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Ribbon Grass, Reed Canary Grass, Gardener's Garters 'Feesey'

Phalaris arundinacea

Family: Poaceae (poh-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Phalaris (FAL-ah-ris) (Info)
Species: arundinacea (a-run-din-uh-KEE-uh) (Info)
Cultivar: Feesey
Synonym:Phalaris arundinacea var. picta


Ornamental Grasses and Bamboo

Foliage Color:


Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Water Requirements:

Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


18-24 in. (45-60 cm)


18-24 in. (45-60 cm)


USDA Zone 3b: to -37.2 C (-35 F)

USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)

USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)

USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)

USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)

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)

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun

Sun to Partial Shade

Light Shade

Partial to Full Shade


Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:


Bloom Time:

Late Summer/Early Fall



Other details:

May be a noxious weed or invasive

Soil pH requirements:

Unknown - Tell us

Patent Information:

Unknown - Tell us

Propagation Methods:

By dividing the rootball

Seed Collecting:

Unknown - Tell us


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

Portland, Maine

Saint Cloud, Minnesota

Ithaca, New York

Gardeners' Notes:


On Feb 3, 2014, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

My experience with 'Picta' is that it spreads too quickly and aggressively by underground rhizomes for it to be used near other garden perennials. There are many other more useful ornamental grasses that look very similar without being weedy or thuggish.

This species is naturalized through most of the US, and often forms large monoculture stands in wetland habitat. Cultivating it is prohibited in Massachusetts, where it's considered an invasive threat to natural habitat. It's been declared a noxious weed in Washington, and invasive in Connecticut.


On Mar 15, 2008, distantkin from Saint Cloud, MN (Zone 4b) wrote:

The Minnesota DNR has Reed canary grass (Phalaris arundinacea) listed on it's invasive species list.
"Ecological Threat:

* Reed canary is a major threat to natural wetlands. It out competes most native species.
* It presents a major challenge in wetland mitigation efforts.
* It forms large, single-species stands, with which other species cannot compete.
* If cut during the growing season a second growth spurt occurs in the fall.
* Invasion is associated with disturbances, such as ditch building, stream channeling sedimentation and intentional planting.
* This Eurasian species has been planted throughout the U.S. since the 1800s for forage and erosion control. It is still being planted."


On Nov 9, 2004, smiln32 from Oklahoma City, OK (Zone 7a) wrote:

'Feesey' has a pink tinge to the foliage while it is young. After the season progresses a bit the pink fades away. It's height and spread are about 2-3'. Tan colored plumes or spikes arise in mid-summer.

May be used as a container plant or near a water feature. Prefers partial sun.

Can be invasive.


On Oct 31, 2004, lmelling from Ithaca, NY (Zone 5b) wrote:

Feesey is a varigated green and cream color that has a nice pink tinge along the blades that fades over time. I tried to overwinter the Feesey here in zone 5 with the result that I found it had died the following spring - possibly was submerged too far in the pond during the winter. I have since found that ribbon grass prefers moist soil only in winter.