Alphabetical Plant Listing

Spartina patens (Saltmeadow Cordgrass)

Saltmeadow Cordgrass, Salt-Meadow Cordgrass, Marsh-Hay Cordgrass, Couchgrass, Marshhay, Wiregrass


Spartina patens (Saltmeadow Cordgrass) is a tufted, perennial, warm-season grass that grows solitary or in small clumps from widely spreading, slender rhizomes. The slender, light green leaves are deciduous, with new growth each year. In spring to fall, small flowers borne in open dark-colored panicles, 2-3 in. long (5-7 cm), are on display. They give way to tiny, inconspicuous fruits (grains). Saltmeadow Cordgrass reproduces both through seed and vegetative rhizomatous roots. Found along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts from Newfoundland to Texas, Saltmeadow Cordgrass can be seen growing in brackish marshes, low dunes, sand flats, beaches and high salt marshes. It provides important habitat for muskrats, mink, otters, and alligators and homes for a host of song birds and other wildlife species. Nutria eat the rhizomes in late summer and winter. Blue geese and snow geese feed on new foliage early in the spring in burned marshes. Saltmeadow Cordgrass can be used as a groundcover in saline sites, beach front stabilization, salt marsh restoration projects or to beautify retention ponds or canal banks.

  • Grows up to 2-3 ft. tall (60-90 cm). Will quickly form large colonies.
  • Performs best in full sun in wet sandy soils. It has the capacity to tolerate a wide range of environmental conditions, including floods, salty wind and salt spray without injury.
  • Needs little care and has no serious pest or disease issues.
  • Native to the Atlantic coast of the Americas, from Newfoundland south along the eastern United States to the Caribbean and northeast Mexico.
  • Saltmeadow Cordgrass causes many problems on the west coast as it is able to successfully compete against native vegetation, sometimes completely replacing it. It also converts the much of the mudflats to high marsh which has a negative effect on feeding areas, nesting areas, resting sites and shellfish production.

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Requirements

Hardiness 4 – 11
Plant Type Ornamental Grasses, Perennials
Exposure Full Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Mid,Late)
Summer (Early,Mid,Late)
Fall
Height 2' – 3' (60cm – 90cm)
Water Needs High
Maintenance Low
Soil Type Sand
Soil pH Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Poorly Drained
Characteristics Showy
Native Plants United States, California, Michigan, Northeast, Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Pacific Northwest, Oregon, Washington, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Southwest, Texas
Tolerance Salt, Wet Soil
Attracts Birds
Garden Uses Bog Gardens, Ground Covers, Ponds and Streams
Garden Styles Coastal Garden, Prairie and Meadow

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Northeast Coastal & Barrier Network, Flickr, Ken Schulze, Ana Fidalgo, Shutterstock

While every effort has been made to describe these plants accurately, please keep in mind that height, bloom time, and color may differ in various climates. The description of these plants has been written based on numerous outside resources.


Requirements

Hardiness 4 – 11
Plant Type Ornamental Grasses, Perennials
Exposure Full Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Mid,Late)
Summer (Early,Mid,Late)
Fall
Height 2' – 3' (60cm – 90cm)
Water Needs High
Maintenance Low
Soil Type Sand
Soil pH Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Poorly Drained
Characteristics Showy
Native Plants United States, California, Michigan, Northeast, Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Pacific Northwest, Oregon, Washington, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Southwest, Texas
Tolerance Salt, Wet Soil
Attracts Birds
Garden Uses Bog Gardens, Ground Covers, Ponds and Streams
Garden Styles Coastal Garden, Prairie and Meadow

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