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NC State Extension

Panicum Elegans ‘Frosted Explosion’

Panicum elegans 'Frosted Explosion'

Trial: Annual

Year Trialed: 2008

Good Qualities:

In a bouquet, it added an airy feature; Good filler, dries well; Lacy filler, not the norm, pleasing shape (upside down cone); Liked to use these early on until they ‘exploded’, this explains for low stem counts; Feathery, light appearance was very complimentary to other cut flowers, vast majority of stems were 18-20 inches, very few were shorter; Light airy texture; nice green color with darker panicles, great as a filler both fresh and dried, the most popular flower in our ASCFG cut flower trials; I especially liked this grass in its less mature, tufted stage – like a fine grass tassel on a stem! Made a very textural filler – nice bright green color, nice long useful life in field, will definitely be growing this again!; One of the most productive, in demand crops I grew, we never had enough and sowed twice plus cut from a batch of volunteers, this stuff is so easy to grow, easy to cut, the wholesaler and grocery stores love it and consumers can’t get enough; Very cool plant, everyone loved it; Frosted Explosion was easy to germinate, transplant, and grew vigorously, in fact it responded well to watering and fertilizing; Easy to grow, wonderful customer approval, long lasting and great filler for bouquets; Unusual flower type.

Problems:

None (2); Too short (2); Looked too much like a weed for most people; Fragile; Stems can bend; Cut in early development or the tops become thin and brittle; First cut produced huge number of stems, following cuts weren’t as lucrative; Longer stems would be desirable; Will grow it again, for sure, and hope for longer stems, but even short, it was a winner!; Hard to use after it started to branch, maybe additional sowings would be better, sheds some seeds; All plants were almost dead, the results are from 1 small plant that barely survived, not sure cause of stress.

Similar Cultivars:

Native switch grass, a weed here!; No; There is a weedy grass in my fields that is identical to ‘Frosted Explosion’, I do not water or fertilize the weed but it grew similar to the cultivar and had the same inflorescence, in fact I have used the weed years previously in bouquets, for my customers, it was too common as they all have it as a weed in their gardens as well.

Comments:

I think I planted these too close, I didn’t love it, but New England doesn’t have the love for grasses that some areas do, what I do love is how it works as a dried “flower”; Adds a natural look to informal bouquets; Perennial grass/ we grow as annual looks like our wild grass which we cut; Died in a cold weather snap in early spring; Japanese beetles enjoyed hanging out in the feathery ends, but thankfully didn’t seem to eat foliage; Crop failure, was weeded out, this is a weedy annual grass here in Wisconsin; Should be cut flower of the year!; Love it!; Lasted for the entire growing season, everyone remarked about it and wanted to know what it was.

Postharvest:

Choose green inflorescences that are just getting a bronze tip to avoid messy arrangements; Water and bleach; Cut into Floralife; We only used plain water.

Trial Data

Panicum elegans ‘Frosted Explosion’
Yield (stems/plant) Stem Length (inches) Market Appreciation Rating – Wholesale (1) Market Appreciation Rating – Retail (1) Market Appreciation Rating – Consumer (1) Repeat Again Rating (1) Ease of Cultivation Rating (1) Average Spacing (in2) Average Postharvest Life (days)
Average 13.5 17.9 4.3 4.0 3.8 3.6 4.6 107 10.5
Range of Responses 1-54 8-30 3-5 2-5 2-5 1-5 4-5 18-288 7-14

(1) 1 to 5 scale, with 5 being the best. Market ratings are based on sales to wholesalers, retailers, or final consumers direct.

Supplier

Fred C. Gloeckner Company

600 Mamaroneck Ave.

Harrison, NY 10528-1613

www.fredgloeckner.com