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Riverbank Rye Grass

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Riverbank Wild Rye is the tallest of the native rye species.

Hardy Planting Zone – Zones 3-9

 Bloom Season – nodding seed heads in July through August

 Bloom Color – green to pale yellow

 Height at Maturity – 2 to 5 feet

 Soil Type Preferred – medium to wet soil, sand, loam, or clay

 Sun or Shade – partial shade


Riverbank wild rye is a perennial grass that can add a great accent to any home garden or landscape.

 As the name suggests, it grows best along rivers or streams, grows actively when the soil is more relaxed during the spring and the fall. Riverbank wild rye is native to the Midwestern and Northeastern United States and up to Ontario, Canada. The grass stalks grow tall, up to five feet. The gracefully arching seed heads can grow up to several inches long. Plant color can vary from dark green to pale yellow throughout the year.


 Germination is very easy, and no treatment is required for the seeds to take root.

 The plant happily tolerates sand, clay, loam, or various organic soils, so long as the earth remains moist to wet. Riverbank wild rye accepts various light conditions, with soil moisture being a more critical component of plant success. Partial shade is better for growth and plant proliferation, however. Riverbank wild rye helps control erosion along stream banks to be a vital tool for stream restoration. The plant tends to be self-seeding, though not excessively so, and will readily spread itself along your riverbanks. Beautiful birds tend to be attracted to this plant, especially songbirds or waterfowl, who will both feed on riverbank wild rye clusters and use it as nesting material. Riverbank wild rye tends to be deer resistant. Riverbank wild rye is best planted near water bodies, such as creeks and rivers, and is also very useful as garden borders, woodland edging and can be used to accumulate seeds for attracting and feeding wildlife.

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