How to Grow Panicum Plants

Guide to Growing Millet, Switchgrass, and Jungle Grass

Panicum plants are oriental grasses that carry leaves of 20 to 60 cm (8 to 24 inches)in length, and stems that range in height from 60 cm to 1.8 M in height (2 to 6 feet).

There are many types of Panicum that are grown in the garden. These may be hardy annuals, half hardy annuals or hardy perennial in nature.

Panicum flower in the summer either with tiny inflorescences or silky tassels. Some common names for Panicum include Switch Grass, Panic Grass and Broom Corn Millet.

Panicum grasses can be used to make brooms; bend the grass about 60 cm (2 feet) from the tip, and allow to dry out by hanging for about two weeks. The grass can now be cut and made into a broom.

Panicum virgatum
em>Panicum virgatum – Switchgrass by Matt Lavin; creative commons.

Proso Millet
Proso Millet and Hedge Sparrow / Dunnock Prunella modularis by David Jones; creative commons.

Panicum Plant Growing and Care Guide

Common Names: Millet, Switchgrass, Little Millet, Jungle Grass, Ghamur, Tumble-weed, Witch Grass, Mexican Panic Grass. Millet: Common; Proso; White; Hog.
Family: Poaceae.
Life Cycle: Half hardy annual, hardy annual. Hardy perennial.
Height: 12 to 120 inches (30 to 300 cm).
Native: North America, Europe, Asia, Australasia, Africa.
Growing Region: Zones 4 to 10.

Flowers: Summer.
Flower Details: Long panicles; up to 24 inches (60cm) long. Spikelets. Tassels.
Foliage: Blades. Linear. Flat. Long.

Sow Outside: 1/8 inch (3 mm); deeper in sandy soils. Germination time: three weeks. Temperature 60°F (16°C). Following the last frost. Spacing 12 to 50 inches (30 to 125 cm).
Sow Inside: No.

Requirements: Full sunlight or light shade. Good drainage. Moist soil is preferable. Can grow in sandy soils. Can survive in dry soils if grown in areas of light shade. Propagate perennials: dividing in the spring in cool areas, or in the autumn in warm areas.

How to Grow Switch Grass, Millet, and other Panicum Plants

It is best to grow Switch grass, Millet, and related Panicum plant species outdoors from seeds (or pre-purchase Panicum plants at a gardening center).

The seeds should be sown at a depth of about 3 mm (1/8th inch). Space at from 30 cm / 1 foot (small species) to 1.2 M / 4 feet apart (large varieties).

Switch grasses are able to grow in sunny or lightly parts of the garden and prefer to have a moist soil.

Caring for Switch grass - Panicum

If you want more Switch grass (Panicum) then they can be propagated by dividing them in the spring. It is best to divide the grass about every three years to maintain vigour.

I hope that you enjoyed this guide on how to grow Panicum plants. You may also enjoy the following Gardener's HQ growing guides: How to grow Needlegrass and Anemanthele plants.