switch grass

Rutenhirse kaufen

When you buy switch grass (part of the millet family) you get an expressive ornamental grass, which in our gardens is extremely easy to care for, durable and frost hardy. It captivates with its colourful foliage, which often assumes a spectacular red or golden yellow in autumn, as well as with its elegant, veil-like flower spikes, which appear from July and crown the leafy centre. With the taut upright stalks, which overhang slightly at the end, switch grass also sets special accents in the garden with its growth form. The grass is very adaptable. If it has become well established at the site, it can cope well with both heat and drought as well as wet periods.

Contrasting plantings and impressive colour compositions are guaranteed with switch grass. Take a look at our Lubera range, which includes many attractive varieties with different heights and leaf colours! In the summer, the green, leafless varieties change to a bright copper red from the tips of the leaves. A variety like 'Shenandoah' scores almost all year round with its reddish coloured leaf tips. On the other hand, other varieties enchant with their bluish foliage, which sometimes assumes a rich shade of yellow in autumn.

Great leaf decoration and filigree inflorescences

Whether as a structure plant in open areas, as part of semi-natural plantings or as a screen: switch grass shines as a solitary plant and in a group with colourful perennials, ornamental grasses or other ferns. In decorative planters, on the balcony or terrace, the smaller varieties are also very attractive.  Good planting partners for the ornamental grass are late-flowering perennials that love sunny, warm locations, such as phlox or autumn asters. Here are some recommended varieties:

• The beautiful red-brown colour of the variety 'Rotstrahlbusch' starts changing its leaf tips in June and has a fiery, blazing autumn colour.

• 'Heavy Metal' is only just under one and a half metres high and thus remains compact. It’s narrow, upward-pointing, shimmering, blue-metallic leaves underline the upright habit of this grass.

• The giant switch grass 'Cloud Nine' is a broad-leaved variety that, with its funnel-shaped growth, can reach a stately growth height of more than two metres, taking up very little space as a solitary plant.

• The columnar switch grass 'Northwind' has a striking, taut habit. Its greyish-green foliage turns into an ornamental golden yellow from October onwards, forming an interesting yellow-green colour mix in the meantime. This variety proves to be particularly stable in the winter.

   
 
   
 
Rutenhirse kaufen

Buying switch grass – worth knowing

Switch grass belongs to the genus Panicum, which is assigned to the family of sweet grasses. Around 500 species are counted in this genus – and this includes the switch grass originating from Asia. It is an important cereal in the human diet and is cultivated worldwide.

Panicum virgatum is a species that has a high garden value as a winter hardy ornamental grass. The species is originally found in North America – from Canada to Mexico – where it forms as a typical prairie grass, a staple food for buffaloes. As a so-called C4 plant, switch grass is relatively drought-tolerant and insensitive to heat. In the United States, switch grass used to protect against soil erosion, as it is able to form an enormous root system. In addition, it are used in bioethanol production and for the production of degradable plastics.

There are many types of switch grass. The selection 'Rotstrahlbusch' has been cultivated in our gardens for more than 50 years, while blue-frosted switch grasses will not be encountered in our latitudes for a long time. Newer garden forms, for example 'Cloud Nine' and 'Northwind', are a bit reminiscent of miscanthus due to their wide blades.

Like miscanthus (Miscanthus) and feathered grass (Pennisetum), switch grass is one of the "warm-season grasses". Characteristic of this group is that budding occurs relatively late – it takes place starting in the summer and autumn.

Switch grass grows and spreads slowly through short rhizomes in the ground. In an optimal location, propagation via seed can take place, whereby the variety-specific characteristics in the offspring often no longer come to light. The filigree, veil-like inflorescences appear in the form of a terminal spike and are very decorative. Depending on the variety, cultivated switch grasses reach heights of 60 to over 200 centimetres.

The leaf colours of switch grass

Variants of the red switch grass from the cooler regions of North America often show a particularly beautiful autumn colour. They are usually green-leaved, reach heights of just over one metre and flower comparatively early. The green-leaved varieties turn a charming copper colour in autumn. The blue-leaved varieties often have stately growth and are found in their original forms mostly in the more southerly areas of North and Central America, where they like to grow near water. The bluish varieties turn yellow in autumn. However, the colouring of some varieties is relatively late, so that they do not always show their full effect in our latitudes.

Location and soil

If you buy switch grass, it prefers to be planted in full sun – however also a site in partial shade is tolerated. If the location is too shady, the grass may lose its shape and become less stable. In terms of soil conditions, ornamental grass is not particularly demanding. The soil should ideally be permeable – if it is too heavy and wet, it may not form flowers well. A nutrient-rich and fresh to moderately moist soil is also favourable for switch grass. The pH may be slightly alkaline to slightly acidic.

Planting and care

It is best to plant switch grass in the spring, as it can then establish itself immediately with its roots in the soil. An autumn planting is also possible – the plant will weather the winter frost well, but the grass will not grow properly until the next growing season.

If you want to prevent the leaves from drying out, especially the broad-leaved, bluish varieties, such as 'Cloud Nine', should be watered attentively. When growing switch grass in a container you should always keep it sufficiently moist – then the beautiful autumn colour is guaranteed. Over-fertilising switch grass would be counterproductive, as the grass will tend to have excessive growth and the stability will be lower.

Switch grass can be easily divided and thereby also tapered or reduced in size: for this purpose, it should be divided in the spring with a spade and the divisions can be replanted elsewhere.

Pruning switch grass

After you buy and plant switch grass, you should cut it back near the ground at the end of the winter or in early spring, although the leaves will dry out in the winter. Since the different types of switch grass usually are highly stable, they also have a decorative effect in the winter, meaning that you should wait to reach for the pruning shears until the spring.

 

Tag cloud

 

Viewed