Photo of Elymus hystrix

Elymus hystrix

Bottlebrush Grass

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Spike-like flowers bloom in late summer to early autumn; seedheads resemble a bottle brush and offer interesting texture in the garden.

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Narrow green blades of Bottlebrush grass grow in loose upright clumps in partial shade. Spike-like flowers bloom on stalks that rise above the foliage. Late summer to early autumn seedheads resemble a bottle brush or hedgehog quill and provide ornamental interest. Bottlebrush grass offers an interesting texture among flowering perennials in the garden setting. Pair with other part-shade loving plants that like semi-dry soil including Woodland Agrimony (Agrimonia striata), White Wood Aster (Eurybia divaricata), Blue Phlox (Phlox divaricata), Black-eyed Susans (Rudbeckia hirta), Purple Mistflower (Eupatorium coelestinum), Zig-zag Goldenrod (Solidago flexicaulis) and Big Leaf Aster (Aster macrophyllus). Blend with Indian Wood Oats (Chasmanthium latifolium) for additional interesting texture. This hardy native can withstand a variety of challenging conditions including heavy clay, full shade, alkaline soil and drought, although it perfroms best in part-shade with slightly moist soil. Easily grows from seed and will self-sow. Plant in clumps or allow it to naturalize along your woodland edge.

Wildlife Value: Birds value the foliage for cover, eat the seeds and use the leaves as nesting material. Host plant for caterpillars of Northern Pearly Eye butterfly (Enodia anthedon).

Plant Details:

Other Scientific Names: Hystrix patula

Plant Type: Grass

New Jersey Native: Yes

Bloom Times: Late Summer to Fall

Bloom Colors: Green

Deer Resistance: High

Attracts Pollinators and Wildlife: Butterflies, Birds

Salt Tolerance: Unknown

Hardiness Zone: 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b

Physiographic Region: All Regions in NJ

Soil Characteristics

Soil Type: Loam, Organic, Sandy, Clay

Soil Moisture: Dry, Moist

Soil pH: Slightly Acidic, Neutral, Slightly Alkaline

Light Needs of Plant

Optimal Light: Partial Shade

Light Range: Full Sun, Partial Shade, Shade

Water Needs of Plant

Soil Moisture: Dry, Moist

Drought Tolerance: High

Size and Growth Rate

Height: 2.5 - 3 ft

Spread: 1 - 1.5 ft

Growth Rate: Medium-fast