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Carex

Description

Carex is a genus with over 2,000 species of grass-like perennial plants called sedges found all over the world.  It is in the Cyperaceae or sedge family and is often known as true sedges. This plant has a wide variety of leaf colors and textures but the leaves are triangular in cross-section. Most species in the genus spread through rhizomes or stolens, but some species grow in tufts. The genus is divided into three main groups.

Asian- Evergreen in mild climates, usually variegated and well adapted to shade.  They are suitable for containers and brighten shady corners.

New Zealand- Takes more sun, red-bronze or orange leaves common.

North American-Great lawn alternative for shady locations and restoring disturbed sites.

They are slow growing and can be more difficult to grow in a landscape setting than ornamental grasses.  Sedge can handle light foot traffic. They quickly show signs of stress if they are over fertilized or over watered.  Plant them along a border front, in small groups or use them in containers.

Diseases, Insect Pests, and Other Plant Problems:

Carex sedges are a hardy plant, but they can be sensitive to temperature fluctuations and soil conditions. They are also slow to recover from being cut back.

 

See this plant in the following landscapes:
Juniper Level Botanic Gardens: Front Shade Garden Juniper Level Botanic Gardens: Part Sun-Part Shade Gardens Juniper Level Botanic Gardens: Front Shade Garden Juniper Level Botanic Gardens: Part Sun-Part Shade Gardens Shaded Slope Border Garden- Pathway Shaded Slope Juniper Level Botanic Gardens: Front Shade Garden Border Garden- Pathway
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#wildlife plant#slow growing#sedge#cover plant#mass planting#perennial grasses#border planting#nesting sites#larval host plant#border front#food source herbage#small group plantings#stormwater demo garden orange co
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#wildlife plant#slow growing#sedge#cover plant#mass planting#perennial grasses#border planting#nesting sites#larval host plant#border front#food source herbage#small group plantings#stormwater demo garden orange co
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Carex
    Family:
    Cyperaceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    Sedges have been used for weaving baskets.
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Woody
    Distribution:
    Worldwide
    Wildlife Value:
    Seeds are a food source for small mammals, ducks, grouse, wild turkeys, songbirds. Larval food source for caterpillars. The leaves provide cover and nestings sites.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Ornamental Grasses and Sedges
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Habit/Form:
    Clumping
    Spreading
    Growth Rate:
    Slow
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Deep shade (Less than 2 hours to no direct sunlight)
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    High Organic Matter
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
  • Fruit:
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Fruit Type:
    Achene
    Nut
    Fruit Description:
    A dry, one-seeded indehiscent nutlet, sometimes trifolate.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Solitary
    Spike
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Summer
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    Solitary or dense spiklets appear spring to early summer. The defining structure of the genus Carex is the bottle-shaped bract surrounding each female flower containing a the single seeded fruit.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Leaf Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Green
    Red/Burgundy
    Leaf Feel:
    Rough
    Leaf Type:
    Sheath
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Description:
    Leaves are composed of a blade, which extends away from the stalk, and a sheath, which encloses part of the stalk. The blade is normally long and flat, but may be folded or absent. The leaves have parallel veins and a distinct midrib and triangular clums. Foliage may be green, red or brown.
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Container
    Landscape Theme:
    Butterfly Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Rain Garden
    Shade Garden
    Attracts:
    Butterflies
    Small Mammals
    Songbirds
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Foot Traffic
    Heavy Shade