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Common Cottongrass

Eriophorum angustifolium

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Common Cottongrass (Eriophorum angustifolium) at Homestead Gardens

Common Cottongrass flowers

Common Cottongrass flowers

(Photo courtesy of NetPS Plant Finder)

Height:  24 inches

Spread:  4 feet

Sunlight:  full sun 

Hardiness Zone:  4a

Other Names:  Cotton Grass, Tall Cottongrass, Bog Cotton

Description:

This natural bog plant looks grassy but is actually a sedge; airy white plumes appear in late spring and are stunning when massed; prefers highly acidic soil around pond edges or bogs

Ornamental Features

Common Cottongrass features showy plumes of white flowers at the ends of the stems in late spring. Its grassy leaves remain green in color throughout the season. The fruit is not ornamentally significant.

Landscape Attributes

Common Cottongrass is a dense herbaceous perennial with an upright spreading habit of growth. It brings an extremely fine and delicate texture to the garden composition and should be used to full effect.

This is a relatively low maintenance plant, and is best cleaned up in early spring before it resumes active growth for the season. Gardeners should be aware of the following characteristic(s) that may warrant special consideration;

  • Invasive

Common Cottongrass is ideally suited for growing in a pond, water garden or patio water container, and is recommended for the following landscape applications;

  • Accent
  • Mass Planting
  • Water Gardens
  • Container Planting
  • Bog Gardens

Planting & Growing

Common Cottongrass will grow to be about 22 inches tall at maturity, with a spread of 4 feet. Its foliage tends to remain dense right to the water, not requiring facer plants in front. It grows at a fast rate, and under ideal conditions can be expected to live for approximately 10 years.

This plant should only be grown in full sunlight. As an aquatic plant, it requires a suitable water garden environment and will benefit from special planting and ongoing care practices; consult one of our in-store experts for further details and instructions. It is particular about its soil conditions, with a strong preference for rich, acidic soils. It is somewhat tolerant of urban pollution. This species is not originally from North America. It can be propagated by division.

Common Cottongrass is a fine choice for the water garden, but it is also a good selection for planting in outdoor pots and containers. With its upright habit of growth, it is best suited for use as a 'thriller' in the 'spiller-thriller-filler' container combination; plant it near the center of the pot, surrounded by smaller plants and those that spill over the edges. Note that when grown in outdoor pots and containers, aquatic plants like this one will require a special growing environment that meets their requirement for consistent moisture.

 
 
Hardiness Zone Plant Height Minimum Sunlight Soil pH Preference
Characteristics
Accent  Massing  Container  Bog  Water 
Applications
Flowers  Texture 
Ornamental Features