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ELYMUS canadensis

Image of Elymus canadensis

David L. Morgan

Family

Poaceae

Botanical Name

ELYMUS canadensis

Plant Common Name

Canada Wildrye

Special Notice

This entry has yet to be reviewed and approved by L2G editors.

General Description

Canada wildrye is a versatile ornamental grass that has attractive bluish green foliage and gently nodding, wheat-like flower and seedheads in autumn and winter. A clump forming perennial, it is native to a vast area of temperate North America. In spring, erect stems start to bear the long, often weeping bluish gray-green or medium green leaves. By late summer and into fall, stem tips form dense green flowerspikes that look like those of wheat. The begin to turn beige as fall progresses, which is the eventual color of the entire plant throughout winter. Birds will forage for the seeds in fall and winter, and also using the clumps as cover.

Successfully grow Canada ryegrass in any moderately fertile, well-drained garden soil in full to partial sun. This particular species is tolerant of wet soil and is fairly tolerant of drought, too. It is great seen scattered about a meadow, or it can be grown as a backdrop to asters and mums in a border, but be prepared to remove seedlings that pop up from the seeds. Cut it back anytime from early winter to early spring, depending on attractiveness, before the fresh new foliage grows again in spring. It is a lovely accent fill in both fresh and dried floral arrangements.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    8 - 1

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    3 - 8

  • Plant Type

    Grass

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun

  • Height

    4'-6' / 1.2m - 1.8m (4)

  • Width

    2'-3' / 0.6m - 0.9m

  • Bloom Time

    Late Summer, Early Fall

  • Native To

    North America, United States, Canada

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral, Alkaline

  • Soil Drainage

    Average

  • Soil type

    Clay, Loam, Sand

  • Tolerances

    Wet Site, Pollution, Drought, Soil Compaction

  • Growth Rate

    Fast

  • Water Requirements

    Average Water

  • Habit

    Arching/Fountain-shaped

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    Light Green

  • Fruit Color

    Light Green, Tan

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green, Blue Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green, Blue Green, Gray Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Blue Green, Gray Green

  • Foliage Color (Winter)

    Tan

  • Fragrant Flowers

    No

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Fruit

    Yes

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    Yes

  • Foliage Texture

    Medium

  • Foliage Sheen

    Matte

  • Evergreen

    No

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Cutflower, Dried Flower/Everlasting, Mixed Border

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Attracts

    Birds

  • Self-Sowing

    Yes