Canebrakes in the southeastern United States form a unique ecosystem composed of monotypic stands of the cane species Arundinaria gigantea Michaux within bottomland hardwood forests. Since European settlement, canebrakes have been reduced to less than 2% of their historic range and are considered a critically endangered ecosystem. Despite efforts to restore bottomland hardwood forests to the landscape, current practices have yet to address restoration strategies for canebrakes. This paper synthesizes current understanding of abiotic and biotic factors limiting canebrake reestablishment within bottomland hardwood forest complexes. Consideration is given to the effects of hydrology, landscape and biogeographic factors, disturbance, cane reproductive history, growth patterns, and herbivory on canebrake establishment and persistence. While there is no single factor controlling the distribution and abundance of canebrakes, it is reasonable to believe abiotic factors have a greater impact on the establishment of canebrake systems than biotic factors. Once ecosystem hydrology, topography, and disturbance regimes are restored, biotic factors may have a greater limiting effect on canebrake reestablishment. Herbivory is particularly detrimental to canebrake formation and maintenance by decreasing cane density and cover, selectively removing root stock, and facilitating colonization of areas formerly occupied by cane. This review concludes that under current restoration and management practices of restored bottomland hardwood forests, widespread canebrakes seem unlikely to reestablish.