Sedges such as Variegated Silver sedge, Palm sedge, and Broad-leaf sedge are easy to grow. Find how to grow and care for sedge plants and get facts and information on three popular sedge varieties. Sedges go well with other ornamental grasses to add texture to your landscape.
VARIEGATED SILVER SEDGE (Carex morrowii)
Variegated silver sedge, Carex morrowii, also known as kan suge, thrives in moist shade. It is a type of sedge that grows in Zones 5-9 to 18-24” h x 24-30” w. It is a clumping evergreen sedge with a mounded form and a leathery texture.
With adequate moisture, variegated silver sedge will tolerate full sun but may bleach to an unbecoming yellow. In hot climates, rich, moist, acid loam in partial shade is a must. Hellbores and coral bells (Heuchera) make good companions under trees or on the edge of a woodland.
Uses: Shady border, accent, ground cover
Care: enrich the bed with compost before planting. Mulch to conserve moisture. Trim back winter-damaged foliage in spring.
Propagation: Divide in springtime.
Pests and Diseases: No known problems.
Golden variegated sedge ( C. morrowii ‘Goldband’), with gold leaf margins, is smaller, growing only about 1’ tall.
‘Gilt’ has creamy white leaf margins and is rhizomatous.
Carex morrowii ‘Ice Dance’ is a very popular variety. It has distinct creamy-white variegation and is carpet forming.
Carex morrowii var. Temnolepis ‘Silk Tassel’ has fine, threadlike leaves. Formerly called Carex morrowii aureo-variegata ‘Old Gold’ and C. Morrowii aureo-variegata ‘Everbrite’, these sedges are now listed as C. hachijoensis.
PALM SEDGE (Carex muskingumensis)
Palm sedge, Carex muskingumensis, grows in Zones 4-9 and will grow 18-24” h x 24-30” w. It has a mounded form, fine texture, and is a cool-season rhizomatous perennial sedge. Palm sedge provides rich texture in moist sites in sun or shade. It thrives in light shade and moist, rich soil, where it will form wonderfully textured colonies. Ligularia makes a good companion plant.
Use: Ground cover, water garden, pond edge, container
Care: having enough sun or bright shade will make it stand tall. In too much shade it flops. Although it colors beautifully with frost, this sedge is too fragile to hold up over the winter. Cut it back after frost.
Propagation: Start from seed or divisions in spring or fall.
Pests and Diseases: No known pests affect palm sedge.
Related Species: Variegated green and cream C. Phyllocephala ‘Sparkler’ has similarly radiating leaves. Is more vibrant, but is less hardy to Zone 8.
BROAD-LEAF SEDGE (Carex plantaginea)
Broad-leaf sedge, also known as plantain-leaf sedge, is an accent for shade. Broad-leaf sedge grows in Zones 4-9 and will grow 12-18” high and wide. It is a clumping evergreen sedge with a broad spreading habit.
Carex plantaginea is native to woodlands of eastern North America, broad-leaf sedge thrives in the rich, moist soil of a shady garden,pond side or woodland. Its black-tipped spikes in spring are the perfect accompaniment to wildflowers such as Virginia bluebells (Mertensia virginica) and foamy Dutchman’s breeches (Dicentra cucullaria). After the ephemerals fade, broad-leaf sedge will fill in and keep the garden green.
Use: Wild garden, shady ground cover, pondside
Care: Plant in light to medium shade in moist, fertile soil. It may tolerate periods of drought. In hot, dry climates, irrigate in dry weather.
Propagation: Grow from seed or divisions in spring.
Pests and Diseases” Broad-leaf sedge has not known pest problems.
California black-flowering sedge (C. Nudata), with similar flowers, grows about 2’ tall. It is not evergreen.