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California Gray Rush

Juncus patens

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California Gray Rush (Juncus patens) at Roger's Gardens

California Gray Rush

California Gray Rush

(Photo courtesy of NetPS Plant Finder)

California Gray Rush (Juncus patens) at Roger's Gardens

California Gray Rush

California Gray Rush

(Photo courtesy of NetPS Plant Finder)

Height:  24 inches

Spread:  24 inches

Sunlight:  full sun  partial shade  full shade 

Hardiness Zone:  8a

Other Names:  Wire Grass


A grass-like perennial featuring smooth, upright, gray-green cylindrical stems that are absent of leaves; grows in dense clumps; very versatile, and adaptable to a wide range of conditions; a great garden or pondside accent

Ornamental Features

California Gray Rush is primarily valued in the garden for its ornamental upright and spreading habit of growth. It features subtle clusters of brown frilly flowers at the ends of the stems from late spring to mid fall. Its attractive grassy leaves remain bluish-green in color with showy grayish green variegation throughout the year. The bluish-green stems are very colorful and add to the overall interest of the plant.

Landscape Attributes

California Gray Rush is a dense herbaceous evergreen perennial grass with an upright spreading habit of growth. Its relatively fine texture sets it apart from other garden plants with less refined foliage.

This is a relatively low maintenance plant, and is best cleaned up in early spring before it resumes active growth for the season. Gardeners should be aware of the following characteristic(s) that may warrant special consideration;

  • Spreading

California Gray Rush is recommended for the following landscape applications;

  • Mass Planting
  • Border Edging
  • General Garden Use
  • Container Planting
  • Bog Gardens

Planting & Growing

California Gray Rush will grow to be about 24 inches tall at maturity, with a spread of 24 inches. Its foliage tends to remain dense right to the ground, not requiring facer plants in front. It grows at a fast rate, and under ideal conditions can be expected to live for approximately 8 years. As an evegreen perennial, this plant will typically keep its form and foliage year-round.

This plant performs well in both full sun and full shade. It is an amazingly adaptable plant, tolerating both dry conditions and even some standing water. It is not particular as to soil type or pH, and is able to handle environmental salt. It is highly tolerant of urban pollution and will even thrive in inner city environments. This species is native to parts of North America. It can be propagated by division.

California Gray Rush is a fine choice for the garden, but it is also a good selection for planting in outdoor pots and containers. With its upright habit of growth, it is best suited for use as a 'thriller' in the 'spiller-thriller-filler' container combination; plant it near the center of the pot, surrounded by smaller plants and those that spill over the edges. It is even sizeable enough that it can be grown alone in a suitable container. Note that when growing plants in outdoor containers and baskets, they may require more frequent waterings than they would in the yard or garden.

Hardiness Zone Plant Height Minimum Sunlight
Massing  Edging  Garden  Container  Bog 
Flowers  Foliage Color  Texture  Plant Form  Bark  Winter Value 
Ornamental Features