Butomus umbellatus – Flowering rush

Height: 90-120cm (3-4ft)

Water depth: up to 15cm (6in)

Features: flowers summer

Soil: boggy

Site: sun

Type: marginal

Flowering rush (Butomus umbellatus) is one of the most beautiful water plants. In spring it pushes up spears of long, green, grass-like leaves, tinged purple when young. It grows up to l .2m (4ft) high.

In early to mid summer, the tall slender flower spikes rise above the leaves, carrying open heads of rose-pink cup-shaped flowers. Each flowerhead may be composed of up to 30 flowers, and measures 10-15cm (4-6in) across.

This elegant plant is best grown in the soil alongside a stream or pond. Take care to prevent more vigorous neighbours from swamping it.


Plant flowering rush in early to mid spring on the margins of pools or the muddy banks of slow-moving streams.

Either plant directly into the ground or use a special crate or basket, and sink this into the water, up to 15cm (6in) deep.

This aquatic will only thrive in a sunny site.

Propagation: In spring, divide the rootstock of mature plants, or remove the numerous bulbils that grow on their edges, and replant.

Pests and diseases: Trouble free.

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