How to Grow Cosmopolitan Bulrush


Cosmopolitan bulrushes are a wetlands plant that is often mistaken for cattails. Bulrushes grow to ten feet tall and are native to most of North America and Canada. Bulrushes have grass-like leaves that have a purplish red tint with a dense brown "fruit" at the top that puffs as it ripens. Bulrushes are popular among water gardeners and can be found in just about any full-service garden center.

Growing Cosmopolitan Bulrushes

Step 1

Choose a location in shallow water along lakes or ponds or in soggy, moist alkaline soil with full or most sun.

Step 2

Dig a shallow hole just bigger that the container, if purchased from a garden center, or twice as large as the rhizome. Bulrushes have a rhizome root system that grows just below the ground's surface. Rhizomes spread horizontally along the surface, creating new growth with each new season. Bulrushes can also propagate by seed but this occurs at a much slower rate.

Step 3

Keep your bulrushes wet. Like all water plants, bulrushes need little care except a constant water supply.

Step 4

Control growth by mowing down a portion occasionally. Bulrushes will not be affected by herbicides, and digging up rhizomes will not help with seed-spread growth.

Tips and Warnings

  • Bulrushes spread in moderation but are difficult to eradicate once planted. Be sure that it is the plant you want before planting. While bulrushes are an excellent plant for naturalized areas around ponds and lakes, bulrushes are not advised as a container or small plastic pond kit plant because of their height and growth.

Things You'll Need

  • Lake, pond, or natural wetlands landscape
  • Spade


  • Aquaplants: Bulrush

Who Can Help

  • Native Plant Database
Keywords: cosmopolitan bulrush, water plants, naturalizing wetland plants

About this Author

Bobbi Keffer attended Kent State University to study education but soon found her true love to be in the garden. She prides herself on her frugal skills reusing, recycling and reinventing her whimsical style in her home and garden.