How to grow Arundo donax var. versicolor

Commonly known as the Spanish Reed or Spanish Cane, Arundo donax var. versicolor is an absolutely striking selected form than is a must for any cold hardy tropical effect garden design. And why not, as unlike the true species it don't ramage across the entire garden unchecked and  will attain a reasonable height in the harden without the risk of hiding your home. For those who wish to know, Arundo donax var. versicolor will usually reach an overall height of between 2-3 metres, which compared the possible 6-10 meters of  Arundo donax when growing in its native Middle East. So how do you grow Arundo donax var. versicolor?

Arundo donax
Well, it turns out quite easily as it will happily grow in most soil conditions. That being said it will perform much better in moist soils. Water frequently, particularly during dry periods in summer. Regarding light levels it will do best in full sun to semi-shade, but when grown in the cooler climates of northern Europe avoid planting in full shade. While the foliage is indeed magnificent, it is possible to encourage the ornamental feathery purple blooms by cutting back the stems after their second year.

Come the winter the leaves can look very sad and these can be removed, however you can always cut the canes down to ground level to produce a new crop of fresh stems.This will also help the increase the size of the clump should this be your intention. In colder climates when the top few inches of soil can regularly freeze a winter mulch will help protect plant roots. Alternatively,  the roots can be lifted and potted up in the autumn. Store them in a frost free greenhouse, keeping the root ball moist, until spring when all risk of frost has passed. then they can be replanted outside once under favourable conditions.

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