This native plant can easily be grown in average, medium to wet soils in full sun to part shade. Tolerates wide range of soils, including dry ones, but prefers moist, sandy or clay soils. Tends to flop in rich soils. Generally best in full sun. Will grow in part shade, but begins to lose its columnar form in too much shade, growing more openly and possibly falling over. Grows primarily in clumps, but may infrequently spread by rhizomes. Also may self-seed in optimum growing conditions, however, 'Heavy Metal' does not come true from seed and self-seeded plants may be best removed from a planting to preserve the uniformity of the foliage color. Cut back clumps to the ground in late winter to early spring
'Heavy Metal' is a switch grass cultivar which features metallic-blue foliage and a columnar form. It is a clump-forming, warm season grass which typically grows in an upright, vertical clump to 3' tall (to 5' when in flower). Stems typically retain vertical form without flopping throughout the growing season and into winter. Features metallic-blue leaves which turn yellow in autumn, fading to tan-beige in winter. Foliage clump is topped in mid-summer by finely-textured, pink-tinged, branched flower panicles which hover over the foliage like an airy cloud. Panicles turn straw-yellow as the seeds mature fading to beige in winter. Seed plumes persist well into winter providing visual interest as well as food for birds.