Chasmanthium latifolium

River Oats

$3.00 - $120.00

1/8 oz.
1/4 oz.
1/2 oz.
1 oz.
1 lb.

3 Pack
Out of Stock
Tray of 38
Out of Stock
Tray of 50
Out of Stock

Also called Uniola latifolia or Northern Sea Oats, River Oats is a very ornamental grass that is easily identifiable from its drooping inflorescences and compressed spikelets. It is commonly used as a low-maintenance shade grass or used to prevent soil erosion. It readily self-seeds and can become a dense mat in a short amount of time. If River Oats become too aggressive, they are easily transplanted or removed. River Oats thrive in moist sand, loam, and clay.

The pale green spikelets turn golden-brown by fall. The seed stalks are beautiful all year long and are commonly used in native flower arrangements or dried arrangements. The seeds are often consumed by birds and small mammals. River Oats is one of the host plants of the Pepper and Salt Skipper

Customer praise for River Oats:
"I have this in front of my yard by the sidewalk. Good in really dry years too. Prodigious self-sower."  -Michael J., Staten Island, NY

"I love this plant!  Does great on slopes where the firm root mass helps hold the soil in place."  -Susan O., Iowa City

"My suburban Chicago 150'x10' boulevard/verge/berm area is planted with this. The self-sowing/spreading characteristic comes in handy for replacing areas damaged by road and sidewalk plows.  I can't imagine a better use for this grass or a better no-maintenance plant for this type of semi-public area. It is a sight to behold in a light fall breeze."  -Nathanial P., Wilmette, IL

Live Plant Shipping Table

Spring Fall Age/Size
Potted 3-Packs May/June September 2.5" wide x 3.5" deep pots
Potted Tray of 38* May/June N/A 2" wide x 5" deep plugs
Potted Trays of 50 May August 2" wide x 5" deep plugs
*This species is a choice in the Mix & Match - Create Your Own Tray!

Chasmanthium latifolium - River Oats

Map Key

Present in state
Present but introduced in county
Present and native in county; not rare
Not present in state
Present and native in county; rare
Species extirpated (historic)
State or county listed as noxious
Present in state; exotic

This map shows the native and introduced (adventive) range of this species. Given appropriate habitat and climate, native plants can be grown outside their range.

5 Questions asked on Chasmanthium latifolium

Will wild birds benefit from this plant? Can they eat the seed heads?
Thanks for your question Alia! Yes, some birds will eat the seed heads. The leaves and stems can also be used for bird's nests.
Is this grass clump forming? How aggressive does it spread?
Thanks for your question, Erin. Chasmanthium latifolium is slightly rhizomatous, so it can form loose colonies from this spreading underground system. Seedlings will spread around the area if the seedheads are left on through maturity. You can easily curb this propagation by cutting off the seedheads in the fall.
what is the root depth of the plant?
Hello Mark, Good Question! This species of oats roots down to around 10" deep. I hope this helps!
How much seed is needed per acre to seed a solid stand of this? Thank you!
Hello Tyler, We would suggest around 10lbs/Acre to get a solid stand of River Oats.
We have an area that is about 1300 square feet where we would like to plant river oates. How much seed do we need for that area?
Hi Rachael. We feel about 12 oz for 1000 sq ft would be sufficient. That would be about 55 seeds falling on every sq ft. So, for 1300 sq ft, you should order about 1 lb.

River Oats does need to go through stratification in order to germinate, so get it on the clean, prepared ground ASAP!


Growing your own plants from seed is the most economical way to add natives to your home. Before you get started, one of the most important things to know about the seeds of wild plants is that many have built-in dormancy mechanisms that prevent the seed from germinating. In nature, this prevents a population of plants from germinating all at once, before killing frosts, or in times of drought. To propagate native plants, a gardener must break this dormancy before seed will grow.

Each species is different, so be sure to check the GERMINATION CODE listed on the website, in the catalog, or on your seed packet. Then, follow the GERMINATION INSTRUCTIONS prior to planting. Some species don't need any pre-treatment to germinate, but some species have dormancy mechanisms that must be broken before the seed will germinate. Some dormancy can be broken in a few minutes, but some species take months or even years.

Seed dormancy can be broken artificially by prolonged refrigeration of damp seed in the process of cold/moist STRATIFICATION. A less complicated approach is to let nature handle the stratifying through a dormant seeding, sowing seeds on the surface of a weed-free site in late fall or winter. Tucked safely beneath the snow, seeds will be conditioned by weathering to make germination possible in subsequent growing seasons.

To learn more, read our BLOG: How to Germinate Native Seeds

Dormant Bare Root Plants

We dig plants when they are dormant from our outdoor beds and ship them April-May and October. Some species go dormant in the summer and we can ship them July/August. We are among the few still employing this production method, which is labor intensive but plant-friendly. They arrive to you dormant, with little to no top-growth (bare-root), packed in peat moss. They should be planted as soon as possible. Unlike greenhouse-grown plants, bare-root plants can be planted during cold weather or anytime the soil is not frozen. A root photo is included with each species to illustrate the optimal depth and orientation. Planting instructions/care are also included with each order.

Download: Installing Your Bare-Root Plants

Potted Plants

3-packs and trays of 32, 38, or 50 plants leave our Midwest greenhouses based on species readiness (being well-rooted for transit) and order date; Spring shipping is typically early May through June, and Fall shipping is mid-August through September. Potted 3-packs and trays of 38 plugs are started from seed in the winter so are typically 3-4 months old when they ship. Trays of 32/50 plugs are usually overwintered so are 1 year old. Plant tray cells are approximately 2” wide x 5” deep in the trays of 38 and 50, and 2.5" wide x 3.5" deep in the 3-packs and trays of 32; ideal for deep-rooted natives. Full-color tags and planting & care instructions are included with each order.

Download: Planting and Care of Potted Plants

*PLEASE NOTE: we are a mail order nursery and have no retail facilities, but you may pick up your order if prior arrangements are made. Pick up orders are subject to **MN Sales Tax.

Shipping & Handling Charges

SEED $100.00 and under: $5.00
Retail SEED orders over $100.00 ship free!

Custom seed mixes or discounted seed sales over $100, add 5% of the total seed cost
(for orders over $1,000 a package signature may be required)

BARE ROOT and POTTED PLANTS $50.00 and under: $9.00
over $50.00: 18% of the total plant cost. (For orders over $1,000 a package signature may be required.)

TOOLS and BOOKS have the shipping fee included in the cost of the product (within the contiguous US).

**We are required to collect state sales tax in certain states. Your state's eligibility and % will be calculated at checkout. MN State Sales Tax of 7.375% is applied for orders picked up at our MN location. Shipping & handling charges are also subject to the sales tax.

Shipping Season

SEED, TOOLS and BOOKS are sent year-round. Most orders ship within 1-3 business days.

BARE ROOT PLANTS are shipped during optimal transplanting time: Spring (April-May) and Fall (Oct). Some ephemeral species are also available for summer shipping. Since our plants are field-grown, Nature sets the schedule each year as to when our season will begin and end. We fill all orders, on a first-come, first-serve basis, to the best of our ability depending on weather conditions beyond our control.

POTTED PLANTS (Trays of 32/38/50 plugs and 3-packs) typically begin shipping early May and go into June; shipping time is heavily dependent on all the species in your order being well-rooted. If winter-spring greenhouse growing conditions are favorable and all species are well-rooted at once, then we ship by order date (first come, first serve). We are a Midwest greenhouse, and due to the challenges of getting all the species in the Mix & Match and Pre-Designed Garden Kits transit-ready at the same time, we typically can't ship before early May. Earlier shipment requests will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

*We are unable to ship PLANTS (bare root or potted) outside the contiguous US or to CALIFORNIA due to regulations.


We ship using USPS, UPS and Spee Dee. UPS and Spee Dee are often used for expediting plant orders; they will not deliver to Post Office Box numbers, so please also include your street address if ordering plants. We send tracking numbers to your email address so please include it when you order.



Germination Code
Life Cycle
Sun Exposure
Soil Moisture
Medium-Wet, Medium
3 feet
Bloom Time
July, August, September
Deer Resistant
Recommended for home landscaping but potentially aggressive; could overwhelm small landscapes
USDA Zones
Plant Spacing
Catalog Code