How to Grow Clustered Bur-Reed


Clustered bur-reed are aquatic plants with rootstocks that are native in marshes and swamps throughout North America. Bur-reed is an important source of nutrition for at least 20 species of waterfowl and marsh birds. Clustered bur-reed leaves are alternately stiff and erect or limp and floating. Small white flowers grow in globular clusters that are either male or female. You can grow clustered bur-reed from seeds that have been ripened in a greenhouse. Sowing must occur immediately as the seeds ripen, or the seeds will become too dry to germinate.

Step 1

Place three to five ripened clustered bur-reed seeds in a small clay pot. Bur-reed seeds are brown when they are ripe. Place the pots in a tray filled with 1.25 inches of cold water. Place the tray with the seeded pots in the refrigerator. Start your clustered bur-reed seeds in April for summer planting.

Step 2

Keep an eye on the plants and gradually increase the water level in the tray as the seedlings begin to grow. Germination of bur-reed seeds may also occur naturally as they ripen and fall from the plant in mid-summer. The seeds eventually sink to the bottom of the marsh, and, if conditions are favorable, they will germinate.

Step 3

Remove the plants from the fridge after the seeds are germinated. Thin out the potted seedlings and place the bur-reed plants into individual pots when they are 4 to 5 inches tall. Keep the pots in water.

Step 4

Plant the individual plants along the side of a stream or in a shallow pond during the end of May or the beginning of June. Bur-reed enjoys full sun, but will tolerate some shade. You can place the roots into wet, rich soil at the edge of a natural water source, or allow them to float in shallow water.

Step 5

Gather the seeds of your bur-reed plants before they ripen on the plant and place them in a plastic bag filled with moist peat. Place the bag in a cold frame for storage until you are ready for them to germinate. You can ripen the seeds by removing them from the bag and placing them in a greenhouse until they turn brown. This could take several hours.

Things You'll Need

  • Ripe bur-reed seeds
  • Small flower pots
  • Tray
  • Water
  • Refrigerator
  • Plastic bag
  • Peat


  • About Clustered Bur-Reed
  • Growing Bur-Reed

Who Can Help

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Keywords: clustered bur-reed, growing clustered bur-reed, clustered bur-reed seeds

About this Author

Katherine Kally is a freelance writer specializing in eco-friendly home-improvement projects, practical craft ideas and cost-effective decorating solutions. Kally's work has been featured on sites across the Web. She holds a Bachelor of Science in psychology from the University of South Carolina and is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.