How to Grow Rattlesnake Mannagrass


Rattlesnake mannagrass (Glyceria canadensis) is a perennial wildflower grass found in the northeastern United States, most of Canada and the northwestern states of Washington and Oregon. Named as such because of its seedpod's resemblance to a rattlesnake, this grass stands 3 feet at maturity with green flowers on the top of the stalks. Once seeded, the ends droop from the weight, thus giving it its name. Rattlesnake mannagrass grows best in sunny, naturalized areas such as meadows or wildflower preserves along water sources.

Step 1

Till or hoe the area you wish to turn into a meadow or wildflower area.

Step 2

Collect rattlesnake mannagrass sprigs from other naturalized areas such as along roadside gullies. Pull the sprigs out of the soil carefully or dig up the plant, being sure to include the root. A sprig is a young, single-plant root system.

Step 3

Gather seeds from mature mannagrass. Using your thumb and forefinger, start at the base of the "rattlesnake tail" and slide the seeds from the plant all the way to the end. Mannagrass doesn't rely on seeding for much of its propagation so collect plenty of seeds.

Step 4

Plant sprigs 2 to 4 inches apart in loose, shallow dirt that stays somewhat moist in areas that are always sunny. Mannagrass is shade-intolerant and will not grow without full sun. The best time to plant is spring. A moderate grower, mannagrass will fill in the spaces between the sprigs.

Step 5

Sprinkle managrass seeds along with other wildflower seeds, if desired. Mannagrass usually propagates through its rhizome system, but new plants may grow from seed as well.

Tips and Warnings

  • Once established, rattlesnake mannagrass develops a thick rhizome mat right under the surface of the soil and will choke out other plants in the vicinity. Whitetail deer eat rattlesnake mannagrass, so by planting it, you invite deer into your yard and endanger your vegetable and flower gardens.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
  • Rattlesnake mannagrass seeds
  • hoe or rotary tiller


  • USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service
  • Anoka Natural Resources
  • Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources

Who Can Help

  • Rattlesnake-like plants in your woodlands
Keywords: rattlesnake mannagrass, manna grass, invasive weeds, Glyceria canadensis, fowl grass

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.