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Arundo donax

giant reed

A deciduous rhizomatous perennial, forming spreading clumps of bamboo-like stems to 5m, with arching, strap-shaped blue-green leaves and large terminal purplish flower panicles

Other common names
distaff cane
great reed
see morereed grass
Spanish cane
vineyard cane
water reed
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Size
Ultimate height
4–8 metres
Time to ultimate height
5–10 years
Ultimate spread
1–1.5 metres
Growing conditions
Chalk
Clay
Loam
Sand
Moisture
Moist but well–drained, Poorly–drained, Well–drained
pH
Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Colour & scent
StemFlowerFoliageFruit
Spring Blue Green
Summer Blue Green
Autumn Purple Blue Green
Winter
Position
  • Full sun
Aspect

East–facing or South–facing or West–facing

Exposure
Sheltered
Hardiness
H4
Botanical details
Family
Poaceae
Native to the UK
No
Foliage
Deciduous
Habit
Tufted
Genus

Arundo are a genus of tall, robust, evergreen grass-like perennials, some reed-like in appearance, which are native to southern Europe, North Africa and temperate Asia

Name status

Correct

Plant range
Mediterranean

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How to grow

Cultivation

Easy to grow in any soil but prefers moist situations. To encourage flowering cut back stems after their second year. This plant is listed on Schedule 9 of The Wildlife (Northern Ireland) Order (1985), as amended, as an invasive non-native species. While this does not prevent it from being sold or being grown in gardens in Northern Ireland, the RHS encourages those that do grow it to take great care with managing it and with disposing of unwanted material. The RHS also encourages gardeners in Northern Ireland to find alternative plants to grow to those listed on Schedule 9. For suggested alternative plants see the Plantlife/RHS guide, Gardening without harmful invasive plants

Propagation

Propagate by seed, sown in containers in a cold frame in spring or by division in early summer

Suggested planting locations and garden types
  • Cottage and informal garden
  • Architectural
  • Wildflower meadow
  • Flower borders and beds
Pruning

Leaves can be cut off when they die back in late autumn

Pests

Generally pest free

Diseases

Generally disease free

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