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Switch Grass, Wand Panic Grass 'Shenandoah'

Panicum virgatum

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


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


36-48 in. (90-120 cm)


36-48 in. (90-120 cm)


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:


Bloom Time:

Late Summer/Early Fall

Mid Fall


Grown for foliage


Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

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

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:

Huntsville, Alabama

Redding, California

Denver, Colorado

Stratford, Connecticut

Glen Ellyn, Illinois

Mount Prospect, Illinois

Roslindale, Massachusetts

Commerce Township, Michigan

Kasota, Minnesota

Saint Paul, Minnesota

Exeter, New Hampshire

Denville, New Jersey

Whitehouse Station, New Jersey

Great Neck, New York

Elizabeth City, North Carolina

Richfield, Ohio

Richmond, Ohio

Enid, Oklahoma

Salem, Oregon

Downingtown, Pennsylvania

Lebanon, Pennsylvania

Spring Grove, Pennsylvania

Columbia, South Carolina

Crossville, Tennessee

Vernal, Utah

Urbanna, Virginia

Vancouver, Washington

Madison, Wisconsin

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Jan 25, 2015, jv123 from Washougal, WA (Zone 8b) wrote:

Mine has shown very little red in the last 3 years since I got it. It has gotten a slight bit bigger over the years, but the base of the clump has only grown from about a 1 gallon pot to about a 2 gallon pot size. It is in shade from fir branches about 15 feet up, and is right up against a fir tree trunk. With this shade/dry combo, it gets to a height of around two and a half feet. Nice clumping and non-spreading, but not showy. Excellent low maintenance plant, though.


On Dec 14, 2014, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

'Shenandoah' is shorter than most cultivars, generally getting to 3'.

For most people, the advertised red coloration has not lived up to the hype, especially in the north. I know I was disappointed. 'Ruby Ribbons' is much more strongly colored.

Hardy to Z2.


On Jan 27, 2014, Rickwebb from Downingtown, PA wrote:

It is a very reliable ornamental grass. It stays upright and does not fall over. It develops as a slowly expanding clump. It is easy to dig up and reset or propagate by divisions. It has nice soft foliage, feels good. Usually it has a bluish-green foliage just with red tips on the blades.It can develop a good red fall color under some conditions. Good fall color is most likely to develop in sandy soils. One of my plants in my southeast PA clay soil did develop mostly red blades one August. It is commonly sold at most garden centers. It is my second favorite grass after Little Bluestem.


On Nov 23, 2011, XemaSab from Redding, CA wrote:

It's a pretty enough plant, but mine has never shown any red. I don't know whether it was mis-labeled or whether the conditions in my yard aren't right, but it's not quite what I was hoping for.


On Sep 30, 2008, clareb from Missoula, MT (Zone 5a) wrote:

'Shenandoah' switchgrass is an excellent upright non-invasive (Zone 5) drought-tolerant grass. Its useful structural foliage will withstand the snows of winter.
I have 'Shenandoah' growing in sandy soil of a 4 ft. wide strip between my sidewalk and the street. This area receives supplemental drip irrigation from me less than 10 times each year (annual precip. in my area is ~10 in. per year, which is pretty low).


On Sep 16, 2006, Fleurs from Columbia, SC wrote:

'Shenandoah''s metamorphosis from blue-green to deep burgundy is a great part of the plant's charm. When the seedheads appear in late Summer, their subtle beauty makes 'Shenandoah' glitter. The grass remains upright, despite summer downpours and throughout Winter. If 'Shenandoah' begins to splay out when wet, it's time to hack off a piece from the outer edges, about every three years for a mature clump. 'Shenandoah' is definitely one of my faves!


On Sep 3, 2006, jlfcba from Kronenwetter, WI (Zone 4a) wrote:

Planted 4 years ago in less than ideal soil; they've developed beautifully with gorgeous burgandy color starting in August in my zone 4 area. It's such a great grass that I'm adding 5 plants to a new bed I'm working on today. Don't get concerned in the spring - these are late to break through.


On Feb 17, 2006, RDT from Crossville, TN (Zone 6b) wrote:

Also non-invasive in my zone.
Although it is not a bright red as seen in the catalogs it is a nice color in the Fall.


On Feb 12, 2006, Tir_Na_Nog from Houston,
United States (Zone 9b) wrote:

Purple red leaves that look like tall grass, accented by bright red plumes in late summer. Leaves turn deep purple in fall.

Non-invasive variety from Germany. Said to handle drought and neglect well.

Looks like an easy enough one to try in my novice garden!