Arundo Species, Giant Reed, Reed Grass, Spanish Cane, Wild Cane

Arundo donax

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


Ornamental Grasses and Bamboo

Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Requires consistently moist soil; do not let dry out between waterings

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun


Grown for foliage


Provides Winter Interest

This plant is resistant to deer

Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us


12-15 ft. (3.6-4.7 m)

15-20 ft. (4.7-6 m)


12-15 ft. (3.6-4.7 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)

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


Plant has spines or sharp edges; use extreme caution when handling

Bloom Color:


Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Late Summer/Early Fall

Other details:

May be a noxious weed or invasive

Soil pH requirements:

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

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

From herbaceous stem cuttings

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:

Atmore, Alabama

Daphne, Alabama

Midland City, Alabama

San Diego, California

Santee, California

West Hollywood, California

Fairfield, Idaho

Pekin, Illinois

Peoria, Illinois

Greenville, Indiana

Louisburg, Kansas

Lucas, Kansas

Ewing, Kentucky

Louisville, Kentucky

Taylorsville, Kentucky

Mathiston, Mississippi

Dayton, Ohio

Sandusky, Ohio

Council Hill, Oklahoma

Hulbert, Oklahoma

Fayetteville, Pennsylvania

Greencastle, Pennsylvania

Conway, South Carolina

Florence, South Carolina

Dallas, Texas

De Leon, Texas

Geronimo, Texas

San Antonio, Texas

Santa Fe, Texas

Weslaco, Texas

Wichita Falls, Texas

Salt Lake City, Utah

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Jan 23, 2018, RobertBurnsOB from San Diego, CA wrote:

This is the unique source of chanter reeds and drone reeds for bagpipes at least the uilleann pipes and the great pipes most associated with Ireland and Scotland. The Spanish brought it here to So. Cal. for basket weaving. It's quite the plant. Given the selective catigation of "non-native species" (which includes ALL humans 30,000 years ago) I'll hold my fire on other issues.


On Feb 1, 2016, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

It isn't just difficult to manage in gardens, it spreads into wild areas where it damages habitat.

The World Conservation Union IUCN has included this species on their list of 100 of the world's worst invasive species, an honor it shares with only 31 land plants.

According to BONAP, this species has naturalized in 28 states and has been declared invasive in 5.

It is easily confused with another highly invasive grass, Common Reed, Phragmites australis.


On Oct 1, 2013, bluetexasbonnie from Geronimo, TX wrote:

NEVER EVER plant it. htop is the only person I have ever heard say that they managed to eradicate it.

But I can't be negative about it. I love watching the graceful plumes sway in the wind. The redwing black birds love it. If there are any in the area, this is where they will be.

I fondly remember making "bamboo" wind chimes and whistles from it with my grandfather. My dad and uncles would cut fishing poles for us kids. I wasn't all that interested in the actual waiting for a fish to bite part of it -- but loved the go and family time.

Now that cane patch makes stakes for my garden and impromptu 'swords' for my grandsons. I have to love something that has brought so much fun and joy to my life. ... but if I could make that patch do... read more


On Jul 1, 2013, PlainsWanderer from Louisburg, KS wrote:

I brought home some cut stocks from a wildlife preserve about four years ago and stuck them into the ground in my yard. They lived but did not grow tall or big in the shaded area, but the ones that got full sun grew larger and taller each year, reaching a height of 20 to 24 feet the third year. We love the beauty and drama of this plant, and the wispery sound it makes in the wind. It's also beautiful through the winter when the stalks turn golden. I cut them down each spring and use them as plant support stakes throughout the garden. New stalks grow each year, and with the moist spring we had they grew 6 inches a day. Each year this circular stand of stalks spreads, so its about 10 feet in circumference now, but we've had no problem with it spreading out of control here in NorthEastern Kan... read more


On Jun 4, 2013, SIlveroceanbluesky from Dayton, OH wrote:

This is my second year growing Arundo Donax in Dayton, Ohio.......about one hour North of Cincinnati. I have two plants that reach 15 to 20ft each year then die back in the winter. This plant is not hard to contain in Ohio and makes a nice screen between me and my neighbor. I have given some to my neighbor for his back yard and it is starting to take hold. I love this plant....very hard to find in Ohio but its doing great. I mulched the base with 3 inches of mulch for winter and it came back no problem. Regular lawn fertilizer will greatly enhance Arundo's height.


On Jun 24, 2012, grass_lover from (Zone 5a) wrote:

Arundo Donax is one of the few plants in the yard that I would replace if it didn't overwinter. It's a large plant and needs a lot of room. In some areas it may be invasive but it's not here in zone 5 Iowa. My plant is about 5 years old, can get around 20 feet tall and is probably about five or six feet wide. It adds variety to an ornamental grass display in the back yard. :)


On Jan 11, 2011, rurumi from Jasper, AL wrote:

I'm 61 years old and the first time I saw this cane was when I was 6-7 years old, and I loved it at first sight. It grew in a long, watery ditch beside the highway where I lived in the country side in N.W. Alabama. I thought it was beautiful, tall, and majestic. Then for some reason it died and I didn't see it again until about 25 years later at an old house my sister moved into. So, I dug up a few of the ugly roots and took it home and planted it. It didn't do too good. Then after a couple years, it started multipling, growing, and looking healthy. I didn't know it's name. I ask people about it and they didn't know either. Mama said she thought it was some kind of Japanese cane. So thats what we called it for years, multipling Japanese cane. I moved it to another property a few years lat... read more


On Oct 4, 2010, David_Gr from Durham,
United Kingdom wrote:

I have this plant in my garden in south west France, near Cahors. It is proving extremely difficult to eradicate and quite frankly is a serious nuiscance. Beware, anyone contemplating planting this in their garden.


On Aug 30, 2009, franknjim from Peoria, IL (Zone 5a) wrote:

Typicaly hardy to zone 6 but can be grown in zone 5. Winter mulching or micro climates help in zone 5.

Because of this plants nature, it is best planted recessed in a hole where it will have room to rise without coming up out of the ground.Just add dirt on top as it rises up. It is very difficult to remove and is best done with a tractor or an axe with a lot of sweat. Do not plant it next to any non permanent sidewalks, retaining walls, etc as it will move them. The rhizomes are as thick as your wrist and very tough. It is the tallest ornamental grass I have found in the Encyclopedia of Ornamental Grasses. This actually grows up to 24' tall with 3' tall seed heads on top.

This plant loves water. The more water you give it, the taller it will get. Witholding wa... read more


On Feb 26, 2009, olmpiad from Dallas, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

This plant can get pretty invasive, as its roots are near impossible to remove, and can exceed weights of 5lbs! The roots also contain the compounds N,N-DMT, 5-OH-DMT, 5-MeO-DMT, Gramine (which is notably toxic). The plant also contains very high amounts of silica in the stalks, and this has been utilized for its strength for thousands of years.


On Aug 6, 2008, valdev from Boise, ID (Zone 6b) wrote:

i chose 'neutral' because i have no personal experience with donax arundo other than seeing it growing in the wild. i'm sure this plant is horribly invasive, and has no or little benefit to wildlife - not even being eaten by insects (other than some insects in other countries which researchers are studying to see if it would be good *or not* to import to the US in the hopes of controlling this plant), but i just wanted to report that it's not only growing in warm areas as is so often reported. i've found it growing in wetlands near the Anderson Ranch Reservoir, at about 4,500 ft altitude, in the mountains of idaho, where temps can get to 30 degrees below zero each winter. USDA zone 3, or Sunset Western zone 1a.


On Apr 15, 2008, kwanjin from (Zone 7a) wrote:

This plant was very well behaved the first year we had it. The second year, it was a little more intrusive. The third year, it began pushing up a small wall we had next to it. We spent time every 3-4 weeks digging it away from the wall and resetting the blocks. We started with a narrow row with small nodes on the roots. It is now 2'-2 1/2 ' wide and encroaching on the other plantings. In a row 14' long, it has taken 6 hours just to get half of them out. And this is with moist soil around it. The root balls are hard as rock and very thick. We've been using a mattock and hatchet to remove it.


On May 25, 2007, Venturan from Ventura, CA (Zone 10b) wrote:

Aggressively invasive plant growing in Southern CA rivers. The state of CA is using a $5 million grant over the next 2 years to remove it from just 200 acres locally.

During abatement programs, it refuses to die. It can come back after hacking and slashing, poisoning and starving, burning and even smothering. It's a seriously bad plant that consumes significant amounts of water, spreads incredibly fast, often from just pieces of stem that have broken off and washed to a new spot. Every bit of it can reshoot.

It's an extreme fire hazard, able to ignite and explode even while green. The cane grows back even more densely after fire. Arundo can grow more than three inches per day.

When rivers and creeks have high flows, thick patches of the gi... read more


On Nov 30, 2006, frostweed from Josephine, Arlington, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

Giant Reed, Spanish Cane, Reed Grass Arundo donax is naturalized in Texas and other States and is considered an invasive noxious plant in Texas.


On Sep 8, 2005, htop from San Antonio, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

Giant reed is also commonly known as wild cane and its native habit is India. Being probably first introduced in the United States in Los Angeles, California in the early 1800's, it has become widely dispersed into all of the warm temperate areas and subtropical regions of the world through human introductions achieving naturalized status. Giant reed is widely planted as an ornamental throughout the warmer areas of the United States and is used along ditches for erosion control in the Southwest..

It is a perennial grass that can grow to over 20 feet tall. Giant reed propers in well drained soils where abundant moisture is available such as streams, ditches and riverbanks and grows in many soil types from heavy clays to loose sands. It has fleshy, creeping rootstocks which... read more