Home of the Practically Perfect Pink Phlox and other native plants for pollinators

Friday, August 9, 2019

Native rye, Oh you beautiful thug!

Perhaps thug is too strong a word for this lovely grass, after all, it's not too difficult to transplant.
I really do like this grass. It has an interesting loose structure which fits nicely into a jam packed garden like mine.
But, there's the rub! When do you pull it out?
Certainly not once those lovely bottle brush seedheads begin to brown.

You wouldn't dare cut them down when the bristly seedheads look like this when backlit against the purple chairs.
Each of these will germinate!
You'll want to enjoy this beauty as long as you can, but still have time to collect seeds.
shade and drought tolerant
It's time for me to decide where I'd like a big stand instead of letting nature have her way...again!
It's a see through plant
It's August and the seedheads are a lovely beige and ripe for saving.

The Bottle brush seedhead is so good looking I often wait too long and the seeds gets dispersed by a late summer thunderstorm. They blow all over the place and germinate where ever they fall. When they show up in every container and in the middle of all the shrubs you might think it's a thug. 

Did I tell you we had a late summer thunderstorm the other day?

Oh you beautiful thug, I can't wait to see where you show up next spring!


Gail Eichelberger is a gardener and therapist in Middle Tennessee. She loves wildflowers and native plants and thoroughly enjoys writing about the ones she grows at Clay and Limestone. She reminds all that the words and images are the property of the author and cannot be used without written permission. 


  1. We had some of this at our native plant sale. Then I saw it in the garden of a friend of mine. It is pretty when it blooms.

  2. I started some from seed this year. Looking forward to those seed heads!

  3. Beautiful thug--that's a good way to put it. It looks lovely in your photos and in nature. :)

  4. Hmm. I always thought of that plant as Bottlebrush Grass - I think it used to be in a different genus. I have some of the Virginia Wild Rye (Elymus virginiana), the seed heads are very dense. It's also a bit of a thug, so I always cut off the seeds before they fully ripen. I tried growing E. hystrix and it wasn't a thug at all for me, it sort of faded away in a few years.

    1. It's really not a thug it just manages to show up where I don't want it sometimes.


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