How to Grow Softstem Bulrush


Softstem bulrushes are natural to the United States and are common in shallow ponds, lakes and steams. They also grow in wetlands and marshes and can reach heights up to 9 feet. Softstem bulrush blooms each spring and provides food and cover for such wildlife as muskrats, raccoons, ducks, birds and fish. They can be cultivated from seeds or planted as young plants.

Step 1

Grow softstem bulrushes from seeds in the spring. Sow the seeds in pots with 1 inch of standing water. Place them in a cold frame, which can be purchased from your local garden shop or built yourself, if desired. A cold frame is a wooden box with a glass lid that absorbs light and heat during the day and retains it at night. The frame is sometimes placed into the soil a couple inches for extra insulation and near a protected area outside, such as beside a wall.

Step 2

Plant softstem bulrushes outdoors in early summer. For plants grown from seeds, wait until they are established enough to handle before replanting.

Step 3

Plant softstem bulrushes in early summer and in full sun. Plant in water up to 1 foot high, in soil that is near the water's edge or in other wet areas. Plant 6 inches underground, if possible. Space multiple plants 2 to 6 feet apart. They will spread quickly.

Things You'll Need

  • Softstem bulrush seeds of plants
  • Pots
  • Water
  • Cold frame
  • Trowel


  • U.S. Department of Agriculture
  • Illinois Native Plant Guide

Who Can Help

  • Cold Frames
Keywords: soft-stem bulrush, soft stem bulrush, plant bulrush

About this Author

Melissa Lewis is a former elementary classroom teacher and media specialist. She has also written for various online publications. Lewis holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the University of Maryland Baltimore County.