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Audubon® Soft Rush
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“Sedges have edges, but rushes are round”—so goes the saying that helps students distinguish between these two grass-like plants. Soft Rush is easily identified by its slim, smooth, cylindrical stems, rising up from the boggy soils it inhabits. This dapper native performs valuable functions in nature as a stabilizer of mucky soil alongside lakes, ponds, and bogs, and as habitat for waterfowl and other wetland residents. Its seeds are also munched on occasionally by birds. Soft Rush is commonly used in stormwater management projects, bioswales, and rain gardens, but it can be planted in any kind of garden that doesn’t get too dry. A nice spiky element that’s actually soft to the touch.
May Benefit & Attract: wrens, wood warblers
Take Birds Under Your Wing
New! Introducing our bird-friendly collection of Audubon® Native Plants & Trees
- Better for Birds, 100% Neonic-Free
- Not Available in non-native regions, states or counties (see Native Regions map)
Bower & Branch is proud to grow Audubon® Native Plants for Birds in partnership with the National Audubon Society to help birds and other wildlife thrive.
- The National Audubon Society protects birds and the places they need, today and tomorrow
- This bird-friendly native plant provides food and shelter for local and migrating birds and other wildlife
- Your purchase and planting of this native flora directly supports Audubon’s conservation mission and impact
- Learn how you can help birds in your home and community through Audubon’s Plants for Birds program
- Audubon Native Plants & Trees are free of neonicotinoids and exclusively grown by Bower & Branch
Audubon® is a licensed and registered trademark of the National Audubon Society. All rights reserved.
- Hardiness Zone: 4-9
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Recommended by Our Growers
If success for a plant is measured by how many regions it inhabits, then Soft Rush is a world champion! Adaptable and resilient, it has managed to gain a foothold just about everywhere there is soggy soil. The species is native to North America, South America, Europe, Asia, and Africa. In the U.S., it’s common east of the Mississippi River as well as on the West Coast. In the British Isles, Soft Rush was once used extensively to make rushlights, which were like cheap candles. In Japan, this plant is used to weave tatami mats, which serve as the requisite flooring in traditional homes.
Try it in a container! Soft Rush can be grown in a pot to lend a spiky accent to your deck or patio. Place it in a dish of water to make irrigation easier—this plant does not need good drainage.
How to Grow
It should be clear by now that Soft Rush loves wet soil! A site at the edge of a pond is where it will be happiest and easiest to maintain. You should know that constantly wet soil is not a requirement, however. Regular garden conditions will suffice as long as the plant doesn’t have to endure any periods of prolonged dryness. In drier spots, it will not grow as tall. Plant Soft Rush in full sun in any kind of soil, including heavy clay. In mild climates, the foliage is evergreen. In colder areas, cut back the tattered foliage in early spring to make way for fresh new growth.
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