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Foliage Plant
of the month

corkscrew rush

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Juncus effusus ‘Spiralis’ (JUN-kus eh-FYOO-sus)

Corkscrew rush

The common name, “corkscrew rush,” accurately describes this perennial wetland plant. Its bright-green, cylindrical stems, which are hollow, form tight spirals, resembling a corkscrew. As the stems lengthen, the spirals uncoil somewhat and stretch in every direction, forming a captivating untamed mass. Outdoors, corkscrew rush is grown in shallow water gardens or beside ponds, where, once established, its rhizomes spread. Therefore, it is often planted in submerged containers to prevent it from invading and overtaking the landscape. Indoors, where it’s a relative newcomer, corkscrew rush is planted in a water-retentive potting medium with no drainage. It will reach heights of 18 to 24 inches. Plants may flower in summer, but the inflorescences, known as cymes, range from yellow-green to brown and are small and nonshowy.

With proper care, these perennial plants can last for years.

This houseplant is most readily available in spring and summer.

in-store and consumer care
LIGHT As long as the roots are able to sit in shallow water, corkscrew rush can tolerate full sun, but partial shade is ideal for this plant when it’s displayed indoors.
WATER Because this is a marginal aquatic plant, soil should be kept moist at all times. To ensure constantly moist soil, pots that have drainage may be partially submerged in another container filled with a few inches of water, replicating the boglike conditions in which this plant naturally grows.
TEMPERATUE Outdoors, this plant is a rather hardy selection and, as a houseplant, can tolerate a range of temperatures, but 65 F to 75 F is ideal.
HUMIDITY Although corkscrew rush loves a moist environment, moisture in the soil is much more important than moisture in the air. Misting is not required.
FERTILIZER Apply a balanced liquid fertilizer at half strength once a month during the growing season.
PROPOGATION Corkscrew rushes are propagated by seed and rootball division in spring.
PRUNING Old stems, which turn brown, may be snipped with scissors. In spring, the wild stems can be tamed with trimming as desired; this will also make room for new growth.
REPOTTING Healthy plants will expand, so annual division and repotting is often necessary. Repot the new divisions in containers without drainage using a neutral to acidic potting soil.

PESTS AND PROBLEMS Corkscrew rush is typically unaffected by pests; instead, the most common problem associated with this houseplant is improper watering and soil conditions.
MOISTURE NEEDS These plants prefer excessively moist soil; what would lead to root rot in most houseplants are conditions under which corkscrew rushes thrive.

fun facts
WHAT'S IN A NAME The genus name, Juncus, is the classic Latin word for rush. The species name, effusus, means “spread out” or “straggling,” both of which accurately describe this plant’s unusual growth habit.
FAMILY Corkscrew rush plants are members of the Juncaceae family, the common rush family.
HOME SWEET HOME Corkscrew rush is found in freshwater marshes and bogs all over the world and, in some areas, is considered an unruly weed.

Some information provided by:
Container Gardening: Creative Combinations for Real Gardeners by Paul Williams
Hermann Engelmann Greenhouses, Inc.,
Missouri Botanical Garden,
Proven Winners,

Reach “Foliage Plant of the Month” writer Shelley Urban at or (800) 355-8086.


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Florists' Review Enterprises, Inc.