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Ornamental Grass, Panicum virgatum 'Heavy Metal'
Item F21OG190

'Heavy Metal' is a blue switch grass with a stately, columnar form. This deciduous ornamental fountain-like grass is renowned for its steely colored, metallic-blue to blue-purple leaves, which form stiff, upright clumps that turn a striking yellow in autumn, fading to tan-beige in winter. (Shown in third photo.) In the late summer and early autumn, silvery-pink flowers emerge and add an airy elegance to the look. It's perfect for providing vertical interest in a sunny, well-drained new perennial border.

It is a warm season grass, which typically grows in an upright, vertical clump. Stems typically retain vertical form without flopping throughout the growing season and into winter. Foliage clump is topped by finely textured, pink-tinged, branched flower panicles, which hover over the foliage like an airy cloud. Panicles turn straw yellow as the seeds mature fading to beige in winter. Seed plumes persist well into winter providing visual interest as well as food for birds.



Size: #1 · Hardiness: Zones 4-9

Common: Switch Grass · Family: Poaceae

Botanical: Panicum virgatum 'Heavy Metal'

Height: 4' · Spacing: 1-2' wide

Exposure: Sun to light shade · Bloomtime: August-Sept.

Flower: Silvery, Pink-tinged · Foliage: Steely, Metallic-Blue

Care Information: Generally best in full sun. Will grow in part shade, but begins to lose its columnar form in too much shade, growing more openly and possibly falling over. Grows primarily in clumps, but may infrequently spread by rhizomes. Also may self-seed in optimum growing conditions, however, 'Heavy Metal' does not come true from seed and self-seeded plants may be best removed from a planting to preserve the uniformity of the foliage color. Cut back clumps to the ground in late winter to early spring.

Noteworthy Characteristics: Ornamental Grasses are gaining in popularity all over the U.S. due to their undemanding nature and long lasting, year round beauty. There is nothing that adds such interesting forms, textures and movement to a garden, than with this diverse plant group. They can be planted along banks of ponds, incorporated into perennial gardens, grouped together, utilized as a ground cover along walkways, paths or on steep banks. They aren't fussy about soil requirements, are drought tolerant as well as insect and disease resistant.

Uses: Accent, group or mass. Also effective as a screen. Perennial borders, wild gardens, native plant gardens, prairies, meadows or naturalized areas. Also appropriate for water gardens and bog gardens.

Growing Tips: Easily grown in average, medium to wet soils in full sun to part shade. Tolerates wide range of soils, including dry ones, but prefers moist, sandy or clay soils. Tends to flop in rich soils.

Tolerances: Deer & rabbits, drought, heat & humidity, seashore and wind.

Problems: No serious insect or disease problems. Some susceptibility to rust, particularly in hot, humid summer climates. May naturalize.

Planting instructions: Dig a hole large enough to hold the roots. Fill the hole with water and position the plant so the crown (where the root meets the stem) is just slightly below the soil line. Fill the hole with soil and water again. A slow release fertilizer may be used each spring, though it’s not necessary.

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