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Groundbreaking! Most Switch Grasses either have blue foliage or they have green leaves with red highlights. Ruby Ribbons® has both! This special Fringe sports handsome, metallic blue basal foliage tipped with deep red accents. As the season progresses, even more red pigment appears, and airy, dark red plumes also arise. Site Ruby Ribbons® where it will catch the sun’s rays, and it will glow like stained glass, becoming the star of your landscape. Use it as a single focal point, or plant it en masse if you really want to create some drama.
Although Switch Grass has graced our wild landscapes for millennia, it is only in recent years that it has gotten respect in this country as a garden plant. Now Fringes are hot, and Switch Grass is one of the hottest. Ruby Ribbons® is a relatively new selection that was developed at the University of Connecticut by Dr. Mark Brand. Dr. Brand crossed the silvery blue Heavy Metal Switch Grass with the red-tipped Haense Herms Switch Grass in 2002 to produce seed, and from that seed he grew 300 seedlings. One Fringe was the best of the lot—with both blue and red markings. Ruby Ribbons® was born.
Ruby Ribbons® Switch Grass has that perfect combination of attributes to please the impatient gardener: it is a fast grower, yet it stays compact. This Fringe will bulk up quickly and make a great show, but it will never overwhelm the space it’s given. It looks sharp in a pot, too.
How to Grow
Ruby Ribbons® 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. Ruby Ribbons® 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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