Panicum amarum 'Dewey Blue' -
Dewey Blue Bitter Panicgrass, Bitter Switch Grass
Ornamental grass expert Rick Darke found this grass growing in sand
dunes near Dewey, Delaware. He then selected the bluest
one and named it P. 'Dewey Blue'.
It is often found growing along salt-water coastlines,
abandoned railroad tracks and in other difficult areas.
With its preference for sandy soil, and it salt tolerance,
it is used extensively to help stabilize sand dunes.
Ìt has an upright arching or fountain-like growth habit. Height
and form varies depending on the soil fertility and the amount of moisture.
It prefers less fertile, drier soils. If the soil is fertile and moist,
it may have problems remaining upright.
Flowers are more numerous than those displayed by Panicum
virgatum, and are larger. The seeds are loved by birds.
Description: warm season*; spreader, but easy to control
Foliage is blue, 90-120 cm (36-48") in height
Flowers Aug through Sept; 120-150 cm (48-60") tall
Ideal conditions: full sun; prefers average to dry
sandy soil with good drainage
Coldest zone: 4 (find your
zone; further info on plant hardiness)
Partner with: Coreopsis
tripteris, Solidago 'Strahlenkrona', Inula
racemosa 'Sonnenspeer', Calamagrostis
Season of interest: August to winter
Drought tolerance rating: 2 (water to root depth once
every 2 weeks); further info
The species is native to: sand dunes from Connecticut,
USA to Mexico
Recommended spacing between plants: 50-80
cm (20-32") why such a difference?
When to divide: when it shows signs of
life in the spring, continuing until the new growth is about
12" tall; only in the spring (further
info on dividing grasses)
When to plant or transplant: plant bare root plants
only in late spring to early summer, when the soil
is warm, about the same time you plant your bean or corn
seeds. The roots will grow only in warm soil. Planting too
early in the spring may cause the roots to rot. Similar
story in the fall when the roots may not grow enough to
establish before the cold and wet of winter, resulting in
the demise of the plant.
When to cut back: before the new growth
starts to appear, but after the cold weather is over. Cut
back to about 3-4" from the crown of the plant.
Pronunciation: Panicum (PAN-ih-kum) amarum (ah-MAR-um)
*a warm season grass likes to grow in warm weather. Before it will
show signs of life in the spring, the soil must warm up, and be warm
for possibly as long as two weeks.
More ornamental grasses
Compare Panicum amarum 'Dewey Blue' to our other
grasses in this handy