• AGM plants

    AGM plants have been through a rigorous trial and assessment programme. They are:

    • Excellent for ordinary use in appropriate conditions
    • Available to buy
    • Of good constitution
    • Essentially stable in form & colour
    • Reasonably resistant to pests & diseases

Phragmites australis

common reed

common reed

© RHS 2002

  • Other common names common reed

    Danube grass
    ditch reed
    Norfolk reed
    pole reed
    spire reed

    see more
  • Synonyms Arundo phragmites
    Phragmites communis

    Phragmites isiaca

    see more
  • Family Poaceae

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

  • Details 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


  • Foliage Deciduous

  • Habit Tufted

  • Hardiness

    Hardiness ratings

    All ratings refer to the UK growing conditions unless otherwise stated. Minimum temperature ranges (in degrees C) are shown in brackets

    • H1a - Under glass all year (>15C)
    • H1b - Can be grown outside in the summer (10 - 15)
    • H1c - Can be grown outside in the summer (5 - 10)
    • H2 - Tolerant of low temperatures, but not surviving being frozen (1 to 5)
    • H3 - Hardy in coastal and relatively mild parts of the UK (-5 to 1)
    • H4 - Hardy through most of the UK (-10 to -5)
    • H5 - Hardy in most places throughout the UK even in severe winters (-15 to -10)
    • H6 - Hardy in all of UK and northern Europe (-20 to -15)
    • H7 - Hardy in the severest European continental climates (< -20)




  • Full Sun

  • Aspect South-facing or West-facing

  • Exposure Exposed or Sheltered


  • Chalk


  • Chalk


  • Chalk


  • Chalk


  • MoisturePoorly-drained, Moist but well-drained

  • SoilSand, Clay, Loam, Chalk

  • pHNeutral, Acid, Alkaline


  • Ultimate height 2.5-4 metres

  • Ultimate spread 2.5-4 metres

  • Time to ultimate height 5-10 years

How to grow

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

Propagation Propagate by division from early spring to early summer

Suggested planting locations and garden types Wildflower meadow Wildlife Gardens

How to care

Pruning Cut back in late autumn or winter

Pests Generally pest free

Diseases Generally disease free

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