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A wildlife wonder-Fringe! Switch Grass is a must-have for your wildlife-friendly garden. This bountiful native feeds countless insects with its handsome foliage, including many species of butterflies, moths, leafhoppers, grasshoppers, aphids, and plant bugs. But don’t worry that these critters will devour your plants! Songbirds will come to the rescue and keep populations in check. Many birds, such as cardinals, juncos, sparrows, and Mourning Doves will also be grateful for Switch Grass’s nutritious seeds in fall. In rural areas, stands of Switch Grass make great winter cover for ducks and gamebirds. Invaluable!
May Benefit & Attract: Thrushes, cardinals, juncos, sparrows, and doves.
Take Birds Under Your Wing
New! Introducing our bird-friendly collection of Audubon® Native Plants & Trees
- Better for Birds, 100% Neonic-Free
- Not Available in non-native regions, states or counties (see Native Regions map)
Bower & Branch is proud to grow Audubon® Native Plants for Birds in partnership with the National Audubon Society to help birds and other wildlife thrive.
- The National Audubon Society protects birds and the places they need, today and tomorrow
- This bird-friendly native plant provides food and shelter for local and migrating birds and other wildlife
- Your purchase and planting of this native flora directly supports Audubon’s conservation mission and impact
- Learn how you can help birds in your home and community through Audubon’s Plants for Birds program
- Audubon Native Plants & Trees are free of neonicotinoids and exclusively grown by Bower & Branch
Audubon® is a licensed and registered trademark of the National Audubon Society. All rights reserved.
- Hardiness Zone: 5-9
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Recommended by Our Growers
Switch Grass is an American Fringe that is native to basically the whole country except for the West Coast states, Alaska, and Hawaii. It is most fondly associated with the midwestern tallgrass prairie, where it once stood shoulder-to-shoulder with perennial Sunflowers, Big Bluestem, and other prairie plants for miles in all directions. With a sturdy root system that could delve down 10 feet in the loamy prairie soil, it was very resistant to drought and could spring back to life after wildfires. Unstoppable! In modern prairie restorations, it is often burned every few years in spring to help spur lush new growth.
It’s not just for the animals! Even if it didn’t provide so many benefits to birds and bugs, Switch Grass would be a wonderful addition to your landscape by virtue of its beauty. Standing firmly upright, it makes a statuesque column of fine foliage. The airy summer flowers and fall seedheads add a delicate touch.
How to Grow
Switch Grass is bulletproof. Simply plant it in a sunny location in any type of soil and provide regular irrigation during the establishment period. Once it has put down roots, it will be fairly drought tolerant. Switch Grass is also tolerant of periodic flooding, making it a good component in a rain garden. Icy weather doesn’t faze it either—ice may flatten it temporarily, but as soon as it melts, this perky Fringe pops right back up again. In late winter or early spring, cut back the old growth with manual or electric hedge trimmers or a bow saw to clear the way for new growth. Be patient—Switch Grass is one of the last plants to emerge in spring.
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