Graceful grasses add movement and softness to landscapes and containers

Julie Chai,  –  October 12, 2006

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.

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