Botanical Name: Panicum virgatum 'Heavy Metal'
Common Name: Heavy Metal Switch Grass  
Plant photo of: Panicum virgatum 'Heavy Metal'
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Water Saving Tip:

In general, lawns only need to be watered once every three days.

Check your irrigation controller and reduce watering times if necessary.

  • Anatomy

  • Culture

  • Design

Plant Type

Perennial, Grass


Height Range

1-3', 3-6'


Flower Color

Orange, Purple


Flower Season

Summer, Fall


Leaf Color

Blue Green


Bark Color



Fruit Color



Fruit Season








Growth Rate



Soil Type

Sandy, Clay, Loam, Unparticular


Soil Condition

Average, Rich, Poor, Well-drained, Moist


Soil pH



Adverse Factors


Design Styles

Formal, Meadow, Mediterranean, Ranch, Native Garden, Woodland


Accenting Features

Fall Color, Showy Flowers, Specimen


Seasonal Interest

Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall


Location Uses

Entry, Perennial Border, Shrub Border, Foundation, Parking Strip, Patio, Park, Parking Lot, Roadside, Walls / Fences


Special Uses

Cut Flowers, Filler, Hedge, Mass Planting, Naturalizing, Small Spaces


Attracts Wildlife


Information by: Stephanie Duer
  • Description

  • Notes

This switch grass has stiffly erect blades of metallic blue-green during the season, turning yellowish-orange in the fall, and buff in the winter. Tiny purple and orange flowers line wiry stems forming billows of color about grass clump. Grows 36 to 40 inches tall and 30 inches wide. Very attractive when planted in masses.
Panicums are Plains' natives, and they require full sun and well drained soils. Will grow in clay. Over-fertilizing or over-watering will cause the grass to flop. Cut back in late winter, see Guides. No serious pest or disease problems. Though clumping, it may slowly spread by rhizomes, but is not considered invasive. Deer and rabbit resistant.