Inflorescence of Slender rush (Juncus tenuis). One of 100+ species of Pacific Northwest native plants available at Sparrowhawk Native Plants, Native Plant Nursery in Portland, Oregon.
Slender rush (Juncus tenuis). One of 100+ species of Pacific Northwest native plants available at Sparrowhawk Native Plants, Native Plant Nursery in Portland, Oregon.
Field of Slender Rush (Juncus tenuis). One of 100+ species of Pacific Northwest native plants available at Sparrowhawk Native Plants, Native Plant Nursery in Portland, Oregon.

Slender Rush

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Juncus tenuis

Slender Rush forms tufts of soft, bright green foliage that provide beauty and structure to the garden all year long. The leaves branch off from the base into an attractive fan-shape, with spiky flower heads positioned at the top. The flowers that appear in late summer and early fall are relatively unnoticeable but are attractive to pollinators and scores of beneficial insects.

  • Plant type/canopy layer: evergreen perennial grass or grass-like
  • Size at maturity: 6”-20” tall, 1-2' wide
  • Light requirements: full sun, part sun/part shade
  • Moisture requirements: moist to wet soil
  • Bloom time: Aug - Sept
  • Growth rate/ease: medium growth rate, easy to grow
  • Wildlife support: attracts and supports bees, other insect pollinators, beneficial insects and pest eating insects, caterpillar host plant and larval food source
  • Native habitat/range: Found along the freshwater shorelines, swales, springs, dune hollows, openings in wet woods, marshes, damp paths, ditches, and other moist disturbed sites up to 1800m, throughout most of North America. Portland Plant List - yes.
  • Special features & uses: erosion control, groundcover, evergreen, ideal in wet meadows, pollinator gardens, wet rock gardens, raingardens, and openings in woodland gardens 

Gardening with Slender Rush:  This is a highly versatile and extraordinary low-maintenance plant when placed in the right place; such as full to mostly sunny wetlands, raingardens or wet meadows. It tolerates seasonally wet soil, provided it’s well-draining and is excellent at controlling erosion. It is also called path rush because it sends linear rhizomes that can ornamentally flank the sides of garden paths.


Photo Credit 1: "Juncus tenuis" by Matt Lavin is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Photo Credit 2: "Juncus tenuis" by Matt Lavin is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Photo Credit 3: "Juncus tenuis" by Matt Lavin is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0