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PlantFiles: Striped Giant Reed
Arundo donax 'Variegata'

Family: Poaceae (poh-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Arundo (a-RUN-doh) (Info)
Species: donax (DON-aks) (Info)
Cultivar: Variegata

Synonym:Arundo donax var. versicolor
Synonym:Arundo versicolor

3 vendors have this plant for sale.

17 members have or want this plant for trade.

Ornamental Grasses and Bamboo

12-15 ft. (3.6-4.7 m)

8-10 ft. (2.4-3 m)

USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:

Bloom Time:
Late Summer/Early Fall
Mid Fall

Grown for foliage

Other details:
May be a noxious weed or invasive
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater
This plant is resistant to deer
Provides winter interest

Soil pH requirements:
Unknown - Tell us

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
By dividing the rootball
By dividing rhizomes, tubers, corms or bulbs (including offsets)
By air layering

Seed Collecting:
N/A: plant does not set seed, flowers are sterile, or plants will not come true from seed

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There are a total of 26 photos.
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10 positives
4 neutrals
1 negative

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive kilifi On Jun 28, 2014, kilifi from London
United Kingdom wrote:

I've got one and think its very attractive. Used it at the back of a mixed border plan for contrast on a horticulture course I've just completed and was marked down (still got a distinction). I think my tutor confused it with the more aggressive form Arundo donax. Variegata is much smaller and in the U.K. is considered tender and not invasive. Indeed it was used by Christopher Lloyd and is still found in Great Dixter garden. Sorry tutor, I think you were wrong and it's a useful plant which is often maligned because of its relative.

Negative vedderschik On Apr 3, 2013, vedderschik from Lasana, TX wrote:

I noticed a lot of posts regarding the growing of this plant, which has not been an experience of my own. I'm currently working under a grant, along withmany other colleagues, to study water quality in the lower Rio Grande Valley in South Texas. Our research has shown that Arundo donax, giant reed grass, is in fact an invasive species. It's roots can grow estend downwards up to three meters and they use much of the water reserved for agricultural purposes. Research indicates that it is an invasive species here and many other states as well, even being banned in certain states.

Here's an interesting read on it.....and possibly it's future...

Positive Sueinarkansas On Jul 20, 2012, Sueinarkansas from Prescott, AR wrote:

LOVE this plant. This is my second year with it, and last year I thought it was too tall, so I tried cutting it back, and it worked great. It will branch out (send out shoots) from the point where it was cut, so this is a great way to keep it shorter, and full.

Positive Rebeccatowoc On Sep 13, 2010, Rebeccatowoc from Stewart, TN wrote:

I spotted this plant growing in a stranger's yard, stopped to inquire about it, and was told it was "jungle grass." I finally found some at a nursery and planted it in a raised bed. It grew beautifully. Too much! I like it a lot but it is right in the middle of a view. My bad! Do you think if I move it out of the raised bed into poor clay soil it will survive?

Positive BJames1 On Jan 31, 2010, BJames1 from Elizabeth City, NC (Zone 8a) wrote:

Despite the introduction of Arundo donax 'Peppermint Stick' and other improved forms of Giant Reed, I still like my 'Variegata'. Its change in color from very bright white margins in the spring to a yellowish-green during the summer and fall months adds much more emphasis to this plant over the others. It is never the same each month. I will be the first to admit to you that this grass gets to be HUGE in proportion. However, if properly sited, 'Variegata' and other similar cultivars of Arundo grass are some of the most exotic and ornamental grasses avaliable to the home gardener. It adds great architecture and vertical form to the garden, while being at the top of the list of the most tropical grasses one can have for added drama. Due to its huge potential size, it needs room for its massive clumping-forming spread. Despite its tendency to grow in girth, it is nothing compared to running bamboo--not even close. 'Variegata' is very versatile, resenting only the most arid and dry of conditions and wet, shady sites. I not sure if it grows in standing water or not, but it loves to be on the sunny, wet side. There is no need to worry if you don't own low-lying land or a bog, however, as my 'Variegata' grows very well under typical garden conditions. This grass is not for small gardens, but it has definitely earned its place as king of exotic temperate-world grasses.

Positive mswestover On Oct 3, 2009, mswestover from Yulee, FL (Zone 9a) wrote:

Started with a three inch high plug with a couple of sprigs of growth. It is now about six feet high and two feet around. I keep it in a dry area because I can see it would love to spread everywhere.

Positive riocloudy On Aug 13, 2007, riocloudy from Nevada, MO wrote:

One of the showiest plants in the spring garden. It freezes back to the ground here in zone 5b but comes back in the spring from the ground. Thought I had lost it with the late April freeze in 2007, but no it went to the ground and bounced right back.

Positive Turken On Apr 8, 2007, Turken from Lower Lake, CA wrote:

Although it is invasive in creek beds etc. It in not invasive where I live. I have a 20 year old grove of it. Great for privacy and wind blockage. I use cut stalks for garden poles and animal feed.

Positive Jay_9 On Sep 25, 2006, Jay_9 from Jersey
United Kingdom (Zone 9a) wrote:

Seems to be 2 versions available? Plain A. donax 'variegata' with white stripes and A. donax 'versicolor' with cream stripes as well as the normal green. My garden centre has all 3 on sale. Grows best here (zone 9a, South coast UK) in wet, but tolerates dry soil well.

Neutral Gabrielle On May 25, 2006, Gabrielle from (Zone 5a) wrote:

Also known as 'Versicolor'.

Positive blckwolf256 On Apr 7, 2005, blckwolf256 from Springville, AL (Zone 7a) wrote:

I just love this plant. They start out striped...but as the season moves on, they loose the white stripe, and turn dusty green. I never cut mine back, because the brown stalks get leaves again the next year.
I don't have a problem with it taking over, because I mow weekly around the area I have it growing.

Positive Toxicodendron On Sep 23, 2004, Toxicodendron from Piedmont, MO (Zone 6a) wrote:

My plant starts out with a good deal of white striping, but as summer progresses, I see a lot more yellow and less white in the leaves. Dies to the ground each winter, so it is not invasive here in zone 6. Appreciates watering but is drought tolerant, nonetheless. No insect problems so far. Mine is in partial shade, which causes the stems to lean and stretch, so I think full sun would be better.

Neutral gardenwife On Apr 29, 2004, gardenwife from Newark, OH (Zone 5b) wrote:

Where I live, it dies back to the root every year and does not spread much.

Neutral dave On Apr 16, 2004, dave wrote:

This is common to everywhere I've ever lived. It was growing wild in Tennessee, Georgia, and Texas. It looks like a huge corn stalk (10' or higher) and partially resembles bamboo. It puts out a corn-like tassle on the top.

It is extremely invasive, apparantly, taking over creeks and riversides.

Neutral talinum On Sep 2, 2001, talinum from Kearney, NE (Zone 5a) wrote:

LEAVES: Leaf blades are 1" to 2" wide and can be as long as 3' to 4'. Leaves are smooth, blue-green, alternate on the stem, and arching. The stems are 1 1/4" in diameter. The leaves resemble those of a corn plant.

FLOWERS: The inflorescence is a many-branched panicle, up to 24" long, usually erect, which is at first a reddish brown, turning to white at maturity. Blooms in late fall. In climates with early frost, it will not bloom.

Best used as a specimen or accent plant. Stems should be cut back in early January.

Native to southern Europe


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Irvington, Alabama
Phenix City, Alabama
Smiths, Alabama
Springville, Alabama
Prescott, Arkansas
Calistoga, California
Clayton, California
Encinitas, California
San Leandro, California
Brooksville, Florida
Glen Saint Mary, Florida
Keystone Heights, Florida
Lecanto, Florida
Panama City Beach, Florida
Yulee, Florida
Barbourville, Kentucky
Ewing, Kentucky
Louisville, Kentucky
New Orleans, Louisiana
Poolesville, Maryland
Boston, Massachusetts
Marietta, Mississippi
Cape Girardeau, Missouri
Piedmont, Missouri
Sheldon, Missouri
Elizabeth City, North Carolina
Monroe, North Carolina
Bucyrus, Ohio
Glouster, Ohio
Newark, Ohio
Hulbert, Oklahoma
Canby, Oregon
Portland, Oregon
Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania
Conway, South Carolina
Sumter, South Carolina
Lenoir City, Tennessee
Middleton, Tennessee
Stewart, Tennessee
Desoto, Texas
Harlingen, Texas
Kerrville, Texas
Wichita Falls, Texas
Lexington, Virginia
East Port Orchard, Washington

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