Calamagrostis Canadensis: Bluejoint Grass Information and Care

Calamagrostis Candensis, or Bluejoint Grass, is a grass with beautiful silky stems. Why consider it and how to care for it?

Landscapers with pools of water, ponds, bogs, marshes, swamps, or other wetlands on their property may profit greatly from wetland grasses. 

Bluejoint Grass is one of several wetland grass species that is both attractive and functional.

General Information

Calamagrostis canadensis is derived from the Greek terms Kalamos, who is a mythological persona and the deity of the Meander River, and agrostis, which means grass.

Other popular names for this species are bluejoint reedgrass,  Canadian reedgrass, Canada bluejoint, meadow pinegrass, marsh reed grass, and marsh pinegrass. 

Bluejoint can be found from low to mid-elevations over much of Canada and the United States, except for maybe the Southeast.

This is a hardy, perennial cool-season grass with silky stems that reach 60 to 180 cm in height and have 3-8 nodes that branch upwards. Bluejoint’s nodes are bluish-purple in color.

This plant expands slowly, about 5-15 cm per year, due to fibrous roots or rhizomes that develop a sod.

They are delightful to look at in all seasons since they are bluish-purplish in the summer and turn tan later in the season.

The leaves are 3–8 mm in width, ribbed, loose, and abrasive to the touch.

The flower head (panicle) measures 10 to 20 to 30 cm in length. It evolves from a narrow to an open and freely branching plant and transitions from a standing erect to a bending position upon maturity.

The minute tufts on one end of the shell of the minuscule seeds are easily spread by the wind. Their seed has a pink-green hue that is intriguing but not display material.

The seeds can live in the soil for up to 5 years. They have no dormancy and will germinate whether planted in the fall or spring.

Bluejoint Grass has been utilized as a grazing and hay source for horses and cattle;  it is also consumed by American Bison, deer, and elk. It is said to taste best before the seedheads emerge in the spring.

Because it develops clusters and grows to be rather tall, this grass serves as a nesting habitat for many wetland species as well as providing shelter for small mammals, pythons, birds, and other wildlife.

Blue joint grass growing abundantly in the forest

Care and Maintenance

Ideal Amount of Sun

It grows effectively in either full or partial sunlight.

Water Preference and Inundation Tolerance

It has a drought tolerance rating of 2, indicating that it has to be irrigated to the root depth once every two weeks.

Bluejoint, according to reports, can only withstand seasonal and spring flooding to a depth of 6 inches. However, it cannot survive prolonged and constant flooding.

This grass tolerates standing water such as puddles, ponds, precipitation, and drain water if it does not last the entire growing season.

reedgrass calamagrostis by the river


This plant prefers nutrient-rich, peat, or deep, fine-textured substrates that remain saturated throughout the summer.

This plant thrives on soils that range from very acidic to mildly alkaline, with pH level between 3.5 – 8.

Ideal Temperature

This grass grows well in moist temperate and cool mesothermal areas.


Bluejoint can be found in several habitats, including meadows, open forests, moist thickets or swamps, marshes, bogs, ditches, stream and lake edges. 

It can quickly take over disturbed regions, particularly in cooler northern forests after cutting trees (logging) or fire.


Insects that consume this grass are: 

  • Plant bugs – Collaria meilleurii
  • Aphids – Atheroides serrulatus and Sitobion beiquei
  • Leafhoppers – Hecalus major, Cribrus shingwauki, Orchellimum delicatum (Delicate Meadow Katydid).

Other Suggested Care:

  • There is no special care required, but it should be noted that this spreads swiftly, so use extreme caution if planted in small, confined areas.
  • It is best planted or divided in the early to late spring and early autumn. 
  • Because of the slow spread of rhizomes, these should be planted on 0.5-1.5 foot spacing.
  • It should be chopped down in the early spring before it begins to grow.
  • Planting density should range between 3,500 and 7,000 plants per acre.
  • In some localities, this species is vulnerable to overgrazing, and multiple cuts can lower fodder supplies.
Growing pink sod grass in the forest

Weediness and Control

This plant may become invasive or weedy in some regions. Thus the need for reforestation.

Listed below are examples of methods of control for reforestation:

  • Herbicide application   
  • Biological control with diseases 
  • Minimal or specialized mechanical site preparation procedures 
  • Deep burning, Hot fires 

How to Use it in Landscapes

Bluejoint works best in the natural setting and matches well with Eupatoriums and other similar perennials.

Another interesting option is to interplant this grass with Festuca gigantea to enhance the shady garden location.

Also Ideal for open forests, woodland edges, wet meadows, and other moist environments, including ponds, rain gardens, and streams.

They are also effective for naturalizing, ground covering, and as a pleasant transition from a garden to the surrounding natural terrain.

They can conceal awful-looking ditches or swampy regions, making these elements the centerpiece of your landscape.

These grasses are also effective for rehabilitating and improving wetlands, as well as shoreline and stream bank fortification.

Abundant green grass in the forest

Companion Plants

Pycnanthemum Muticum

Pycnanthemum muticum, known colloquially as mountain mint, short-toothed mountain mint, or clustered mountain mint, is a fragrant clump-forming perennial that can reach a height of 1-3 feet.

Instead of a genuine flower petal, the plant’s shiny, silvery appearance was generated by a pair of silver-colored bracts or modified foliage that covered the terminal head of those little white to light pink flowers. 

When planted in groups or massed, the silvery bracts create the impression that the entire planting has been sprinkled with white powdery snow.

They are adored by pollinators such as bees, helpful wasps, moths, and butterflies for their nectar.

Eupatorium cannabinum

Eupatorium cannabinum, often known as Hemp-Agrimony or Holy Rope, is a woody perennial herb that favors and colonizes damp areas like swamps, marshes, and stream banks. 

This woody perennial herb can reach a height of 5ft by 3ft. As a hemicryptophyte, the plant survives the winter.

This vigorous and excellent late flowering plant produces dense sprays of fragrant, deep pink flowers on sturdy cane-like stalks from June to September.

The flower heads are small, fluffy, and pale powdery pink or whitish in color. The fruit is an achene approximately 2 or 3 mm long that is carried by a pappus with 3 to 5 mm long hairs that is spread by the wind.

hemp seedlings of a eupatorium cannabinum

Festuca gigantea

Festuca gigantea produces panicles of magnificent golden-green blossoms in July and August.
The inflorescence is overhanging and consists of flower spikelets with lengthy awns (bristle).

The grasses grow swiftly, reaching heights ranging from 45 to 150 cm. The leaves range in length from 50 to 60 cm.. 

Carex muskingumensis

This plant is commonly known as palm sedge because its leaves resemble miniature palm fronds.

In June and July, golden brown blooms appear on stalks up to 75cm tall.

It is a popular landscaping plant that thrives and flourishes well in clay soils and makes an excellent groundcover. Plant one foot apart for a groundcover or small patch, or use alone as a leaf accent plant.

It also makes an excellent addition to wetlands and water gardens. 

The gorgeous foliage and golden autumn hue make it an ideal accent. 

Carex stricta 

The fresh leaves are a vibrant green with a fountain-like look. In the spring, culms appear above the leaves, producing thick, towering flower stalks. 

The green inflorescences give way to spikey reddish-brown seed clusters. Tussocks are formed by these watery sprouting grasses. 

It grows well in direct sunlight, partial shade, standing water, and mucky soil.

It is a rhizomatous evergreen sedge that grows in thick clusters up to 1-3 feet tall and 2 feet wide.

carex stricta evergreen grass

Liatris Spicata 

Dense gayfeather is an upright herbaceous perennial with brilliant purple flower spikes that is also known as Dense blazing star, Marsh blazing star, and Spiked blazing star. 

The leaves are grass-like and grow in clusters. The basal cluster of alternate, thin, vibrant green foliage with a strong central vein can grow to be up to 12 inches in length and 1/3 inch in width.

The leaves become smaller as the flower stalk ascends. The stem is round and smooth to somewhat hairy, and it ranges in color from green to purple.

Flower spikes range in length from 6 to 12 inches and are densely packed with stemless mauve, pink, or white flowers that burst from the bottom up. Several kinds may have red blooms.

Its blossoms attract butterflies, bees, and other pollinators. Larvae of Schinia sanguinea (Liatris Flower Moth) consume the flowers and seeds, whereas Carmenta anthracipennis (Liatris Borer Moth) consume the stems. Goldfinches gobble up the seeds.

Purple liatris flower of a garden grass
Jeffrey Douglas
Jeffrey Douglas own a landscaping company and has been in the business for over 20 years. He loves all things related to lawns or gardens and believes that proper maintenance is the key to preventing problems in the first place.
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