Panicum virgatum ‘North Wind’ – a top switch grass

by Yvonne on March 4, 2014 · 0 comments

in Ornamental grasses, Plants

Panicum North Wind

Panicum virgatum ‘North Wind’ with Joe Pye weed (Eupatorium)
and tufted hair-grass in front

Panicum virgatum

Panicum virgatum ‘North Wind’
coloring up in early fall

The Perennial Plant of the Year for 2014 is Panicum virgatum ‘North Wind’. I’m glad to see that the Perennial Plant Association has once again chosen an ornamental grass as the top pick. Another favorite plant, Karl Foerster’s Feather Reed grass, was chosen as plant of the year in 2001. (That was the first time an ornamental grass received the nod).

Some garden bloggers scoff at best-of-the-year plant awards, but I’m always interested to see what the top picks are. One welcome side-effect is that this terrific grass should be easier to find at garden centers this spring — it’s been rather hard to get hold of unless you went to a specialist nursery or ordered it online.

Panicum virgatum ‘North Wind’ is an outstanding upright growing switch grass cultivar. In late summer attractive narrow flower plumes appear within the foliage, instead of arching over the top, as with most grasses.

In fall, the leaves and flowers turn gold and the plant persists beautifully through the cold months. It makes a great vertical accent in the garden and tends to stay upright, even in dead of winter. Read more about growing Panicum virgatum ‘North Wind’ (link goes to my flower gardening website).

 Panicum virgatum 'North Wind'

The upright growing habit of Panicum virgatum ‘North Wind’

This blog post by a self-confessed obsessive gardener also praises this lovely ornamental grass.

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