En EspaŅol
Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Mr. Smarty Plants - Can Juncus effusus winter outside in Mountville PA?

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
1 rating

Monday - June 28, 2010

From: Mountville, PA
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Water Gardens, Seasonal Tasks
Title: Can Juncus effusus winter outside in Mountville PA?
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

If we have the juncus effusus spiralis outside in a small pond and you say to let it outside in the winter does that mean we should let it in the pond? thanks for your time

ANSWER:

Juncus effusus (common rush) is native to nearly all the states and some Canadian provinces in North America, including Texas and Pennsylvania.  We are a little confused; was your question should you leave it outside and leave it in the pond? When you say "let" we think more of letting the dog in, so should you let the plant in? 

 

Juncus effusus (common rush)  is hardy from USDA Zones 4 to 10. It appears that Mountville PA, Lancaster County is in Zones 6a to 6b, so the plant should do fine there outside. Juncus effusus 'Spiralis' is a selection for horticultural use, low growing with strongly spiraling stems. According to this Floridata article on Juncus effusus, it is really better to allow the plant to freeze back, remaining outdoors during the winter, because the stems (there are no leaves) will come back much stronger and better-looking. In milder climates (such as indoors) the stems will get brown and less attractive-looking, and will need to be trimmed. However, this page from Blue Stem Nursery on Lesser Corkscrew Rush refers to it as a plant that can be kept in a terra cotta pot and double as a winter houseplant. We would imagine the soil in the pot would need to be kept pretty moist, but we did see a number of illustrations of the plant in pots and indoors. 

As to whether to leave it in the pond outdoors in winter, that probably depends on how hard your pond freezes. The plant needs to be kept moist, frozen or not, so you will have to use your best judgment on whether to pot it up and bring it where you  can water it outside if it's not getting enough moisture, or bring it inside and give it moisture. 

Pictures of Juncus effusus 'Spiralis' 

 

 

More Seasonal Tasks Questions

Care for penstemons in South Jordan, UT
June 21, 2009 - I have Firecracker Penstemons and they bloomed beautifully this year. How do I trim them and when? Will they continue to bloom throughout the summer?
view the full question and answer

Overwintering Texas bluebonnets
November 17, 2011 - I planted Texas Bluebonnet and I want to know how to save them through the winter months. I think they are so beautiful. Can I cover them with something?
view the full question and answer

Cutting back plants after frost from Seguin TX
February 13, 2014 - When is best time to cut back native plants after frost kill? Thanks
view the full question and answer

Freeze damage to esperanza in pot from Brady TX
December 10, 2009 - My esperanza, currently in a container, has suffered some freeze damage. I have prepared a planting spot for it and am not sure whether to plant now, trim it back if I do plant it, etc. I would appr...
view the full question and answer

Flower sucession for Washington DC
June 18, 2012 - Interplanting to cover up spring ephemerals. When bulbs/spring ephemerals (camassia, bluebells, etc.) are dying back, their wilting leaves don't look so great. What can I plant to minimize the me...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center