Switch Grass, Wand Panic Grass 'Prairie Sky'

Panicum virgatum

Family: Poaceae (poh-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Panicum (PAN-ih-kum) (Info)
Species: virgatum (vir-GA-tum) (Info)
Cultivar: Prairie Sky


Ornamental Grasses and Bamboo


Foliage Color:


Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)


24-36 in. (60-90 cm)


USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)

USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)

USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)

USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)

USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)

USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)

USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)

USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)

USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)

USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun

Sun to Partial Shade



Bloom Color:

Scarlet (Dark Red)


Bloom Time:

Late Summer/Early Fall

Mid Fall


Grown for foliage


Other details:

May be a noxious weed or invasive

Soil pH requirements:

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

By dividing the rootball

Self-sows freely; deadhead if you do not want volunteer seedlings next season

Seed Collecting:

N/A: plant does not set seed, flowers are sterile, or plants will not come true from seed


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Washington, Illinois

Pacific Junction, Iowa

Ithaca, New York

Elizabeth City, North Carolina

Portland, Oregon

Urbanna, Virginia

Eau Claire, Wisconsin

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Gardeners' Notes:


On Apr 17, 2017, 00264167 from herne bay,
United Kingdom wrote:

This is probably the bluest panicum and one of the best looking as it has an animated, upright leaf shape that makes it quite an architectural plant.
However the big problem is it flops; not completely, but unattractively splaying out about 2 or 3 foot.
I've only ever had it not flop when it was in a pot which might have been because it was shorter. I've grown it in two suitable positions in a border and it has flopped over surrounding plants from august onwards. This year im going to try it in full sun, unshaded and unwatered as im not sure if its the height or rich/garden border growing conditions which cause it to flop. No problem with self seeding here in the uk, i've never found any panicum or miscanthus seedlings.
Oh well...back to boring old panicum heavy meta... read more


On Oct 2, 2014, Ithakan from Ithaca, NY wrote:

I have six of these planted beneath a long bed of 3 river birch. They definitely do flop toward the end of the season, but the bigger problem is self-seeding. The first three years, no problem, but this year, I have tiny volunteer grasses EVERYWHERE.

You can try to deadhead, but mine produce tons of seed heads so it's tough to get them all in time. Plus, without the seed heads, the winter interest is minimal.

Consider carefully--I wouldn't plant this again.


On Aug 21, 2014, onebugslife from Pacific Junction, IA (Zone 5a) wrote:

I love this grass until it finally sprouts up past 4'. Once it hits that mark it flops over in my garden. What I have read is that it does not like fertile rich soil or to be watered. At this point I plan on moving it outside the compost enriched beds.


On Feb 28, 2012, Gabrielle from (Zone 5a) wrote:

Blooms July-August in my garden. Nice bluish foliage.