- Hardiness Zone: 3-9
- Mature Height: 2-3' tall
- Mature Width: 2-3' wide
- Exposure: Full Sun/Part Shade
- Spacing: 2-3' apart
- May Benefit & Attract: wrens, wood warblers
- 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
- All Audubon® branded trees and plants are grown 100% Neonic-free by Bower & Branch, making these plants safer for the birds and safer for the environment.
Why the Audubon® Soft Rush?
“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.
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.
How to use in the landscape?
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 Plant
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.