Common Reed

Phragmites australis

Family: Poaceae (poh-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Phragmites (frag-MY-tees) (Info)
Species: australis (aw-STRAL-iss) (Info)
Synonym:Phragmites communis


Ornamental Grasses and Bamboo

Foliage Color:


Bloom Characteristics:

Flowers are good for drying and preserving

Water Requirements:

Very high moisture needs; suitable for bogs and water gardens

Where to Grow:

Grow outdoors year-round


10-12 ft. (3-3.6 m)


Unknown - Tell us


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)

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

Soil pH requirements:

Unknown - Tell us

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

By dividing rhizomes, tubers, corms or bulbs (including offsets)

From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall

Seed Collecting:

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


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

Phoenix, Arizona

Benton, Kentucky

Valley Lee, Maryland

Roslindale, Massachusetts

Bowling Green, Ohio

Gardeners' Notes:


On Feb 18, 2014, Rickwebb from Downingtown, PA wrote:

The Common Reed is found all over the earth, except for the Anarctic. The Eurasian variety of Common Reed of Phragmites autralis australis shown here is a very horrible invasive pest that is taking over the wetlands in the eastern, southern, and midwestern USA and pushing out many better plants, including Cattails. It grows so quickly and thickly. The European monster is pushing out even its good brother, the American Common Reed, Phragmites australis americanus that is a native plant over most of North America that is not so vigorous and is not invasive. The American variety is lighter in color and has longer ligules and glumes and was used by Native Americans for various uses..


On Feb 1, 2014, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

Its cultivation is banned here in Massachusetts, where it destroys wetland habitat. Six states have banned it or declared it a noxious weed.

The sunken pot trick often fails as the deep rhizomes easily escape through drainage holes or over the rim, and it does not stop spread through self-sowing.

Good pics showing how to distinguish between the invasive and ecologically destructive European ecotype (common in eastern North America) and the native ecotype (now rare):


On Oct 15, 2001, Baa wrote:

An invasive reed grass found all over the world (australis means southern or southerly).

Has tall, upright stems with linear, grey green leaves upto 2ft long. Bears silky plumes of purple grass flowers the flower spike can reach 18 inches long.

Flowers August to October.

A plant for very large water features, it likes a deep, rich, moist soil in full sun where it will spread around via rhizomes. To restrict the growth, place in a large pot before sinking into the water.