Giant Reed Arundo donax 'Macrophylla'

👤 Non-toxic to humans
🐾 Non-toxic to pets
🌸 Not blooming
🍪 Not edible
‍🌱 Easy-care
giant reed 'Macrophylla'
giant reed 'Macrophylla'
giant reed 'Macrophylla'
giant reed 'Macrophylla'
giant reed 'Macrophylla'
giant reed 'Macrophylla'
giant reed 'Macrophylla'
giant reed 'Macrophylla'
giant reed 'Macrophylla'
giant reed 'Macrophylla'
giant reed 'Macrophylla'


Arundo donax 'Macrophylla', commonly known as giant reed, is a perennial grass with a robust and striking appearance. This plant features long, wide leaves that are bright green, creating a dense and lush foliage that arches gracefully. The leaves are smooth and may have a tapered shape, coming to a point at the tips, and they bear some resemblance to those of corn or bamboo. During its growing season, the giant reed develops feathery plumes that emerge from the tops of the canes, adding a soft, decorative element to the plant. These plumes are typically cream or silvery in color, which contrasts nicely with the green of the leaves. The stout, sturdy canes of the giant reed have a color that might range from green to a tawny hue, and they rise vertically, giving the plant a very upright and robust structure. The overall impression of the giant reed 'Macrophylla' is one of lushness and vigor, and it contributes a tropical or exotic feel to the landscapes where it is used, with its dense foliage and noticeable plumes.

Plant Info
Common Problems

About this plant

  • memoNames

    • Family


    • Synonyms

      Giant Reed, Spanish Cane, Wild Cane, Carrizo, Arundo, Giant Cane, Elephant Grass

    • Common names

      Arundo donax 'Macrophylla'.

  • skullToxicity

    • To humans

      Giant Reed is not commonly listed as a toxic plant for humans, and there are no well-documented cases of poisoning from ingesting this plant. However, it's always prudent to avoid eating plants that are not specifically intended for consumption, as they may cause irritation or an allergic reaction.

    • To pets

      Similarly, Giant Reed is not known to be toxic to pets. There is little information suggesting that dogs, cats, or other animals are at risk of poisoning from ingesting parts of this plant. However, as with humans, it is generally wise to prevent pets from eating ornamental plants to avoid any potential gastrointestinal upset or allergic reactions.

  • infoCharacteristics

    • Life cycle


    • Foliage type


    • Color of leaves


    • Height

      20 feet (6 meters)

    • Spread

      6 feet (1.8 meters)

    • Plant type


    • Hardiness zones


    • Native area



  • money-bagGeneral Benefits

    • Erosion Control: Its strong root system helps stabilize soil, particularly along riverbanks and in areas susceptible to erosion.
    • Bioenergy Crop: It can be used as a biomass source for bioenergy production due to its rapid growth and high yield.
    • Wind Break: It can act as a natural windbreak, helping to protect crops and land from wind damage.
    • Wildlife Habitat: Provides habitat and food for various wildlife species, including birds and insects.
    • Ornamental Value: With its tall stature and large leaves, it offers an aesthetic appeal for gardens and landscapes.
    • Noise Barrier: Its dense growth can help reduce noise pollution in urban and suburban settings.
    • Phytoremediation: It has the potential to remove contaminants from the soil, although this is not its primary use.
    • Cultural Uses: In some regions, it is used for traditional crafting materials, like reeds for musical instruments.
    • Rapid Growth: Fast-growing nature makes it useful for creating quick screens or hedges.
    • Adaptability: It can thrive in a range of environments, which makes it versatile for different landscaping purposes.

  • medicalMedical Properties

    This plant is not used for medical purposes.

  • windAir-purifying Qualities

    This plant is not specifically known for air purifying qualities.

  • leavesOther Uses

    • Windbreak and Privacy Screening: Giant reed is often planted in rows to create a fast-growing, dense barrier that offers privacy and protection against wind.
    • Erosion Control: Its extensive root system makes it useful for stabilizing banks and preventing soil erosion in riparian zones.
    • Sound Insulation: The thick stands of giant reed can help reduce road noise or noise pollution when planted along highways or between properties.
    • Musical Instrument Material: The canes of giant reed are used in the construction of wind instruments such as clarinets, oboes, and saxophones.
    • Ornamental Gardening: Thanks to its large foliage and height, it is used as an ornamental plant in gardens that can accommodate its vigorous growth.
    • Agricultural Stakes: The strong, hollow canes of the plant can be used as stakes for supporting other plants in agriculture or gardening.
    • Bioplastics Production: Research is exploring the use of the cellulose fibers from giant reed to manufacture biodegradable plastics.
    • Fencing Material: The canes can be used to make natural fencing materials, providing a rustic aesthetic to garden spaces.
    • Thatching: In traditional construction, the canes of giant reed can be used for thatching roofs of cottages and other outdoor structures.
    • Crafts and Art: Artisans utilize the versatile canes for making items such as baskets, mats, and ornaments.

Interesting Facts

  • bedFeng Shui

    The Giant Reed is not used in Feng Shui practice.

  • aquariusZodiac Sign Compitability

    The Giant Reed is not used in astrology practice.

  • spiralPlant Symbolism

    • Prosperity - Giant Reed is often associated with prosperity due to its rapid growth and ability to thrive in various conditions.
    • Protection - In some cultures, Giant Reed has been used to construct barriers and fences, symbolizing protection and safety.
    • Adaptability - The adaptability of Giant Reed to different environments makes it a symbol of flexibility and resilience in the face of change.
    • Invasiveness - Due to its aggressive growth and tendency to crowd out native species, Giant Reed can symbolize dominance or unchecked expansion.

Every 1-2 weeks
2500 - 10000 Lux
Every 2-3 years
Spring to Summer
As needed
  • water dropWater

    The Giant Reed should be watered thoroughly, ensuring that the soil is kept consistently moist, but not waterlogged. It prefers ample water, so depending on the climate, watering may be necessary weekly. During the growing season, in hot and dry periods, watering may increase to two or three times a week. Each watering session should provide enough water to penetrate the soil deeply—approximately one to two gallons per plant. In cooler months or during rainfall, reduce the frequency to prevent overwatering.

  • sunLight

    The Giant Reed thrives in full sunlight, so plant it in an area where it will receive at least six hours of direct sunlight daily. It can tolerate some partial shade but will achieve its best growth and form in a full sun exposure spot. Avoid deeply shaded areas to ensure the plant's vitality and health.

  • thermometerTemperature

    The Giant Reed is hardy and can tolerate a wide range of temperatures but grows best in environments between 68°F to 86°F. It can survive minimal exposure to temperatures as low as 20°F and can endure highs up to around 100°F, making it adaptable to many climates. However, consistently maintaining the ideal temperature range will ensure optimal growth.

  • scissorsPruning

    Pruning the Giant Reed should be done to remove any dead or damaged stalks and to control its size, as it can become quite large and invasive. Prune in late winter or early spring before new growth begins. Pruning can be done annually, cutting back the canes to the desired height to encourage fresh, vigorous shoots.

  • broomCleaning

    As needed

  • bambooSoil

    The best soil mixture for Giant Reed (Arundo donax 'Macrophylla') should be rich in organic matter and well-draining. A mix containing loam, compost, and a small amount of sand is ideal to facilitate good drainage and provide nutrients. The soil pH should be slightly acidic to neutral, ranging from 6.0 to 7.5 for optimal growth.

  • plantRepotting

    Giant Reed (Arundo donax 'Macrophylla') doesn't often require repotting as it is usually grown in the ground given its size. If grown in containers, repotting should be done every 2-3 years or when the plant has outgrown its current pot, showing roots through the drainage holes.

  • water dropsHumidity & Misting

    Giant Reed (Arundo donax 'Macrophylla') is adaptable to a range of humidity levels but prefers a moderate to high humidity environment. Although it tolerates average outdoor humidity, it thrives when there is some moisture in the air, so no specific humidity level is required.

  • pinSuitable locations

    • Indoor

      Place Giant Reed in bright, indirect light indoors with ample space.

    • Outdoor

      Plant Giant Reed in full sun to partial shade with moist soil.

    • Hardiness zone

      7-11 USDA

  • circleLife cycle

    Arundo donax 'Macrophylla,' commonly known as Giant Reed, begins its life cycle as a rhizome fragment or a small clump of rhizomes planted in soil. Once established, the rhizomes sprout shoots that grow rapidly into tall canes with broad leaves, thriving in warm seasons and often reaching heights of over 20 feet in favorable conditions. In its perennial growth cycle, the above-ground biomass dies back in the winter, with the rhizomes surviving underground to resprout the following spring. Although flowering is rare in cultivation, if the plant does flower, it produces a large, feathery plume late in the summer or fall, which can disseminate seeds if fertilization occurs. However, reproduction is primarily vegetative, with new clumps forming from rhizome pieces that break off and establish new plants. The Giant Reed can live for several years, forming dense stands through its vigorous growth and rhizomatous spread before any intervention or natural decline occurs.

  • sproutPropogation

    • Propogation time

      Spring to Summer

    • Propogation: Arundo donax 'Macrophylla', commonly known as Giant Reed, is typically propagated using division, which is the most popular method. This process is ideally done in late winter to early spring, just before the plant resumes active growth. To propagate by division, one would start by digging up a mature clump of Giant Reed and gently separating the rhizomes, ensuring that each division has at least one bud or node. The divisions are then planted in a mix of moist soil and sand to encourage root development. These should be placed at a depth where the top of the rhizome is about an inch (approximately 2.5 cm) below the soil surface. Adequate watering is crucial to help establish the new plants. Once new growth appears, indicating that the division has taken root, regular care can resume.