Carex - Growing Guide

Carex - Growing Guide

Sedge grass

Burncoose offers a range of the most popular and resilient sedges for UK gardens. Nearly all originate from New Zealand where they grow in bogs, moorland or damp woodland areas. They have become widely grown for their variegated or colourful evergreen foliage which can cheer up a herbaceous border, especially in the winter months. Their inflorescences, which wave and move in the breeze, produce attractive features in the garden although mainly from taller growing varieties. Forms of sedge grass sit well with other ornamental grasses such as Stipa or Miscanthus where they provide variation, colour and interest. Planted in large groups some forms (C. flagellifera) can be used in the winter border to front displays of stemmed dogwoods, Hamamelis or Hellebores. Versatile ornamental grasses with many uses in the garden.

The sedge grasses which we grow suit most soils in sun or partial shade. As you would expect from plants which live in damp environments in the wild they dislike extremes. Drought can be a major issue as can excessive waterlogging or being submerged in water. Sun or partially shaded conditions are fine provided these extremes are avoided.

More mature Carex will have dead or damaged leaves which may need removing from time to time. Carex flagellifera can look attractive with dead leaves which are not much different to look at, in reality, to the still live ones. Occasionally it pays to give these a complete haircut nearly to ground level to remove all the leaves in winter or spring and allow regrowth to appear.

C. comans ‘Frosted Curls’ grows to around 15-18in tall with narrow, arching, silvery green leaves. Its colourful appearance makes it ideal as an edging plant for the border.

C. oshimensis ‘Everest’ has deep green leaves with white margins.

C. oshimensis ‘Evergold’ forms a low mound of about 12in in height with dark green leaves with broad yellow stripes.

C. oshimensis ‘Everillo’ has lime green leaves which age to yellow.

C. testacea is much taller growing and can achieve heights of 5ft. It too is an evergreen perennial with 2ft long arching green leaves that turn orange brown in sun.

Sometimes on our website we will also have:

C. buchananii, the Leatherleaf sedge.

C. flagellifera with red-brown foliage.

C. pendula which has naturalised well into the Burncoose garden and grows to 3-4ft with green leaves and huge catkin-like flower tassels.


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