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SACCHARUM arundinaceum

Image of Saccharum arundinaceum

James Burghardt



Botanical Name

SACCHARUM arundinaceum

Plant Common Name

Hardy Sugarcane

General Description

The dense, imposing hardy sugarcane creates a massive clump of arching leaves and huge pink plumes from late summer to autumn. It naturally grows on hillsides, dry stream beds and sandy riverbanks, from India and southern China to Indonesia.

The tall stalks of this formidable grass have coarse sheaths and long, dark gray-green leaves. Each blade is arching, floppy and slender. The blade's undersides are softly fuzzy. After the autumnal equinox, the stalks produce tall, impressive wispy flower panicles that are pink to pale rose-violet. The onset of fall or winter frost causes the leaves and stalks to dry and become tan, with seed heads bleaching to ivory. The dried plant persists through winter into spring and acts as an effective wind barrier. Its seed is produced in large quantities and scatters in the breeze, creating abundant weedy seedlings in the spring. In zone 6, the seeds are often killed by frost before they ripen, making them less weedy in colder areas.

Grow hardy sugarcane in a spacious, sunny location. It tolerates nearly all soil types that aren't wet. Use this dense clumping grass as an informal hedge or screen in a mixed border, large foundation bed or as a lone accent. In late winter, remove the previous year's stems to about knee high so to make way for new growth. It's a laborious task, but essential to keep them looking attractive. Be sure to wear gloves and long sleeves, because the dried leaves and stems can slice into skin.


  • AHS Heat Zone

    11 - 6

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    6 - 10

  • Sunset Zone

    H1, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24

  • Plant Type


  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun

  • Height

    6'-7' / 1.8m - 2.1m

  • Width

    8'-12' / 2.4m - 3.7m

  • Bloom Time

    Late Summer, Early Fall, Fall, Late Fall, Early Winter, Winter, Late Winter

  • Native To

    Southern Asia, Southeastern Asia, India, China

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral

  • Soil Drainage


  • Soil type

    Clay, Loam, Sand

  • Tolerances

    Pollution, Drought

  • Growth Rate


  • Water Requirements

    Drought Tolerant, Average Water

  • Habit


  • Seasonal Interest

    Summer, Fall, Winter

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest


  • Flower Color

    Pink, Rose, Violet

  • Fruit Color

    Tan, Ivory, Silver

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green, Gray Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green, Gray Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Green, Gray Green

  • Fragrant Flowers


  • Fragrant Fruit


  • Fragrant Foliage


  • Bark or Stem Fragrant


  • Repeat Bloomer


  • Showy Fruit


  • Edible Fruit


  • Showy Foliage


  • Foliage Texture


  • Foliage Sheen


  • Evergreen


  • Showy Bark


Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Cutflower, Dried Flower/Everlasting, Feature Plant, Foundation, Mixed Border, Screening / Wind Break

  • Sharp or Has Thorns


  • Invasive


  • Self-Sowing