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Switchgrass
Panicum virgatum
Poaceae


General Landscape Uses:

Accent grass.
Availability:
Grown by one or two native plant nurseries in South Florida.
Description:
Medium to large herbaceous grass.
Dimensions:
Typically 5-6 feet in height. Spreading from underground stems (rhizomes) and forming large patches.
Growth Rate:
Moderate.
Range:
Widespread in North America south to the Monroe County Keys; Bermuda, the West Indies (Cuba), Mexico, Central America and South America. In the Monroe County Keys, disjunct from Miami-Dade County to Big Pine Key and nearby islands.
Habitats:
Pinelands, coastal uplands and marshes.
Soils:
Wet to moist, periodically inundated freshwater to brackish sandy or limestone soils, without humus.
Nutritional Requirements:
Low; it grows in nutrient poor soils.
Salt Water Tolerance:
Low; does not tolerate long-term flooding by salt or brackish water.
Salt Wind Tolerance:
High; can tolerate moderate amounts of salt wind without injury.
Drought Tolerance:
High; does not require any supplemental water once established.
Light Requirements:
Full sun.
Flower Color:
Reddish-brown inflorescence.
Flower Characteristics:
Inconspicuous.
Flowering Season:
Summer-fall.
Fruit:
Inconspicuous caryopsis.
Wildlife and Ecology:
Larval host plant for Delaware skipper and dotted skipper (Hesperia attalus) butterflies.
Horticultural Notes:
Can be grown from seed and divisions.
Comments:
A widely cultivated plant with many cultivars. Only local sources should be used.


 


Keith A. Bradley
Keith A. Bradley
Grasses, Sedges and Rushes of Palm Beach
and Martin Counties, Florida website.
Grasses, Sedges and Rushes of Palm Beach
and Martin Counties, Florida website.