Upright Switch Grass (Panicum virgatum 'Northwind')

How to grow and hardiness: Full sun, also drought tolerant. Hardy to Zone 4. Grows five feet tall.
This impressive switch grass cultivar hails from Northwind Perennial Farm in Wisconsin.
'North Wind' has wide, green foliage and a strongly upright growth habit similar to that of 'Karl Foerster' feather reed grass (Calamagrostis x acutiflora, 'Karl Foerster'), but it blooms later.
In September, the plant sports attractive narrow flower plumes held erect atop the foliage. Foliage and flowers become tawny gold in fall and this color persists through the winter.
This plant is my favorite switch grass cultivar - its strong vertical habit and vigorous growth makes this one of the handsomest of the switch grasses

Growing switch grasses in the garden

Panicum virgatum is a long-lived, warm-season grass.
Typically, it starts to grow in late spring, thriving in the heat of summer and flowering profusely in July or August. When the airy flowers open they are often attractively tinged with pink.
Switch grass cultivars are drought-tolerant once established, and they also tolerate soggy soils, which means they grow well in spots that are wet in early spring.
In his book, The Color Encyclopedia of Ornamental Grasses, Rick Darke, notes that self-sowing is usually minimal, but that it can be prolific on open moist soil. "This," he says, "can be valuable for naturalizing, but can be a problem when attempting to maintain uniform sweeps of clonal cultivars, since seedlings often differ noticeably from parents."