Elymus canadensis

Elymus canadensis Canada Wild Rye


Canada Wild Rye nodding seed heads and warm green mid-summer color are readily identifiable.  It is a cool-season grass; actively growing during the spring and fall when soil temperatures are cool.  It is one of the first grasses to be prevalent throughout a prairie planting, but after several years it largely will have given way to other grasses and wildflowers.  For this reason it can also be used as a native Cover Crop.  Use 1-5 lbs per acre when seeding with your native seed mix

Various insects feed on Canada Wild Rye and other species in the Elymus genus, including leafhoppers, aphids, and leaf beetles. Caterpillars of various leaf miner moths mine the leaves of these grasses, and caterpillars of the False Wainscot Moth also eat the leaves. As the plant matures, seedheads of Canada Wild Rye may be sharp and can cause injury to grazing animals so they generally leave it alone. In a garden setting or a prairie, the sharp awns could pose a risk to pets.

Elymus canadensis - Canada Wild Rye

Map Key

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.

2 Questions asked on Elymus canadensis

Q Matt • August 22 How many pounds of Canada Wild Rye are needed to seed an acre?
A Prairie Moon • August 23 If you want a solid stand, we would recommend about 20 lbs/acre.
Q Robert • June 25 Can I start E. canadensis from seed anytime in the growing season or should I wait till fall or spring?
A Prairie Moon • June 26 Hi Robert. Yes, you could. It is a Germ Code:A, meaning it will germinate without any pre-treatment, but it likes cool soil so sowing it now, late-June, you would not get a lot of growth and the new seedlings could even roast if you can't water them in a hot, dry spell. There is some evidence that germ code A prairie grasses do better with spring over fall seedings so that would be our recommendation, if you have the luxury of waiting until next April-May.
*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 wholesale 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: $7.50
over $50.00: 15% 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 a day or two upon receipt.

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
Short-Lived Perennial
Sun Exposure
Full, Partial
Soil Moisture
Medium-Wet, Medium, Medium-Dry, Dry
5 feet
Bloom Time
July, August, September, October
Bird Favorite: seeds, insects, fruit, nectar, nesting, perch Deer Resistant Highly recommended for home landscaping
USDA Zones
Plant Spacing
Catalog Number