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Phragmites australis

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© RHS 2002

Characteristics

Plant type

Bog or Grass-like

Habit

Tufted

Resilience

Hardiness

H7 (very hardy)

Colour

Flower

Dark Purple in Autumn and Summer

Foliage

Brown in Autumn
Green in Spring and Summer

Size

Ultimate height

2.5-4 metres

Ultimate spread

2.5-4 metres

Time to ultimate height

5-10 years


Preferred common name

common reed

Family

Poaceae


Phragmites are vigorous rhizomatous perennial grasses with linear leaves and large feathery purple panicles of flowers in late summer

P. australis is an invasive grass to 3m in height, forming an extensive colony of erect, leafy stems with drooping linear leaves which turn light brown in autumn, and terminal dark purple flowering panicles from late summer

Other common names

  • bennels
  • carrizo
  • Danube grass
  • ditch reed
  • nal
  • Norfolk reed
  • pole reed
  • spire reed
  • spires

Synonym(s)

  • Arundo phragmites
  • Phragmites communis
  • Phragmites isiaca

How to grow

Sunlight

  • Full sun

Aspect

  • South-facing or West-facing
  • Exposed or Sheltered

Cultivation

Grow in deep, moderately fertile, reliably moist soil in full sun

Soil

  • Poorly-drained or Moist but well-drained
  • Neutral, Acid or Alkaline
  • Sand, Clay, Loam or Chalk

Propagation

Propagate by division from early spring to early summer

Suggested planting locations and garden types

Wildflower meadow or Wildlife Gardens


How to care

Pruning

Cut back in late autumn or winter

Pests

Generally pest free

Diseases

Generally disease free