Go Back Prairie Fire Ornamental Grass

Panicum virgatum 'Prairie Fire'
Deer Resistant IconRock Garden IconFoot Prints Icon

Plant Type: Grasses

A spectacular switch grass with sturdy, upright, blue-green stems and wine-red leaves. In the spring, the foliage is blue-green, but by early summer the leaves begin to turn a stunning shade of deep red. Most red switch grasses do not begin to turn color until late summer, so this grass is quite remarkable in that it changes color so early in the season.In late summer, a bouquet of rosy panicles is displayed just above the foliage. When in bloom, the leaves curl slightly, which gives the impression of red ribbons woven throughout the flowers. Switch grass gets its name from the peaceful swishing sound it makes when blowing in the wind. All parts of this grass are very sturdy, and will remain standing through winter unless snows are heavy. This provides important cover for birds during the coldest days of winter. This grass is very versatile from a design standpoint; it is effective as a specimen, in masses, for screening, alongside ponds or streams, or even in large containers.


Growing & Maintenance Tips:

Panicum is a native grass that is very easy to grow and is a good grass for beginners. It will grow in any soil, from sand to clay, is drought tolerant once established, and even with stands periodic flooding. Grow this grass in full sun. It will tolerate light shade, but will flop over if the shade is too heavy. Panicum is wind and salt tolerant, making it a good choice for seaside gardens or along roads that are salted in winter.

Flower Color


Foliage Color

Blue-green to deep red

Plant Spread

18-24 in.

Good Companions

Plant Height

4-5 ft.

Scape Height

Hardness Zone


Soil Moisture

Low to average and consistent water needs

Characteristics & Attributes


Container, Drought tolerant, Salt tolerant, Border, Cut flower or foliage, Mass Plant, Specimen

Bloom Time

Late summer, , ,

Critter Resistance

Deer resistant


Full sun

Growth Rate


Seasonal Interests

Early winter, Late winter, Mid-winter