This species is a native to North America and inhabits open ground and woodland. Its cultivars prefer full sun and thrive in almost any soils with the exception clay. They are drought-tolerant once established, but will withstand periods in soggy conditions.
Panicum virgatum cvs. are a favourite with garden designers because of their profuse airy panicles and colourful tints in autumn. They stand well into winter unless we have heavy snow and average 90 - 120cm in height.
If they have not disintegrated over winter they should be cut down in early spring.
Panicum elegans 'Frosted Explosion'
We grow this grass as an annual for pots and bedding out. Its inflorescences are popular with flower arrangers. We have carried a few through the winter in a greenhouse, but it is more convenient to collect the seed and start afresh in spring.
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This genus contains some of the more beautiful and interesting grasses. They are so varied it is not easy to see why the different species belong to the same genus. Occasionally members are reclassified. It is a good tip when an apparently new name appears to cross check that you do not already have the grass.
These grasses are natives of open grasslands and so they favour full sun and well drained soil.
Probably one of the most elegant grasses with spectacular flowering stems at 1.8m [6ft]. Its foliage is evergreen and should not be cut down. Loose open panicles with golden spikelets form from early to mid summer. In winter the redundant flowering stems can be cleared away. Waterlogged soil in winter can be detrimental to Stipa gigantea.
Tight clumps of evergreen, pale yellow-green leaves. Its arching flower heads are fluffy. Commonly known as "Pony Tails". It was no surprise to learn our French friends call it "Angels Hair". Good in mass planting or as a specimen in pots.
Do not cut it down. In spring comb out the old flowering stems with a gloved hand.
We describe this genus as the "risky grasses". Its species and their cultivars range in form and hardiness. Pennisetum setaceum 'Rubrum' is almost purple with dramatic inflorescences. It is perennial, but very tender and will not survive below 7 degrees Celsius.
Pennisetum macrourum with long grey-green pencil-like inflorescenses is semi-evergreen. With the exception of very harsh winters it will survive quite happily in North Linconshire.
Light and day length are also factors in determining whether or not some Pennisetum alopecuroides cvs. flower. Pennisetum orientale reliably flowers in mid summer. Its resistence to cold winters increases as a plant grows in size.
Warm season grasses
Panicum and Pennisetum are warm season grasses and can only be divided successfully in May, June and July.