19 Types of Ornamental Sedges That Would Look Great in Your Garden

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19 Types of Ornamental Sedges That Would Look Great in Your GardenCyperaceae, also commonly called sedges, are a family of flowering plants that have a grass-like appearance. They can make great ornamental plants, as they have triangular three-sided stems with concealed blossoms. They typically grow in moist ground.

Sedges for Gardening

Unlike most grasses used for gardening and landscaping purposes, sedges are cool-season flowering plants. They are upright and give out a relatively glossy and lush look. Most of the species of sedges are native North American or imported from Asia.

Their branching root systems help them to do extremely well in a variety of weather. They thrive in both, wet and dry conditions. They can tolerate droughts and do not require much maintenance. They are extremely adaptable and can grow in places where other plants are unable to.

In gardening and landscaping, you can use sedges in the following ways:

  • You can surround the base of your trees with sedges to provide it with a lush groundcover. They thrive in the shade and the soil condition depends on the species you are planting.
  • As containers, planters, and pots provide efficient drainage, sedges work well in them, making them perfect for ornamental usage.
  • If your lawn has some to almost no foot-traffic, sedges can be a great alternative to grasses. They need less maintenance to remain healthy and are shinier than turf grasses.

Sedges are a huge family with over 5,500 known species. They are best known for their contribution to ornamentation.

Types of Ornamental Sedges

1. Leatherleaf Sedge (Rooster Sedge)

Carex buchananii ‘Red Rooster’, also commonly known as Leatherleaf Sedge, is a perennial grass that grows in small clumps with slender, copper-bronze leaves. They are evergreen in milder climates, thrive in full sun, damp and well-drained soils, and can tolerate some shade. These sedges cannot tolerate extreme conditions such as an abundance of water or dryness.

They grow about 2 to 3 feet tall and spread across the same. They only require some maintenance. Native to New Zealand, these sedges are generally free of diseases and are known to be deer tolerant.

Growing Seasons: Spring, summer, winter, fall

Soil Type: Chalky, clay-like, loamy, sandy

Soil pH: Acidic, alkaline, neutral

Hardiness Zones: 6-9

Click here to buy Leatherleaf Sedge ornamental grass seeds on Amazon.

2. Japanese Variegated Sedge (Variegata)

Carex morrowii ‘Variegata’, also commonly called Japanese Variegated Sedges, have narrow, curved, shiny, deep green leaves with creamy white edges.

Almost all the varieties thrive in full sun to shade, and damp, fertile and properly drained soils. The soil shouldn’t be completely dried out. The leaves of these sedges might lose color in full sun; therefore, to maintain their deep, lush tone, its best to grow them in partially shaded areas. They are known to be deer-resistant, generally free of diseases and harmful pests, and almost evergreen. They have the following properties:

Growing Seasons: Spring, summer, winter, fall

Soil Type: Chalky, clay-like, loamy, sandy

Soil pH: Acidic, alkaline, neutral

Hardiness Zones: 5-9

Varieties of Japanese Variegated Sedges:

3. Everest Japanese Variegated Sedge

Carex oshimensis ‘Everest’, one of the very distinct Japanese Variegated Sedges, has slender, curved, sleek, deep green leaves with thin whitish silver edges.

They grow about twelve to eighteen inches tall and spread across the same. Cultivate these plants by seed. Sow the seeds in cases with cold frames in spring or use the division method in early summer. They require very little maintenance. Any dead leaves need to be cut out during summer.

4. Evergold Japanese Variegated Sedge

Carex oshimensis ‘Evergold’, one of the exclusive Japanese Variegated Sedges, has narrow, curved creamy-yellowish leaves, embellished with sleek dark green edges. They are the winners of the prestigious Award of Golden Merit of the Royal Horticultural Society

They grow about 10 to 12 inches tall and spread across about 20 inches in width. Cultivate these plants by seed. Sow the seeds in cold frames in spring or divide existing plants in early summer. They do not require much care. Cut the leaves back to the ground in late winter and remove any dead leaves in summer.

Click here to buy ‘Evergold’ Japanese Sedge ornamental grass seeds on Amazon.

5. Evercream Japanese Variegated Sedge

Carex oshimenses ‘Evercream’, a special Japanese Variegated Sedge, has lean, curved, rich green leaves with creamy white edges.

These sedges grow about 12 to 24 inches tall and spread across the same. Cultivate these plants from seed. Sow the seeds in cases with cold frames in spring or opt for division in early summer. Any dead leaves need to be cut out in summer.

6. Ice Dance Sedge

Carex morrowii ‘Ice Dance’ or Morrow’s Sedge ‘Ice Dance’ is a partially-evergreen Variegata that has low, narrow, curved, glossy, dark green leaves with bright white edges. They spread slowly and bear discreet brown blossom spikes on elongated stems.

They grow easily about 8 to 12 inches tall and 12 to 18 inches in width. These plants need very little maintenance; its leaves should be cut to the ground in late winters. You can cultivate the sedge by division in spring or through seeding in the fall.

Click here to buy Ice Dance Japanese Variegated Sedge on Amazon.

7. Everlite Japanese Variegated Sedge

Carex oshimensis ‘Everlite’ is a very unique Japanese Variegated Sedge that has narrow, curved, creamy white leaves with lush green edges.

Everlite Japanese Variegated Sedges grow up to 10 to 12 inches tall and approximately 8 inches wide. They don’t need much nurturing and are deer-tolerant. The dead leaves of this plant are to be cut off in summer. Cultivate these plants by seed. Plant the seeds in cases with cold frames in spring or go for division in early summer.

8. Eversheen Japanese Variegated Sedge

Carex oshimensis ‘Eversheen’ is a spectacular Variegata that has thin, curved, lime yellow colored leaves adorned with rich green edges.

The leaves of these sedges grow about 16 inches tall and spread across the same. They require less care and grow all year round. You need to cut back to the ground in late winters where it does not remain evergreen; cut any dead leaves in summer. Cultivate these plants by seed. Sow the seeds in cold frames in spring or divide in early summer.

9. Everillo Japanese Variegated Sedge

Carex oshimensis ‘Everillo’ is an evergreen Japanese Sedge that forms clumps, has slender, curved and lime green colored foliage. The leaves of these sedges gradually transform into a beautiful yellowish-golden shade as the season progresses. They also bear concealed brown blossom spikes on elongated stems.

They grow about 1 to 2 feet tall and wide. They do not require much nurturing and grow all year round. Grow these plants by seed. Sow the seeds in cases with cold frames in spring or opt for division in early summer. You need to cut any dead leaves during summer.

10. Seersucker Sedge

Carex plantaginea, also commonly known as Seersucker Sedge, has dimpled, lush green foliage. In early spring, the leaves of this sedge bear delicate purple colored flowers. They grow up to 8 to 12 inches. They can tolerate shade, their growth is quite slow, and they need well-drained soil to thrive.

These sedges are usually found from Minnesota east to New England and down the Appalachians to Georgia. They are abundant in rich, damp forests, on slopes along streams or the edges of damp depressions, and southward in mountain canyons. They are not completely pest free. They can be attacked by aphids, spider mites, slugs, Anthracnose, Bactra venosana caterpillars, and thrips.

Hardiness Zones: 3-8

11. Bronze-leaved New Zealand Hair Sedge

Carex comans Bronze-Leaved is a splendid New Zealand Hairy Sedge that has low, narrow, brownish-red leaves that bear discreet brown colored flower spikes in late summers. It thrives all year round. It grows about 8 to 12 inches tall and 12 to 24 inches wide.

This sedge requires full sun to remain healthy and can tolerate part shade. The soil needs to be damp, fertile, and well-drained. It probably won’t tolerate extremely soggy soil or excessive winter wet. It is known to be deer and drought tolerant. It requires very little maintenance and it is generally known to be disease-free. It can be subject to aphid attacks.

Propagate these sedges by seed. Sow the seeds in cases with cold frames in spring or opt for division in early summer. Any dead leaves need to be chopped off in summer.

Growing Seasons: Spring, summer, winter, fall

Soil Type: Chalky, clay-like, loamy, sandy

Soil pH: Alkaline, acidic, neutral

Hardiness Zones: 6-9

12. Prairie Fire New Zealand Hair Sedge

Carex testacea ‘Prairie Fire’ is a New Zealand Hairy Sedge that forms low, narrow, curved, olive green leaves. They are adorned with bright orange highlights and they bear discreet brown flower spikes in summers.

The foliage of this sedge grows about 18 to 24 inches tall and spreads across the same. They thrive in full sunlight but can also tolerate some shade. The soil needs to be damp, fertile, and well-drained. It probably won’t tolerate extremely soggy soil or excessive winter wet.

They are known to be deer, salt, and drought tolerant. They require very little care and they are generally known to be disease-free. They can still be subject to aphid attacks. Propagate these sedges by seed. Sow the seeds in cases with cold frames in spring or opt for division in early summer. Any dead leaves need to be chopped off in summer.

Growing Seasons: Spring, summer, winter, fall

Soil Type: Chalky, clay-like, loamy, sandy

Soil pH: Acidic, alkaline, neutral

Hardiness Zones: 7-9

13. Blue Sedge

Carex flacca, also commonly called Blue Sedge, forms slender, curved blue-green foliage with a dull grayish-green or blue color beneath. In early summer, they produce narrow brown flower spikes that slightly bend from the top. The leaves of this sedge grow about 6 to 12 inches tall and 12 to 18 inches wide. This plant expands over time to form a thick groundcover.

They thrive in full sun to some shade and moderate to wet soils. They are drought and deer tolerant. They can grow only in stagnant water that is not deeper than two inches. They do not require extreme nurturing and they can be spread through division easily in spring and early fall. Native to Mediterranean area, these sedges can be clipped in early spring and the leaves can be cut to the ground in late winters.

Growing Seasons: Late spring, summer, fall

Soil Type: Chalky, clay-like, loamy, sandy

Soil pH: Acidic, alkaline, neutral

Hardiness Zones: 4-9

Click here to buy Blue Sedge on Amazon.

14. Palm Sedge

Carex muskingumensis, also commonly called Palm Sedge, produce upright, rigid and spiky, light green foliage. They grow up to 2 to 3 feet tall and wide. They are native to Western North America and thrive in full sun or part shade. They are deer and drought tolerant.

They grow well in moist, fertile soil and in 3 to 4 inches deep water. The soil shouldn’t be completely dried out. They are not known to have any pest or disease issues. They spread by rhizomes and self-seeding. You need to make sure that you cut to the ground in winter.

Growing Time: May to September

Hardiness Zones: 4-9

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15. Frosted Curls New Zealand Hair Sedge

Carex comans ‘Frosted Curls’ is a very distinctive New Zealand Hairy Sedge. Its foliage is narrow, hair-like, glossy, curled towards the ground and of a pale grayish green color. They turn silver white gradually as they mature. This leaves of this perennial plant grow about 12 to 18 inches tall and across. It thrives in full sunlight, shows tolerance towards part shade and prospers in damp, well-drained soil.

This sedge can tolerate droughts and doesn’t require much care. This sedge that is native to New Zealand has a relatively short span of three to five years. However, it may be revitalized through division.

Growing Seasons: Spring, summer, fall, winter

Soil Type: Chalky, clay-like, loamy, sandy

Soil pH: Acidic, alkaline, neutral

Hardiness Zones: 7-10

Click here to buy Frosted Curl grass seeds on Amazon.

16. Bowles Golden Sedge

Carex elata ‘Aurea’ or ‘Bowles’ Golden Sedge is an award-winning ornamental plant. The foliage it produces is evergreen, slender, hair-like, curled towards the ground and shimmering yellow in color with slender green edges. It has won the prestigious Award of Garden Merit of the Royal Horticultural Society.

The foliage grows about 12 to 18 inches tall and 24 to 36 inches wide. It can grow in shallow waters of a depth of about 2 to 3 inches. It thrives in full sun or some shade and damp, fertile soils. This sedge shows tolerance towards deer and wet soil, requires very little maintenance and nurturing, and grows almost all year round.

Growing Seasons: Spring, summer, winter, fall

Soil Type: Clay-like, loamy

Soil pH: Acidic, alkaline, neutral

Hardiness Zones: 5-9

Click here to buy Bowles Golden Sedge seeds on Amazon.

17. Weeping Brown Sedge

Carex flagellifera, also commonly known as Weeping Brown Sedge, Mophead Sedge or Orange Hair Sedge, produces golden-brown colored leaves. The foliage of this plant native to New Zealand is narrow, hair-like, evergreen, and slightly glossy. They grow about 18 inches tall and across.

This sedge thrives in full sun, can tolerate light shades, and prospers in damp, well-drained soils. This drought-tolerant plant is easy to maintain and although its life span is relatively short, it can be revitalized through division. It is deer and rabbit tolerant.

Growing Seasons: Spring, summer, winter, fall

Soil Type: Chalky, clay-like, loamy, sandy

Soil pH: Acidic, alkaline, neutral

Hardiness Zones: 7-9

Click here to buy Weeping Brown Sedge seeds on Amazon.

18. Gold Fountains’ Sedge

Carex dolichostachya ‘Kaga Nishiki’, also commonly known as Gold Fountains’ Sedge, produces bright green leaves with slender golden margins. The leaves of this sedge are curved, they form a clump, and thrive in moist soil. It can tolerate shallow waters and is evergreen. The foliage grows about 12 inches tall and 24 inches wide.

Growing Seasons: Spring, summer, winter, fall

Hardiness Zones: 5-9

19. Pennsylvania Sedge (Oak Sedge)

Carex pensylvanica, also commonly known as Pennsylvania Sedge or Oak Sedge, produces delicate, grass-like, narrow, curved, semi-evergreen, medium green leaves with reddish-brown roots. They grow about 8 inches tall.

Native to Eastern North America, the blooming time of this sedge is May. It thrives in part to full shade and dries to medium, well-drained soils. With the required ideal conditions, it may self-seed. It also spreads by rhizomes.

Growing Time: May

Hardiness Zones: 3-8

Click here to buy Pennsylvania Sedge seeds on Amazon.

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