image by Mark Nesbitt/flickr.com
Once a staple on the American prairie, panicgrass is now becoming a staple of ornamental grasses in landscaping. Beaked panicgrass, a member of the panicum family, is prized for its 4-foot tall height, wide blades and attractive drooping seed heads. The blades remain green year-round, it flowers in summer and it produces seed in autumn, supplying feed to wintering birds as well as interest to the winter landscape. A self-seeding and a rhizome-growing perennial, panicgrass returns year after year with minimal maintenance.
Sow seeds in fall or early winter while the ground is still thawed enough to work. Sow rhizomes from December into April.
Choose a partially shaded planting area with moist soil such as near a marsh, near drainage areas or close to water features. Panicgrass is well suited as an erosion control method in your landscaping.
Space rhizomes three feet apart or sow five to ten seeds every three feet. Not all seeds will germinate so oversowing of seeds is recommended.
Sow seeds on the soil surface and cover with 1/4-inch of soil. Plant rhizomes so the top is just below the soil surface.
Keep soil moist during periods of drought; otherwise natural rainfall and soil moisture is sufficient. Minimal overwatering will not harm panicgrass.