Carex (Sedge): Low Maintenance Grasses Your Garden Needs

Carex, more commonly known as Sedge, is a low-maintenance ornamental grass that adds texture and vibrant color to the garden. This is an extremely tough plant that will act as a groundcover to help reduce weeds while adding movement and beauty to your garden.

Sedge is available in green, silver, red, and even hues of blue with heights that vary from 6-36” depending on the variety. Carex offers a diverse range of heights, blooming times, colors, and growth habits so be sure to read all the details to ensure you pick the perfect variety to complement your garden.

The Same Plant, Different Growth Habits

Sedge, or Carex, is a deer-resistant plant that thrives best in partial shade to full shade. It especially does well planted in between other foundational plants like roses. Different varieties have different growth habits though. Most Sedge will spread through rhizomes but a few stay in clumps right where they were initially planted. Be sure to choose the right variety for your garden plan. 

Planting and Care

Plant Sedge in the cooler months of spring or fall. Choose a partial shade to full shade area and dig a hole about 6” wide and as deep as the plant’s pot. This will give the roots space to spread out. Insert the plant and make sure the root ball is level with the top of the soil line. Fill in the soil around the plant, tamping it down gently, and water deeply to help the plant settle into place. Plant additional Sedge at least 1-2’ apart in a staggered pattern to give them space to fill out. Sedge can also be planted in a pot if a clumping variety is chosen.

Sedge does not need any additional fertilization at planting or throughout the growing season. If you are concerned about soil nutrient levels, you can add a light dose of all-purpose fertilizer at the time of planting, but these grasses generally do not need supplemental nutrition. Sedge also does not love to be pruned. It is a slow-growing grass, unlike a standard lawn, and takes time to recover from a prune. If you have unsightly or damaged foliage, snip off at the base. In colder climates, you can prune back to the ground at the end of winter but it will take time for the plant to fill out in the spring. In warmer zones, Sedge will remain evergreen throughout the cold months.

Sedge is an easy plant to propagate. After a completed growing season, dig up the plant in spring and divide it with a sharp spade into two clumps containing both roots and foliage. Replant as you would a new plant. 

Four favorites for us this season are: Orange Sedge, Evergold, Ice Dance, and Evercolor Everillo.