High Desert Plant Finder & Guide

ornamental grass

Prairie Sky Switch Grass

Panicum virgatum 'Prairie Sky'

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Prairie Sky Switch Grass (Panicum virgatum 'Prairie Sky') at Moana Nursery

Prairie Sky Switch Grass

Prairie Sky Switch Grass

(Photo courtesy of NetPS Plant Finder)

Plant Height:  3 feet

Flower Height:  4 feet

Spread:  30 inches

Sunlight:  full sun  partial shade 

Hardiness Zone:  3

Ornamental Features

Prairie Sky Switch Grass features airy plumes of rose flowers rising above the foliage in mid summer. Its attractive grassy leaves are steel blue in color. As an added bonus, the foliage turns a gorgeous gold in the fall. The brick red seed heads are carried on showy plumes displayed in abundance from late summer to mid fall. The tan stems can be quite attractive.

Landscape Attributes

Prairie Sky Switch Grass is an herbaceous perennial grass with an upright spreading habit of growth. Its relatively fine texture sets it apart from other garden plants with less refined foliage.

This is a relatively low maintenance plant, and is best cut back to the ground in late winter before active growth resumes. It has no significant negative characteristics.

Prairie Sky Switch Grass is recommended for the following landscape applications;

  • Accent
  • Mass Planting
  • General Garden Use

Planting & Growing

Prairie Sky Switch Grass will grow to be about 3 feet tall at maturity extending to 4 feet tall with the flowers, with a spread of 30 inches. It tends to be leggy, with a typical clearance of 1 foot from the ground, and should be underplanted with lower-growing perennials. It grows at a medium rate, and under ideal conditions can be expected to live for approximately 15 years.

This plant does best in full sun to partial shade. It is very adaptable to both dry and moist locations, and should do just fine under typical garden conditions. It is considered to be drought-tolerant, and thus makes an ideal choice for a low-water garden or xeriscape application. It is not particular as to soil type, but has a definite preference for alkaline soils, and is able to handle environmental salt. It is somewhat tolerant of urban pollution. This is a selection of a native North American species. It can be propagated by division; however, as a cultivated variety, be aware that it may be subject to certain restrictions or prohibitions on propagation.

 
 
Hardiness Zone Plant Height Minimum Sunlight Soil pH Preference
Characteristics
Accent  Massing  Garden 
Applications
Flowers  Fruit  Foliage Color  Fall Color  Texture  Bark 
Ornamental Features

Please note: Our Plant Guide is all about plants that will work in the high desert. It is not, nor is it intended to be, a current list of plants in stock on hand at each location or at our farm. We purposely do not sell or ship plants via the internet. Plant questions and availability are best determined in-store.