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Arundo donax

Arundo donax
Two years after planting
giant reed
Flowers in late summer
Arundo donax
Cute side shoots

Common name giant reed
Family poaceae
Life cycle perennial (Z6-11)
Flowers purplish (late summer)
Size to 20'
Light sun
Cultural notes prefers moist soil

Very tall grass, with corn-like leaves. Ours doesn't get as much water as it would prefer. But it still rises to close to the full 20-foot stature predicted by gardening sources, and thus qualifies as the tallest herbaceous perennial in our garden. The stalks get whipped around a bit in autumn storms, but they usually stay upright through winter; by spring, they are dry, like bamboo canes (although not quite as sturdy). My kids have at times used them as lances, so most years I try to discreetly dispose of them in spring cleanup.

giant reed
The canes in late December – wind-battered, but still towering over everything in their vicinity.
Arundo donax
The plants spread by underground roots – in my case, not terribly aggressively, but still enough to have produced a bit of a forest on the slope behind our bog after six years of expanding. This photo is from mid-May, before they zoom upward.
giant reed
Home-grown tomato stake
Arundo donax
Impressive stand by mid-September

We left this plant behind in our Pennsylvania garden (and wish it well); we don't grow it in Houston.

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