Eriophorum angustifolium: complete file of cottongrass

Cottongrass is decorative

There are many wild grasses that can be used in landscaping. One of them is known as cottongrass or Eriophorum angustifolium. When it bears fruit, the white of its fruits, which look like cotton threads, contrast wonderfully with the green of its stems, as well as with the green of any other plant that we have in the garden or on the terrace.

It is therefore very interesting to place it in a visible place, so that it can stand out when it is at its best. But, How is this herb grown and cared for?


Origin and characteristics of Eriophorum angustifolium

Eriophorum angustifolium is an aquatic plant

Image – Wikimedia/Willow

It’s a perennial, rhizomatous herb native to the northern hemisphere, where it lives in grasslands and springs with acidic pH. It reaches an approximate height of 30 to 60 centimeters, for which it develops erect stems from which grow relatively small leaves of about 3 to 5 centimeters.

The flowers are spikelets with very short hairs., up to 5 centimeters. When fruiting, they are completely covered in soft white hairs.

It is popularly known as cotton grass, swamp cotton, shrike, or white shirt. Its scientific name is Eriophorbum angustifoliumand is classified in the group of grasses, more precisely in the family of Cyperaceae.

What care does it require?

Cottongrass is a grass that practically does not require complex care. It is a very grateful plant that I am sure will bring you much joy. But yes, since problems can arise when you least expect them, we are going to talk a little about how to take care of it to avoid, as far as possible, that it gets damaged:

Where to put it?

The Eriophorum angustifolium withstands sub-zero temperatures very very well, so must be placed outside. In addition, to flourish it needs direct sun, so it is important to avoid putting it in the shade, otherwise we will not be able to enjoy its flowers or fruits.

In a pot or in the ground?

where you prefer Cottongrass is a rather small plant, whose roots are not invasive. Whereby It can be in a pot all its life, or in the ground.. The only thing you need to keep in mind is that if it is going to be in a container, it needs to have holes for the water to come out, and the soil needs to be acidic, with a low pH, between 4 and 6. For example, any substrate for acid plants of the Flower or Battle brands, or even coconut fiber (on sale here) will work well, of which we leave you a video below:

How often to water it?

The Eriophorum angustifolium grows in soils that are always moist, therefore, It needs to be watered very often. so that the earth remains like this every day. Even though it’s in a jar, you can place a plate underneath and refill it whenever it seems dry. But yes, it should be watered with rainwater whenever possible, or with clean drinking water.

We’ll water until the ground is soakedsince in this way all the roots are hydrated and the plant is healthy and perfect.

Do you have to pay?

If it is planted in the garden, it is not necessary. But if it is in a pot, then it will be strongly recommended to pay it. This will be done from early spring until late summer, using organic fertilizers such as guano, earthworm humus (get it here) or seaweed extract which you can to buy.

However, the latter should not be abused, because although it contains a large amount of the nutrients it needs, it is very alkaline and if used too frequently the leaves will turn yellow. What we can do is, for example, fertilize it every month with guano, except for one or two months a year which will be fertilized with seaweed fertilizer.

When should it be transplanted?

Although it is quite a small plant, especially when compared to others in the family such as papyrus (Cyperus papyrus), it is important that, if you want to keep it in a pot throughout its life, it is planted in a pot about 5 centimeters larger every time the roots come out.

And if we are interested in planting it in the garden, we will do it only when it is well rooted in the pot, because otherwise, by removing it from the container, the root ball could be undone, and if that happened, it would cost much more to overcome the transplant.

How is it multiplied?

Cottongrass blooms in the spring

Image – Flickr/Joan Simon

You can propagate it by seed in the spring. These are sown directly in pots or planters with coir or acid plant soil. The seedbed is left outside for the sun to give it, and it is watered so that the earth does not dry out. This way they will germinate after about a month, although they may take less if fresh.


The Eriophorum angustifolium withstands temperatures up to -20ºC.

Did you know this plant?

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