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ornamental grass

Prairie Fire Red Switch Grass

Panicum virgatum 'Prairie Fire'

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Prairie Fire Red Switch Grass (Panicum virgatum 'Prairie Fire') at Ashcombe Farm & Greenhouses

Panicum virgatum 'Prairie Fire' foliage

Panicum virgatum 'Prairie Fire' foliage

(Photo courtesy of NetPS Plant Finder)

Prairie Fire Red Switch Grass (Panicum virgatum 'Prairie Fire') at Ashcombe Farm & Greenhouses

Panicum virgatum 'Prairie Fire'

Panicum virgatum 'Prairie Fire'

(Photo courtesy of NetPS Plant Finder)

Height:  5 feet

Spread:  3 feet

Sunlight:  full sun  partial shade 

Hardiness Zone:  3b


This tall selection forms an upright clump of blue-green leaves that develop wine red tips in early summer; airy heads of tiny green flowers appear on plumes in late summer; perfect as an accent or massed in borders

Ornamental Features

Prairie Fire Red Switch Grass features airy plumes of green flowers rising above the foliage in mid summer. Its attractive grassy leaves are bluish-green in color with prominent dark red tips. As an added bonus, the foliage turns a gorgeous gold in the fall. The brown 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 Fire Red 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 Fire Red Switch Grass is recommended for the following landscape applications;

  • Accent
  • Mass Planting
  • General Garden Use

Planting & Growing

Prairie Fire Red Switch Grass will grow to be about 4 feet tall at maturity, with a spread of 3 feet. 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
Accent  Massing  Garden 
Flowers  Fruit  Foliage Color  Fall Color  Texture  Bark 
Ornamental Features