Botanical Name: Arundo donax
Common Name: Giant Reed, Arundo Reed  
Plant photo of: Arundo donax
Previous Photo     Next Photo

Water Saving Tip:

Water-wise plants can be beautiful as well as practical.

Take your 'My List' Hydrozone Report to a landscape designer, or local nursery, when selecting and purchasing plants.

  • Anatomy

  • Culture

  • Design

Plant Type

Perennial, Grass


Height Range

6-12', 12-25'


Flower Color



Flower Season



Leaf Color



Bark Color



Fruit Color



Fruit Season



Full, Half



Medium, High


Growth Rate



Soil Type

Sandy, Clay, Loam, Rocky, Unparticular


Soil Condition

Average, Rich, Poor, Well-drained, Moist


Soil pH

Neutral, Basic


Adverse Factors


Design Styles

Japanese, Mediterranean, Tropical, Water Garden, Wetlands


Accenting Features

Specimen, Unusual Shape


Seasonal Interest

Spring, Summer


Location Uses

Background, Walls / Fences


Special Uses

Hedge, Screen, Wind Break, Naturalizing


Attracts Wildlife


Information by: Stephanie Duer
  • Description

  • Notes

This may be the largest grass we can grow in our region (with the exception of yellow groove bamboo). Giant reed has a tall, upright, arching habit (10 to 18 feet tall and 2 to 3 feet wide), and the foliage grows 2 to 3 inches wide and up 18 to 24 inches long, clasping the hollow canelike stems. Canes sprout from dense, woody crowns. Flowers are fluffy panicles 15 to 30 inches tall, emerging in September. A soft green during the growing season, Giant reed turns beige with the first hard frost, though it's tough stems persist all winter long.
Grow in full sun to part shade in nearly any soil; withholding water is a great way to control its spread. Thickets can become quite dense; cut back to the ground in February or March to keep plant neat. Plants may not flower before the onset of winter. In some regions of the country, this plant has become invasive, but our freezing winters and dry summers makes this easier to control; though it might be best to avoid planting Giant Reed within riparian corridor areas. Canes are useful as garden stakes, fencing, and thatching roofs of garden structures.