chicagoland grows® Plant Introduction Program

Bad Hair Day Switchgrass PP#29313

Panicum ‘Bad Hair Day’ PP#29313



Bad Hair Day switchgrass is an intermediate to large-sized grass selection, growing to 71” tall by 88” wide in full inflorescence after three years in trial in northern Illinois (USDA Zone 5). Its stems are strongly upright, giving the plant a narrow silhouette until midsummer. The grayish, yellow-green foliage leaves are mostly pendulous, creating an attractive waterfall effect. The late-summer inflorescences are the most unique feature of this selection, as they are much denser than other switchgrasses, and also cascade like the foliage. The weeping inflorescences sway in the wind, creating a whimsical mop head appearance that gave it its “bad hair day” name. The cascading foliage and inflorescences persist well into autumn, turning an attractive light yellowish brown after going dormant. To our knowledge, this is the first switchgrass cultivar in the marketplace that is a hybrid of the bitter switchgrass (Panicum amarum) and of common switchgrass (P. virgatum). Panicum amarum is native to seashore sand dunes along the East Coast and across the Gulf states; combined with the attributes of P. virgatum, our selection is not only heat and cold tolerant, but may be more drought and salt tolerant than most switchgrasses. Developed by Dr. Jim Ault at the Chicago Botanic Garden. Hardy to USDA Zone 4 – 8.

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