Learn About Panicum

How to Sow

How to Plant

Planting Potted Plants:

  • Choose a location in full sun with moist, well-drained soil.
  • Prepare the bed by turning the soil under to a depth of 6-12 inches removing any debris, and lightly raking as level as possible.
  • The addition of organic matter (leaf mold, compost, well-rotted manure) benefits all gardens and is essential in recently constructed neighborhoods.
  • Plant on a cloudy day or in late afternoon to reduce transplant shock.
  • Dig a hole for each plant large enough to amply accommodate the root ball.
  • Unpot the plant and gently loosen the root ball with your hands to encourage good root growth.
  • Place the top of the root ball even with the level of the surrounding soil. Fill with soil to the top of the root ball. Press soil down firmly with your hand.
  • Use the plant tag as a location marker.
  • Thoroughly water and apply a light mulch layer on top of the soil (1-2 inches) to conserve water and reduce weeds.

How to Grow

  • Keep weeds under control during the growing season. Weeds compete with plants for water, space and nutrients, so control them by either cultivating often or use a mulch to prevent their germination.
  • Mulches also help retain soil moisture and maintain even soil temperatures. For perennials, an organic mulch of aged bark or shredded leaves lends a natural look to the bed and will improve the soil as it breaks down in time. Always keep mulches off a plant’s stems to prevent possible rot.
  • Careful watering is essential in getting perennials off to a good start. Water thoroughly at least once a week to help new roots grow down deeply. Soil should be damp at about 1 inch below the soil surface. You can check this by sticking your finger in the soil. Water early in the morning to give all leaves enough time to dry. One inch of rain or watering per week is recommended for most perennial plants. You can check to see if you need to add water by using a rain gauge.
  • Until plants become established, some protection from extreme winds and direct, hot sunlight may be necessary. Good air movement is also important.
  • After new growth appears, a light fertilizer may be applied. Keep granular fertilizers away from the plant crown and foliage to avoid burn injury. Use low rates of a slow release fertilizer such as Garden-tone, as higher rates may encourage root rots.
  • Cut plants back in March before new growth appears.

Growing tips

  • Cut some seed heads for dried flower arrangements, but leave some to provide food for wildlife over the winter, as well as winter interest in the garden.
  • Panicum is tolerant of drought, wet soils and salt once established.

Common Pests and Problems

Common Disease Problems

Alternaria Leaf Spot: Small, round reddish brown spots with white to grey centers form on the upper surface of the leaves and along the midrib. The lesions may encircle the stems and cause wilt. This disease is worse in warm, wet or very humid weather. Burpee Recommends: Avoid getting water on the foliage. Remove infected plant parts and do not work around wet plants. Provide plenty of air circulation. Contact your Cooperative Extension Service for fungicide recommendations.

Anthracnose: This is a fungus disease causes brown spots with purple edges on the leaves. The spots turn black in the center; leaves become yellow, dry and fall off. The fungus overwinters in diseased plant debris. Burpee Recommends: Avoid overhead watering which can spread the fungus spores. Keep a clean garden, remove and discard all diseased plant material. Use a mulch to prevent spores from splashing from the soil onto plants.

Root Rots: A number of pathogens cause root rots. Burpee Recommends: Pull up and discard infected plants. Make sure your soil has excellent drainage. Contact your Cooperative Extension Service for recommendations.

Rust: A number of fungus diseases that cause rust colored spots on foliage and stalks. Burpee Recommends: Remove infected plants. Contact your Cooperative Extension Service for recommendations.

Septoria Leaf Spot: It is most severe during rainy seasons in closely planted gardens. It usually appears when the plants begin to set fruit. Circular spots with gray centers and dark margins appear on the lower older leaves. Fungal spores are produced and darken the center of the spots. There is a progressive loss of foliage.  Burpee Recommends: Remove and destroy infected plant debris. Don't handle or brush against plants when they are wet. Rotate plantings. Remove weeds growing nearby

Common Pest and Cultural Problems

Aphids: Greenish, red, black or peach colored sucking insects can spread disease as they feed on the undersides of leaves. They leave a sticky residue on foliage that attracts ants. Burpee Recommends: Introduce or attract natural predators into your garden such as lady beetles and wasps who feed on aphids. You can also wash them off with a strong spray, or use an insecticidal soap.

Japanese Beetles: Burpee Recommends: Hand pick early in the morning into a bucket of soapy water.

Spider Mites: These tiny spider-like pests are about the size of a grain of pepper. They may be red, black, brown or yellow. They suck on the plant juices removing chlorophyll and injecting toxins which cause white dots on the foliage. There is often webbing visible on the plant. They cause the foliage to turn yellow and become dry and stippled. They multiply quickly and thrive in dry conditions. Burpee Recommends: Spider mites may be controlled with a forceful spray every other day. Try hot pepper wax or insecticidal soap. Check with your Cooperative Extension Service for miticide recommendations.

Stink Bugs: These are brown shield-shaped bugs that pierce the surface of seeds, foliage or fruit through their mouthparts and feed on the inner contents. When handled they produce an unpleasant odor that give them their common name. They can be a problem in homes as well as gardens. Burpee Recommends: In the garden you can hand pick and crush them. They will emit an odor, but that serves to warn other stink bugs in the area. There are traps available designed for stink bugs specifically. Contact your local Cooperative Extension Service for recommendations.

Thrips: Thrips are tiny needle-thin insects that are black or straw colored. They suck the juices of plants and attack flower petals, leaves and stems. The plant will have a stippling, discolored flecking or silvering of the leaf surface. Thrips can spread many diseases from plant to plant. Burpee Recommends: Many thrips may be repelled by sheets of aluminum foil spread between rows of plants. Remove weeds from the bed and remove debris from the bed after frost. Check with your Cooperative Extension Service for pest controls.

FAQ

Can I grow panicum in containers? We do not recommend panicum in containers because of its tall height.

Is panicum deer resistant? Yes, it is a deer resistant plant.

When should I divide panicum? We recommend dividing panicum in early spring just when the new growth appears.

I have a wet location, will panicum works there? Yes, panicum tolerates wet locations, as well as drought.

Does panicum attract pollinators? Yes, it attracts birds and butterflies.

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