Panicum virgatum PRAIRIE WINDS® 'Cheyenne Sky' PP23209

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Photo Courtesy of Walters Gardens, Inc.
 Common Name: Grass-Ornamental
Common Name (Alternative): Red Switch Grass
Proven Winners® Perennial
PAS Platinum Collection

Absolutely ideal for growing in decorative containers, this hardy Red Switch Grass is a perennial substitute for Pennisetum 'Rubrum'.  Measuring in at just 3ft (2ft before blooming), 'Cheyenne Sky' forms a tight, vase-shaped clump of blue-green foliage that begins turning wine red in early summer. 

By late summer, nearly the entire clump is drenched in color and is topped by matching wine-red flower panicles held just above the foliage.  It makes a dynamite specimen plant and is even more eye-catching when planted en masse.

Switch grass gets its name from the peaceful swishing sound it makes when blowing in the wind.  All parts of this grass are very sturdy, and will remain standing thru winter unless snows are heavy.  This provides important cover for birds during the coldest days of winter.  This grass is very versitile from a design standpoint; it is effective as a specimen, in masses, for screening, alongside ponds or streams, or even in large containers.

Ornamental Grasses of the PRAIRIE WINDS® Collection add graceful texture and movement to the garden.  These varieties thrive in full sun growing conditions and are proven deer resistant.

'Cheyenne Sky' has been selected by gardening expert P. Allen Smith for his Platinum Collection.  Here's what P. Allen has to say about this fabulous plant:

"This grass is lovely in every way.  A ‘see through plant’ that allows views through its graceful red margined blades of glaucous foliage.  The perfect guest in the garden, never a thug like some grasses."


Click here to watch a video about Proven Winners® Perennial Grasses.


The PRAIRIE WINDS® Trademark is owned by Walters Gardens, Inc.

Intro Year: 2008

Breeder: Gary Trucks

Origin: Native Cultivar


  3 Feet
  18 Inches
Flower Color:
  Purple-red shades
Foliage Color:
  Purple shades
Hardiness Zone:
Find Your Zone
Sun or Shade?:
  Full sun (> 6 hrs. direct sun)
Wet or dry?:
  Low water needs
  Average water needs
  Consistent water needs
Need critter resistant plants?:
  Deer resistant
How fast should it grow?:
When should it bloom?:
  Late summer
Looking for seasonal interest?:
  Attractive Seed Heads
How's your soil?:
  Poor Soil
  Average Soil
  Fertile Soil
Sweet or Sour Soil?:
  Acidic Soil (pH < 7.0)
  Neutral Soil (pH = 7.0)
What's your garden style?:
  Rain Garden


Border plants
Cut flower or foliage
Dried flower or seed heads
Drought Tolerant
Mass Planting
Salt Tolerant
Grown for attractive foliage
Easy to grow


  Farwest Show -- Favorite Perennial/Grass 2008

Homeowner Growing & Maintenance Tips:

Panicum is native grass that is very easy to grow and is a good grass for beginners.  It will grow in any soil, from sand to clay, is drought tolerant once established, and even withstands periodic flooding.  Grow this grass in full sun.  It will tolerate light shade, but will flop over if the shade is too heavy. 

Panicum is wind and salt tolerant, making it a good choice for seaside gardens or along roads that are salted in winter.


Common/Botanical Name
Nepeta faassenii 'Walker's Low'
Common Name: Catmint
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Perovskia atriplicifolia
Common Name: Russian Sage
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Asclepias tuberosa
Common Name: Butterfly Weed
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Echinacea purpurea 'Red Knee High' PP20411
Common Name: Coneflower-Purple
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Sedum 'Mr. Goodbud' PP17671 COPF
Common Name: Stonecrop-Autumn
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Aster novi-belgii 'Alert'
Common Name: Aster-New York
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Euphorbia polychroma 'Bonfire' PP18585 COPF
Common Name: Spurge-Cushion
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Achillea millefolium 'Sunny Seduction' PP20808
Common Name: Yarrow
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While every effort has been made to describe this plant accurately, please keep in mind that the height, bloom time, and color may differ in various climates throughout the country. The description of this plant was written based on our experience growing it in Michigan (USDA hardiness zone 5) and on numerous outside resources.