Reed: planting and care rules, types, photos

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Reed: planting and care rules, types, photos
Reed: planting and care rules, types, photos

Characteristics of the reed, planting and care rules for cultivation in the open field, reproduction, protection against diseases and pests, notes for gardeners, species and varieties.

The reed (Phragmites) belongs to the genus of flora that are quite widespread on the globe, ranging from the poles to dry and hot deserts. These plants are classified as Gramineae or Poaceae. Scientists have combined about four species into this genus. The plant prefers to settle in the vicinity of water bodies.


It happens that the reed is mistakenly called "reed", but this is not true, since the latter belongs to another genus, included in the Cyperaceae family.

The plant is unpretentious to care for and is recommended for group planting, for the formation of coastal thickets or for the creation of a reed farm.

Family name Cereals or Bluegrass
Growing period Perennial
Vegetation form Herbaceous
Breeds Dividing curtains
Open ground transplant terms Spring period
Landing rules Immersion depth no more than 0.5 m, for some varieties 0.3 m
Priming Heavy and sufficiently hydrated, nutritious, clayey
Soil acidity values, pH 6, 5-7 (neutral)
Illumination level A place with good, but diffused lighting
Humidity level Regular and abundant watering when grown on land
Special care rules Apply top dressing
Height options 1-5 m
Flowering period All summer months
Type of inflorescences or flowers Dense panicles of flower spikelets
Color of flowers Purple
Fruit type Small seed grains
The timing of fruit ripening Since august
Decorative period Year-round
Application in landscape design Registration of coastal areas or swampy locations
USDA zone 4 and more

The reed is named after the Greek term "frachti", which translates as "hedge" or "fence". This is because reed thickets, resembling a fence, separate reservoirs from the ground.

The plant is a perennial with elongated rhizomes, spreading in different directions due to branching. It is this spread of the root system that contributes to the formation of the aforementioned thickets. The length of the roots may approach a 2 meter retaliation. The erect stem of the reed often reaches a height of 4–5 m. The stems are rounded in cross section, and have a cavity in the inner part. They are distinguished by high flexibility and are able to bend practically "lying" on the surface of the water surface, but without breaking off. At the same time, the walls of the stems are characterized by fleshiness and juiciness. When reed sprouts are still small in size, they can be used for food, their taste is somewhat similar to asparagus. The color of the stems is initially green, gradually becoming light beige.


The importance of reed thickets is very high, since, growing in swampy areas or swamps, such areas dry out. This is due to the fact that a large amount of moisture evaporates from the huge deciduous and stem mass, which is as if pumped out of a damp place.

Reed leaves are characterized by linear-lanceolate outlines. Leaves tend to rotate around the stem surface, which by nature is designed to compensate for the force of wind gusts. The foliage has a bluish-green color. Parallel venation can be seen on the leaf surface. The length of the sheet can vary from 30 cm to half a meter. The width of the leaves ranges from 0.5 cm to 2.5 cm. The leaf plates originate from the nodes, while being placed quite close to one another.

When the reed blooms, a dense panicle is formed, crowning the top of the stem. The flowering process occurs during all summer months. An inflorescence of 3–7 spikelets formed by flowers is formed. Their color is purple. In length, the inflorescence can be measured in the range of 25–30 cm, with a single spikelet reaching 0.5–1.7 cm.

Pollination of reed inflorescences occurs by means of the wind, and by the end of the August days, the plant ripens fruits, represented by small caryopses. The seeds do not lose their germination properties throughout the year. Each of the inflorescences becomes a source of 50,000-10,000 seeds.

For a long time, reed has been used both for decorative and for other purposes by mankind, while not requiring special efforts, therefore, if there is a highly humid location on the site or a reservoir (natural or artificial), you can always start growing such a cereal plant.

Rules for planting and caring for reeds when grown outdoors

The reed grows
The reed grows
  1. Landing place reed plants should be picked up near water, along the banks of river arteries or reservoirs (natural or artificial), or a location with swampy ground is suitable. It is best to choose an open and well-lit location, with warm climates preferred. It happens that direct sunlight deprives the reed leaves of their juiciness and rich greenish color, so a place with a little shade would be a good choice.
  2. Reed soil it is recommended to pick a heavy and long-term moisture-retaining. This is because the plant needs a lot of water and it is customary to use it to drain swampy areas. The best growth and flowering results are shown by reed on a nutritious and heavy substrate (for example, clay). Soil indicators are preferable neutral with a pH of 6, 5–7.
  3. Landing reed is performed at the end of April or with the arrival of May, when the soil on the site is fully warmed up. If it is decided to plant directly into the soil of the reservoir, then it is worth thinking about limiting the root system, growing, which will be at a high speed. You should not plant the plant in reservoirs with a film coating, since powerful roots can easily overcome such an obstacle from a steam film and break the waterproofing. You can plant reeds both in the reservoir itself and on its coastal part. When landing in a pond, the depth should not exceed half a meter. Some species, such as, for example, the variety Albavariyegata common reed, which does not tolerate deepening more than 0.3 m, are placed in shallow water.
  4. Watering when caring for reed plantations, it is necessary only when the plants are on land, next to a reservoir, and not in it. The soil should never dry out.
  5. Fertilizers for reeds will help maintain its growth rate, green foliage and lush flowering. So, during April-September, it is recommended to use mineral preparations in which there is a large amount of nitrogen and potassium: the first is necessary to build up green mass, and the second contributes to the laying of inflorescences. During the flowering period, phosphorus preparations are needed to maintain lush flowering. Often the reeds themselves are used for the production of fertilizers.
  6. Reed wintering. The plant is characterized by excellent frost resistance. Even if its shoots freeze over the winter, the root system will never suffer. There are gardeners who, before the frost hits, cut off the entire aerial reed part, however, if you want not to worsen the condition of the reservoir, then this is undesirable. This is because the constantly swaying stems will prevent the water surface from freezing, which will also contribute to the normal flow of oxygen into the water column, and this will have a beneficial effect on fish living in the reservoir.
  7. General advice on care. To use the inflorescences for decorative purposes, as well as to maintain the decorativeness of reed plantings, the stems with panicles from the spikelets should be cut off. Early spring is best suited for this.
  8. The use of reeds in landscaping. This representative of the family of cereals will feel great in damp and swampy places in the garden or in the pond itself, if there is one. Reed thickets will perfectly frame such a place of water. This is because plants have a long decorative period. If the reservoir is small, then it is recommended to grow reed varieties characterized by not too large stem height in it and plant them in containers. If you wish, you can collect inflorescences, which are actively used by florists when forming bouquets of dried flowers.

See also recommendations for caring for hedgehogs when growing on a personal plot.

How to breed reeds?

Reed in the ground
Reed in the ground

To obtain new reed plants, only the vegetative method is used, which consists in dividing the overgrown curtain or jigging parts of the rhizome. In rare cases, the seed propagation method is used.

Propagation of reed by pieces of rhizome

This method is pretty simple. It is recommended to engage in such breeding from mid-April to the end of summer days. This plant in agriculture is recognized as a weed that is rather difficult to remove. Since the root system tends to grow strongly, then when planting, you should definitely take care of its limitation.

In order to enjoy the reed beds on the personal plot next to the reservoir, and not to subsequently eradicate them, it is better to plant in a fairly deep container (basin or bucket). If there are no such, then the place where the pieces of reed roots will be placed should be limited. To do this, sheets of metal or plastic are dug in along the perimeter of the landing pit, you can take roofing material. The depth of placement of such plates should be 0.7–1 m.

Reed propagation by dividing the bush

This operation is somewhat similar to the previous one. They are also engaged in such breeding in the warm season (spring or summer). If the plant is located directly in the soil of the reservoir, then a part is cut off from it with the help of a shovel and transplanted to a new place. When keeping reeds in a container, you first have to remove the bush from the container and only then divide its root system into parts.

Reed propagation by seeds

This way is also the case. However, it should be remembered that seed germination decreases very quickly. Freshly harvested seed should be used for sowing. Sowing is carried out in winter. Seeds should be spread on the surface of the nutrient soil, laid in a container. Such a soil mixture can be ordinary garden soil, mixed for lightness and looseness with river sand, taken in a ratio of 1: 2. For germination of seedlings, you will need to provide good lighting and maintain heat indicators around the 20-degree mark.


Some gardeners germinated seeds even at temperatures of 8-10 degrees, but there should be a lot of light.

To control the growth of reed seedlings, it is better to grow them in separate containers. Care in itself involves constant moisture of the substrate. After the sprouts appear and the weather conditions are right, you can move the young plants into the pond.

Propagation of reed by cuttings

The stem nodes of the plant contain buds that give rise to lateral shoots and can be used for rooting. Planting is carried out in the winter, and such cuttings are kept in a warm and well-lit room until spring.

Read more about Liriope breeding

Potential Difficulties When Growing Reed Outdoors

Reed Leaves
Reed Leaves

The biggest problem in the cultivation of reed plantations is pest infestation:

  1. Spider mite which can appear on reeds due to increased dryness and heat. Then, small punctures become noticeable at the edges of the leaves, when insects pierce the foliage and suck out nutritious cell juices. The leaves quickly turn yellow, their surface, as well as the stems, begins to cover a thin whitish cobweb and the plant dies. For control, insecticidal agents such as Actellic or Fafunon should be used.
  2. Aphids, also feeds on cane juices. A colony of such green bugs grows very quickly and, moreover, leaves behind a sticky sugar coating, which contributes to the development of a sooty fungus. Also, aphids are dangerous due to their ability to carry viral diseases, which cannot be cured today. If the specified pest is found on the reed leaves, then treatment with a broad-spectrum insecticidal agent, for example, Karbofos or Aktara, should be carried out immediately.

Re-processing will be required in a week, since pests tend to lay eggs and viable individuals appear after 7-10 days. To destroy them, insecticide spraying is carried out.

The difficulty in growing reeds in the ground, and not next to a reservoir, is its abundant watering and warmth. Flowering, for example, does not occur on the territory of Ukraine, since the plant lacks the duration of the warm season. In the conditions of rooms, such plants are practically not grown, since they are characterized by a high growth rate and can easily reach indicators of 2–4 m in height.

Read also about the fight against possible pests and diseases when caring for black cohosh

Notes for gardeners about the cane plant

Blooming Reed
Blooming Reed

Thickets of this representative of cereals take an active part in the formation of peat. For a long time, people have used reed plantations as feed for large livestock, as well as various household crafts, which is facilitated by the flexibility and strength of the stems. Such products can be mats, various baskets and containers, as well as furniture characterized by lightness and airy outlines.

If the area where the reed grows is devoid of forests, then its stems are used as fuel or in paper production. It happens that such reed coverings adorn the roofs and walls of sheds and other buildings, fences and fences are made of them, and also used as a material that contributes to thermal insulation and a simple filler. There are craftsmen who even make wind musical instruments with the help of stems.

Since tender young cane shoots are characterized by fleshiness and juiciness, they are used for food, since their taste is somewhat similar to asparagus. In this case, the value is not only in the stems, but also in the roots of the plant. In the winter months, the calorie content reaches its peak and at the same time amounts to 260 kcal in 100 grams. Reed rhizomes can be eaten raw or baked or boiled.

Especially such a product served as a salvation as a surrogate in difficult times characterized by poor harvests. The roots of the reed were then dug up, cleared of soil, dried and then ground into flour. Such a substance was added to wheat or rye flour, and it could account for 80–90% of the total volume. However, despite the fact that cane flour contains a lot of starch and sugar, as well as more fiber, people who use such a product have pains. The man swelled up and a rather saggy belly grew up, which seemed to be filled with heaviness and pain.

Reed has long been known in folk medicine, as it contains ascorbic acid and vitamin A. Because of this, the plant is characterized by a diuretic effect and it is customary to prepare medicinal tinctures on its basis. A powder was obtained from the dried cane foliage, which was applied to festering and long-lasting wounds. Such a substance contributed to the recovery of the body. If you prepare a decoction from the leaves, then it helped to remove toxins from the body. Freshly squeezed cane juice was recommended for coughing up haemoptysis and fever, and it did an excellent job of relieving thirst. If an insect has bitten, then such a place should be smeared with juice.


To date, no contraindications to the use of preparations based on cane have been identified by doctors.

Types and varieties of cane

In the photo, Common reed
In the photo, Common reed

Common reed (Phragmites australis)

also found under the name Southern reed or Phragmites communis. Its growing area is spread over temperate climate zones around the globe, with preference given to water bodies or swampy substrate. Perennial, the stems of which reach 1–4 m in height. It has rather long and thickened rhizomes that grow creeping. Through this growth of the root system, thickets are formed that cover coastal areas near water bodies or on damp soils.

Erect reed stems have a large number of nodes. The diameter of the stems reaches 2 cm. After flowering ends, the stem is almost lignified and its green color becomes light brown or beige. The leaf plates of the southern reed are characterized by a grayish-green tint. The outlines of the leaves are wide and rather elongated, their surface is hard, and there is a sharp roughness at the edge. It happens that on the reverse side of the leaves there are long, rarely growing hairs.

When flowering, stretching from July to August, the formation of inflorescences occurs on the tops of the reed stems. It looks like a large dense panicle, varying in length from 8 to 40 cm. Such a panicle consists of a large number of well-aimed spikelets located separately. Their length is approximately 0, 6–1, 7 cm. The color of flowers in spikelets is brown-violet or has a yellowish tint. Spikelets have long hairs. Pollination takes place with the help of the wind. Under its gusts, foliage and flowers tend to be directed in one direction.

Today, the following varieties of common reed are used in landscape design:

  • Variegatus characterized by stems, layout ranging from one and a half to two meters. On the surface of the leaf plates, yellow stripes appear in the longitudinal plane. The growth rate is not as fast as that of a species growing in the wild, especially if the growing area has an arid climate, winter hardiness is also low.
  • Variegata justifies the name with foliage decorated with longitudinal stripes of whitish color. It is noteworthy that the leaves acquire a pinkish tint in cool conditions. The height of the stems is 1.2 m.
  • Candy Stripe the southern reed variety also has striped foliage, while the color of the markings is whitish and the leaves turn pink in cold weather.
  • Albavariegata has more delicate leaf plates with a variegated whitish color; when planting, it should be deepened no more than 30 cm.
  • Variegata Aureya characterized by stems reaching two meters, the leaves are covered with longitudinal yellow-colored stripes. The surface of the leaves is hard.

Spear reed

is a popular member of the genus that is grown in European territory. It prefers to settle near shallow water bodies and the flowering process takes place annually for many years. A characteristic feature of this variety is a wide dense rhizome, filled with a large amount of starch. The stem has a simple appearance and is devoid of knots. At its base, sheet plates tend to be placed on its surface in two rows. The leaves are rather small, but despite this they are oblong and have a solid edge.

In lance-shaped reeds, flowers are unisexual. Inflorescences with the structure of ears are formed from them. The color of the buds takes on brownish tones. Flowering also occurs in the summer. The juice that fills the stems of the plant will help to cope with thirst, but it still has healing properties. Therefore, it has been used for a long time for medicinal purposes.

Swamp reed

is a perennial with upright stems. The color of the plant is grayish green. The stem is characterized by a smooth surface and a rounded cross-section. Dense sheet plates with a sharp point at the top extend from it. The growth rate of this variety is very high, and the stems quickly reach a revenge of 4.5 m in height. The root system is elongated, giving growth to massive stems.

When flowering in a reed, bog inflorescences are also large in size. They crown the tops of the stems, and under the weight of such dense panicles, the stems droop down. Although the buds do not attract the eye with their appearance, they are distinguished by a rich purple hue. The flowering process starts in July and ends with the first days of autumn. Already at the end of summer, fruits ripen, which have the appearance of weevils. If this species is grown on swampy and nutritious soil, then this contributes to the formation of thickened thickets.

Wild reed

often found in natural conditions in dense forests and forest-steppes. This variety also grows in the valleys of river arteries and in low mountains. Since it "lives" in water, the growing season takes more than one year. The leaves are characterized by increased rigidity, which gives them the property not to suffer from the effects of ultraviolet fluxes. The outlines of the foliage are lanceolate. The surface of the stem is smooth and its color takes on gray or greenish tones.

When flowering begins (it falls in July), then fluffy panicle-shaped inflorescences form from the buds. Flowers in such a panicle are silvery. This variety is distinguished from others by a very long root system. It is she who becomes the cause of such dense natural reed beds. The plant feels great in swampy locations, on the banks of rivers or near small bodies of water. This variety feels best in a temperate climatic zone.

Related article: Planting and caring for an agrostemma in the open field

Video about growing cane in a personal plot:

Pictures of the cane:

Photo of Reed 1
Photo of Reed 1
Photo of Reed 2
Photo of Reed 2
Photo of Reed 3
Photo of Reed 3
Photo of Reed 4
Photo of Reed 4
Photo of Reed 5
Photo of Reed 5

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