Panicum virgatum 'Sunburst' -
Panicum virgatum 'Sunburst' is a particularly good source of food
for wildlife as the seeds are bigger than other Panicums. 'Sunburst'
has a more relaxed form than P. 'Heavy Metal', and is a couple of inches
taller. The seedheads have an arching form.
Testing has recently been done to find the best plant for stabilizing
slopes prone to erosion and Panicum virgatum was found to be the best
Description: warm season*; sod forming (slow spreader)
Foliage is green, of medium blade width; 80-135 cm (32-55") tall
Flowers bloom Aug through Sept; 135-160 cm (55-62") in height
Ideal conditions: full sun; moist fertile soil, but
adapts to a wide range of soil conditions including dry
Coldest zone: 3, possibly colder (find
your zone; further info on plant hardiness)
Partner with: Aster, Boltonia, Sedum;
Season of interest: August to winter
Drought tolerance rating: 1 (water to root depth once
a month); further info
Native to: prairies and open ground, open woods, brackish
marshes; from eastern Canada to central and eastern US and south to
Recommended spacing between plants: 50-100 cm (20-40")
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.
Pronunciation: 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 'Sunburst' to our other
grasses in this handy chart.