Ozzy Osbourne would no doubt be a fan of this impressive switch grass with its tall upright habit and metallic blue colouring to the stems and leaves. In late summer pinkish tinged flowerheads add a couple of feet to its height, making Panicum Heavy Metal an imposing addition to any garden. Sun or semi-shade. Any reasonable soil, but not too dry. 3 feet + 2 litre pot.


Heavy Metal is a fairly recent introduction, a variety of Panicum Virgatum, a native of North America, where it grows in prairies and scrubland and is often seen in situations such as alongside railroad tracks (note the contextually appropriate Americanism). Heavy Metal has a good stiff upright and columnar habit, a wonderful blue sheen to the foliage, which is complemented by the frothy pinky purple inflorescences that dance atop the clump from late summer into autumn. In the latter season the foliage takes on yellow tones that fade to a tan or beige in winter, so it remains an attractive feature in the winter months if it is left alone before cutting back hard in early spring to allow the new growth to come through.

And that cutting back is the sole thing you really have to do in terms of care. Can’t be bad, can it?

Kurt Bluemel, who died in 2014 after a long career as a nurseryman and landscape designer in his adopted Maryland in the US, is the man we have to thank for developing Panicum Heavy Metal. You can read more about the man they called the king of grasses here.

Panicum Heavy Metal is a tall upright grass with metallic grey blue foliage and purple pink flowerheads in late summer suitable for sun or semi-shade.

Use this form if you wish to be informed when an out of stock plant becomes available.

Name *