Versatile Carex

Graceful grasses add movement and softness to landscapes and containers
Julie Chai

With clumps of long, wispy leaves, Carex adds instant movement and softness to gardens of any style.

A large group of grass-like plants, Carex, also known as sedge, is grown for its attractive foliage which fits easily into both containers and larger landscapes. Flowers are insignificant.

Colors: Carex's evergreen leaves come in shades of dark to silvery green, as well as blue, bronze, gold, and striped.

Size: Most varieties stay within 1 to 3 feet tall and wide, though some can reach 5 feet tall or wide.

Care: Carex likes full sun with some shade in hot regions. Water needs vary, though most look best with moderate to regular watering.

Planting: Plant Carex anytime the ground can be worked. Cut or comb out dead foliage when necessary and, in later winter or early spring, prune back by up to one-third to reshape and revitalize plants. Cut back flowering types after bloom to avoid unwanted reseeding. Divide poorly performing clumps in fall, winter, or spring.

Companions: Grow Carex along with other ornamental grasses like Miscanthus, fountain grass, and fescue; phormium; heuchera; and annuals like pansies in the cool season and million bells in the warm season.