Common Name: bullrush
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Zone: 4 to 10
Height: 3.00 to 5.00 feet
Spread: 1.50 to 3.00 feet
Bloom Time: July to November
Bloom Description: Yellow (male) and green (female)
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Suggested Use: Water Plant, Naturalize, Rain Garden
Easily grown in rich loams in full sun to part shade in water to 12” deep. Cattails are aggressive colonizers that if left unrestrained will crowd out most other marginal plants. Plant in containers or tubs to restrain spread. If planted directly in the muddy shallows of ponds or pools, site plants carefully because the roots go deep and are hard to eradicate once established. Plants may self-seed.
Graceful cattail is native to marshes and wetlands in Europe and Asia. It is a marginal aquatic perennial that spreads by creeping rhizomes to form dense colonies in shallow water. Features narrow, upright, sword-like, linear, mostly basal, green leaves (to 5’ tall) and a stiff, unbranched central flower stalk that is typically equal to or slightly less than the height of the leaves. Plants are monoecious, with each flower stalk being topped by two sets of minute flowers densely packed into a cylindrical inflorescence. Yellowish male (staminate) flowers are located at the top of the inflorescence and greenish female (pistillate) flowers are located underneath. In this species, the staminate and pistillate flowers are separated by a gap of up to 2” of stalk. Flowers bloom in summer. After bloom, the male flowers rapidly disperse, leaving a naked stalk tip. The pollinated female flowers turn brown as the seeds mature, forming the familiar cylindrical, sausage-like, cattail fruiting spike (to 4” long in this species). Foliage turns yellow-brown in autumn. Fruiting spikes usually persist to early winter before disintegrating. Cattails are valued for both fresh and dried flower arrangements. Large stands of cattails serve as important nesting areas and cover for wildlife. Synonymous with T. stenophylla.
No serious insect or disease problems. Aggressive spreader outside of containers.