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Panicum virgatum 'Heavy Metal' (Switch grass 'Heavy Metal')

Beginner
skill rating
1 hour care
per year
1.3m
Max height
0.6m
Max spread
2-5 years
To maturity

Plant details

Botanical name

Panicum virgatum 'Heavy Metal'

Other names

Switch grass 'Heavy Metal'

Genus

Panicum Panicum

Variety or Cultivar

'Heavy Metal' _ 'Heavy Metal' is a dense, upright grass with blue-green foliage that turn yellow in autumn. It has red-purple flower plumes and seed heads from summer to early winter.


Panicum virgatum 'Heavy Metal' is: Deciduous

Habit

Clump-forming, Dense, Erect

Flower

Reddish-purple in Summer; Reddish-purple in Autumn; Reddish-purple in Winter

Foliage

Blue-green in Spring; Blue-green in Summer; Yellow in Autumn

How to care

Watch out for

Pests

Generally pest free

Diseases

Generally disease free

General care

Pruning

Remove dead foliage and old stems in spring.

Propagation methods

Division, Seed


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Where to grow

Panicum virgatum 'Heavy Metal' (Switch grass 'Heavy Metal') will reach a height of 1.3m and a spread of 0.6m after 2-5 years.

Suggested uses

Architectural, Beds and borders, Low Maintenance, Prairie planting, City, Cottage/Informal

Cultivation

Grow in full sun in soil that is medium to light and moderately fertile.

Soil type

Chalky, Clay, Loamy, Sandy (will tolerate most soil types)

Soil drainage

Moist but well-drained, Well-drained

Soil pH

Acid, Alkaline, Neutral

Light

Full Sun

Aspect

South, East, West

Exposure

Exposed, Sheltered

UK hardiness Note: We are working to update our ratings. Thanks for your patience.

Hardy (H4)

Companion plants

We do not currently have companion plants added for this plant.

Botanical name

Panicum virgatum 'Heavy Metal'

Other names

Switch grass 'Heavy Metal'

Genus

Panicum Panicum

Variety or Cultivar

'Heavy Metal' _ 'Heavy Metal' is a dense, upright grass with blue-green foliage that turn yellow in autumn. It has red-purple flower plumes and seed heads from summer to early winter.

Foliage

Deciduous

Habit

Clump-forming, Dense, Erect


Colour

Flower

Reddish-purple in Summer; Reddish-purple in Autumn; Reddish-purple in Winter

Foliage

Blue-green in Spring; Blue-green in Summer; Yellow in Autumn


How to care

Watch out for

Pests

Generally pest free

Diseases

Generally disease free

General care

Pruning

Remove dead foliage and old stems in spring.

Propagation methods

Division, Seed


Monthly care advice


Where to grow

Panicum virgatum 'Heavy Metal' (Switch grass 'Heavy Metal') will reach a height of 1.3m and a spread of 0.6m after 2-5 years.

Suggested uses

Architectural, Beds and borders, Low Maintenance, Prairie planting, City, Cottage/Informal

Cultivation

Grow in full sun in soil that is medium to light and moderately fertile.

Soil type

Chalky, Clay, Loamy, Sandy (will tolerate most soil types)

Soil drainage

Moist but well-drained, Well-drained

Soil pH

Acid, Alkaline, Neutral

Light

Full Sun

Aspect

South, East, West

Exposure

Exposed, Sheltered

UK hardiness Note: We are working to update our ratings. Thanks for your patience.

Hardy (H4)

USDA zones

Zone 9, Zone 8, Zone 7, Zone 6, Zone 5, Zone 4

Defra's Risk register #1

Plant name

Panicum virgatum 'Heavy Metal' (Switch grass 'Heavy Metal')

Common pest name

Corn borer; Corn moth; European corn borer; European maize borer; European stalk borer; Maize pyralid

Scientific pest name

Ostrinia nubilalis

Type

Insect

Current status in UK

Present (Limited)

Likelihood to spread in UK (1 is very low - 5 is very high)

3

Impact (1 is very low - 5 is very high)

3

General biosecurity comments

Polyphagous boring pest present in the UK since the 1930’s. A maize-affecting race was detected for the first time in 2010. Industry may wish to monitor for its presence and mitigate against impacts.

Defra's Risk register #2

Plant name

Panicum virgatum 'Heavy Metal' (Switch grass 'Heavy Metal')

Common pest name

Red rice root aphid; Rice root aphid

Scientific pest name

Rhopalosiphum rufiabdominalis

Type

Insect

Current status in UK

Absent

Likelihood to spread to UK (1 is very low - 5 is very high)

3

Impact (1 is very low - 5 is very high)

3

General biosecurity comments

Potentially significant glasshouse pest; growers should monitor for its presence. Routine aphid control should be effective in mitigating risk.

Defra's Risk register #3

Plant name

Panicum virgatum 'Heavy Metal' (Switch grass 'Heavy Metal')

Common pest name

Rice leaf nematode; Strawberry crimp disease nematode; White tip nematode; White tip nematode of rice

Scientific pest name

Aphelenchoides besseyi

Type

Nematode

Current status in UK

Absent

Likelihood to spread to UK (1 is very low - 5 is very high)

2

Impact (1 is very low - 5 is very high)

3

General biosecurity comments

Damaging nematode affecting rice crops and strawberry production in warmer climates; could potentially present a threat to strawberry production and ornamental production in protected environments. But modern production practices seem to reduce likelihood of impacts. Pest is also regulated at EU level; which reduces likelihood of entry.

About this section

Our plants are under greater threat than ever before. There is increasing movement of plants and other material traded from an increasing variety of sources. This increases the chances of exotic pests arriving with imported goods and travellers, as well as by natural means. Shoot is working with Defra to help members to do their part in preventing the introduction and spread of invasive risks.

Traveling or importing plants? Please read "Don't risk it" advice here

Suspected outbreak? Click here for contact details to report to the relevant authority.

Date updated: 7th March 2019 For more information visit: https://planthealthportal.defra.gov.uk/

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Panicum virgatum 'Heavy Metal'

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This plant likes... Garden match
Soil types: Chalky, Clay, Loamy, Sandy (will tolerate most soil types) Tell us...
Soil drainage: Moist but well-drained, Well-drained Tell us...
Soil pH: Acid, Alkaline, Neutral Tell us...
Light: Full Sun Tell us...
Aspect: South, East, West Tell us...
Exposure: Exposed, Sheltered Tell us...
Hardiness: Hardy (H4) Tell us...

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