Eriophorum Plant Growing & Care Guide for Gardeners

In this Gardener's HQ guide, we'll explore cultivating Eriophorum plants in your garden, indoor spaces, and other settings.

Cotton Grass, and Cotton Sedge: Cultivation & Garden Use

Members of the Eriophorum plant genus are oriental grasses. They can reach from 30 to 90 cm (one to three feet) in height.

They are hardy perennials that bloomm in the Summer.

Eriophorum spissum
Eriophorum spissum - Tussock cottongrass by peupleloup.

They have long lasting flowers of cottony white. Hence the common name for Eriophorum of Cotton grass.

Cottongrass by Leo-setä.

They prefer moist conditions, so are great to grow next to water features or in boggy parts of the garden.

Eriophorum Growing and Care Guide

Common Names: Cottongrass, Cotton Sedge, Cotton Grass.
Life Cycle: Hardy perennial
Height: 12 to 36 inches (30 to 90 cm).
Native: Northern America, Europe, Asia.
Family: Cyperaceae.
Growing Region: Zones 4 to 10.
Flowers: Summer.
Flower Details: White. Cotton-like.
Foliage: Herbaceous. Often leaf-less.
Sow Outside: Surface. First two months of spring. Germination time: 3 weeks. Temperature: 560 to 75°F (16 to 24°C). Spacing 12 to 18 inches (30 to 45 cm).
Sow Inside: No
Requirements and care: Full sunlight or shade. Grows in moist soil or shallow water. Acidic soil. Heavy watering to maintain soil is always moist/waterlogged. Cut back heavily at the start of spring. Propagate: by dividing in the spring.
Miscellaneous: The Common Cottongrass Eriophorum augustifolium is the county flower of Greater Manchester. Some species are food plants for geese and reindeer. Used as an alternative to a diaper/nappy by Inuits.

How to Grow Cotton Grass (Eriophorum)

It is best to grow Cotton grass from seeds in their final location. Simply sow the seeds (in triplicate) on the surface at about 40 cm (16 inches) apart. Thin out if necessary.

Cotton grass likes to grow in moist acidic soil. It is best to plant Eriophorum species in the first couple of months of spring. This should produce flowers in the summer.

The Cotton grass seeds will take about three weeks to germinate, once the temperature has reached about 15 degrees Centigrade (59°F).

Caring for Cottongrass and other Eriophorum plants in in the Garden

They can be grown in either sunny or shady conditions. Cotton grass is fairly easy to maintain.

It is important to keep the soil very moist, and the Eriophorum plant should be cut back at the beginning of spring.

Common Questions

How many members does the Eriophorum genus have?

The Eriophorum genus consists of about 25 species.

Do members of Eriophorum make a good garden or landscaping plant?

Eriophorum, or Cotton Grass, can be a striking addition to water gardens, bog gardens, or other wet areas.

Which Eriophorum species are most frequently grown by gardeners?

The Eriophorum angustifolium (Common Cotton Grass) is frequently grown by gardeners.

Are members of the Eriophorum plant genus fragrant?

No, Eriophorum plants are not known for their fragrance.

What is the perfect location to grow Eriophorum?

Eriophorum prefers full sun and wet, boggy soil conditions.

Is Eriophorum invasive in the USA, if so in which states?

Currently, Eriophorum is not considered invasive in the USA.

How do I remove Eriophorum plants from my garden?

Eriophorum can be removed by uprooting the plant, making sure to remove all roots to prevent regrowth.


The Eriophorum genus, known as Cotton Grass, includes about 25 species of flowering plants native to the Arctic, subarctic, and temperate regions. These grass-like perennials are admired for their unique, cottony seed heads, which appear in summer and resemble tufts of cotton.

Eriophorum plants prefer full sun and wet or boggy soil. They can be grown from seeds or division. With their distinctive appearance, they make excellent additions to water gardens, bog gardens, or the edges of ponds. They are also used to stabilize soil in wet areas.

I hope that you found this guide on how to grow Eriophorum plants in your garden. You may also enjoy my gardening guides on how to grow Cyperus, Japanese Water Irises, Phalaris plant, and Mimosa plants.