Explore Plants

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

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

Search Smarty Plants
    
 

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

Seasonal tasks for Big Red Sage and Tall Aster in Marble Falls TX
January 09, 2012 - I transplanted some Big Red Sage and Tall Aster into my raised bed garden in early summer this year. They've sent up lots of rosettes. Do I need to protect them from freezing in winter? Do I need to ...
view the full question and answer

Too late to begin planting in May in Austin?
April 30, 2008 - Is it too late to begin planting in May? I live in Austin Texas and have finally completed my plans for a native Texas landscaping (plants and grass) of my front yard. I'd like to get the landscapi...
view the full question and answer

Trimming of Aster ericoides in Philadelphia
March 20, 2010 - Should I cut back my Aster ericoides, ‘schneegitter’ in the spring?
view the full question and answer

Trimming native salvias in January
January 17, 2008 - I have heard you can trim Hot Lips, Raspberry and other salvias back severely in January, to about six inches from the ground. Is this correct?
view the full question and answer

When to prune Texas betony (Stachys coccinea)
May 28, 2007 - I bought Texas Betony plants several years ago at Wildflower Days. They are thriving, but a bit leggy. Somewhere I read that they should be cut back several times during the year. Now I can't find...
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.