Sturdy Bulrush (Robustus)

The Sturdy Bulrush (Robustus) is generally described as a perennial graminoid. This is native to the U.S. (United States) has its most active growth period in the summer . The greatest bloom is usually observed in the late summer, with fruit and seed production starting in the summer and continuing until fall. Leaves are not retained year to year. The Sturdy Bulrush (Robustus) has a long life span relative to most other plant species and a rapid growth rate. At maturity, the typical Sturdy Bulrush (Robustus) will reach up to 4.9 feet high, with a maximum height at 20 years of 0 inches.

The Sturdy Bulrush (Robustus) is easily found in nurseries, garden stores and other plant dealers and distributors. It can be propagated by seed, sprigs. It has a rapid ability to spread through seed production and the seedlings have high vigor. Note that cold stratification is not required for seed germination and the plant cannot survive exposure to temperatures below 7°F. has low tolerance to drought and restricted water conditions.

Uses of : Landscaping, Medicinal, Culinary, etc.

Wildlife: Sturdy bulrush seeds are an important food source to muskrat, waterfall, ducks, geese, and other water birds. This species also provide cover for nesting birds.

General Characteristics

General: Sedge family (Cyperaceae). Sturdy bulrush is native, perennial sedge that grows up to three and a half feet tall. The leaves are grasslike, long and narrow, up to twenty-four inches long. The flowers are born in three or more spiklets that are covered by brown scales (Tiner 1987), flowering between April and August. The fruit is a dark brown or black achene with pits that fruit between July and October.

Required Growing Conditions

Sturdy bulrush grows from Maine, south to Florida and west to Texas. For current distribution, please consult the Plant profile page for this species on the PLANTS Web site.

Adaptation Sturdy bulrush occurs in swampy meadows, along streams, swamps, sloughs, and borders of oxbow lakes in river flood plains. This is a wetland species that grows best in Schoenoplectus communities with water levels between –6 and +5 inches with a soil pH ranging from 4.3 to 6.4.

Cultivation and Care

Propagation by Seed: Sturdy bulrush seeds should be sown in a cold frame as soon as they are ripe in a pot standing in three centimeters of water. The seeds germinate quickly. When they are large enough to handle, out-plant into their permanent positions in early summer.

Large divisions can be planted directly into their permanent positions. It is best to pot smaller divisions and grow them in a cold frame and out-planting when they are well established in the summer.

General Upkeep and Control

After seed planting water level over sturdy bulrush seeds should be maintained at one foot for two weeks. Periodic flooding up to three feet should occur until the seedlings are established.

Plant Basics
Growth Rate Rapid
General Type Graminoid
Growth Period Summer
Growth Duration Perennial
Lifespan Long
Plant Nativity Native to U.S.
Commercial Availability Routinely Available
Physical Characteristics
Bloom Period Late Summer
Displays Fall Colors No
Shape/Growth Form Rhizomatous
Drought Tolerance Low
Shade Tolerance Intolerant
Height When Mature 4.9
Vegetative Spread Slow
Flower Color Red
Flower Conspicuousness No
Fruit/Seed Abundance Low
Fruit/Seed Seasonality Summer Fall
Seed Spread Rate Rapid
Gardening Characteristics
Propagations (Ways to Grow) Seed, Sprigs
Moisture Requirements High
Cold Stratification Required No
Minimum Temperature 7
Soil Depth for Roots 16
Toxic to Nearby Plants No
Toxic to Livestock No
After-Harvest Regrowth Rate Slow
After-Harvest Resprout Ability No
Responds to Coppicing No
Growth Requirements
pH Range 6.4–8.4 pH
Precipitation Range 16–16 inches/yr
Planting Density 3450–4800 indiv./acre
Soil Textures Fine, Medium
Soil Depth for Roots 16
Minimum Frost-Free Days 120 day(s)
Salinity Tolerance High
CaCO3 Tolerance Medium
Sustainability & Use
Leaf Retention No
Fire Resistant No
Causes Livestock Bloating None

Source: USDA, NRCS, PLANTS Database,
National Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge, LA 70874-4490 USA