Panicum virgatum 'Shenandoah'
This grass can easily be mistaken for Japanese Blood grass (Imperata
cylindrica 'Rubra'). The leaf tips turn red soon after it starts to
grow in the spring. In fall the foliage is a spectacular deep burgundy
We carry three Panicums that have red foliage in the fall. Here are
the differences between 'Shenandoah', 'Squaw' and 'Rotstrahlbusch':
- 'Shenandoah' and 'Squaw' have a cascading form, while 'Rotstrahlbusch'
is distinctly upright
- 'Shenandoah' and 'Squaw' are the same height while 'Rotstrahlbusch'
- leaves of 'Rotstrahlbusch' are slightly narrower than 'Shenandoah'
- the foliage of 'Shenandoah' starts green with the leaf tips turning
dark red leaf in early June; 'Squaw' is green until fall when they
turn burgundy; leaves of 'Rotstrahlbusch' are tinged with red all
growing season, turning red in the fall
- the fall color of 'Shenandoah' and 'Squaw' is burgundy; 'Rotstrahlbusch'
- all three have burgundy seedheads
Description: warm season*; sod forming (slow spreader)
Foliage is green; blade is 13 mm wide ( 1/2"); tips turn a deep
red in the summer; 100-120 cm (40-48")
Flowers tinged with pink; 125-150 cm (50-60")
Ideal conditions: full sun; prefers moist fertile
soil, but adapts to a wide range of soil conditions
Coldest zone: 4 (find your
zone; further info on plant hardiness)
Partner with: Monarda
Season of interest: June to winter
Drought tolerance rating: 2 (water to root depth once
every 2 weeks); further info
The species is native to: prairies and open ground,
open woods, brackish marshes from eastern Canada to central and eastern
US and south to Central America.
Recommended plant spacing: 60-100 cm (24-40") 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.
Pronounciation: Panicum (PAN-ih-kum) virgatum (veer-GAH-tum)
*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 virgatum 'Shenandoah' to our other
grasses in this handy chart.