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Butomus umbellatus

Flowering rush

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Key information

Plant type


Flower colour






Skill level


photo by Jerry Harpur, copyright GAP Photos (42966)

Plant details

This handsome marginal plant from Asia is a splendid sight at the water's edge when grown in groups of 6-10 plants. It is sometimes known as the water gladiolus because of the attractive bi-coloured flowers, 2.5cm (1in) across and gathered in a distinctive umbel at the top of stems which are taller than the long, narrow leaves. It is happiest right at the edge of the pond where it can dip its toes in shallow water. The rhizomes, used in its native region for making flour, spread vigorously and plants should be divided regularly or flowering may decline. The Royal Horticultural Society has given it its prestigious Award of Garden Merit (AGM).

Family: Butomaceae

Genus: Butomus

Species: umbellatus

Plant type: Marginal

Flower colour: Rose

Foliage colour: Mid-green

Feature: Flowers

Sun exposure: Full sun

Soil: Moist, Boggy

Hardiness: Hardy

Skill level: Experienced

Height: 120cm

Spread: 45cm

Time to plant seeds: June to August

Time to divide plants: March to May

Flowering period: July to September

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