DESCRIPTION: Karl Foerster Reed Grass is primarily grown for its highly ornamental fruit. The tan seed heads are carried on showy plumes displayed in abundance from late summer to late winter....
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DESCRIPTION: Karl Foerster Reed Grass is primarily grown for its highly ornamental fruit. The tan seed heads are carried on showy plumes displayed in abundance from late summer to late winter. It features bold plumes of rose flowers rising above the foliage in mid summer. Its grassy leaves are green in colour. The foliage often turns tan in fall. The gold stems can be quite attractive.

BOTANICAL NAME: Calamagrostis acutifolia 'Karl Foerster'
AVERAGE MATURE HEIGHT: 150 cm
AVERAGE MATURE SPREAD: 80 cm
SUN EXPOSURE: Full sun to partial shade
FLOWER COLOUR: Feathery flowers are initially light pink in colour maturing into beautiful stiff wheat-coloured seed heads that last well into winter
FLOWERING TIME: Late summer 
FOLIAGE COLOUR: Green
COLD HARDINESS: Zone 3 ( Should survive up to -39.9° Celsius )
WATER NEEDS: Average to dry - Drought tolerant
OTHER FEATURES: Border, Cut Flower, Deer Resistant, Rabbit Resistant, Winter Interest, Very Popular

Landscape Attributes

Karl Foerster Reed Grass is an herbaceous perennial grass with an upright spreading habit of growth. It brings an extremely fine and delicate texture to the garden composition and should be used to full effect.

This plant will require occasional maintenance and upkeep, and is best cut back to the ground in late winter before active growth resumes. It has no significant negative characteristics.

Karl Foerster Reed Grass is recommended for the following landscape applications:

  • Vertical Accent
  • Mass Planting
  • General Garden Use
  • Groundcover
  • Naturalizing And Woodland Gardens
  • Container Planting

Planting & Growing

Karl Foerster Reed Grass will grow to be about 4 feet tall at maturity, with a spread of 32 inches. It tends to be leggy, with a typical clearance of 1 foot from the ground, and should be underplanted with lower-growing perennials. It grows at a medium rate, and under ideal conditions can be expected to live for approximately 10 years.

This plant does best in full sun to partial shade. It is very adaptable to both dry and moist locations, and should do just fine under typical garden conditions. It is not particular as to soil type or pH. It is highly tolerant of urban pollution and will even thrive in inner city environments. This particular variety is an interspecific hybrid. It can be propagated by division; however, as a cultivated variety, be aware that it may be subject to certain restrictions or prohibitions on propagation.

Karl Foerster Reed Grass is a fine choice for the garden, but it is also a good selection for planting in outdoor pots and containers. With its upright habit of growth, it is best suited for use as a 'thriller' in the 'spiller-thriller-filler' container combination; plant it near the center of the pot, surrounded by smaller plants and those that spill over the edges. Note that when growing plants in outdoor containers and baskets, they may require more frequent waterings than they would in the yard or garden. Be aware that in our climate, most plants cannot be expected to survive the winter if left in containers outdoors, and this plant is no exception.

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