(care' ex)

Common name: Sedge

Family: Cyperaceae, Sedge

Height x width: 4-24" x 6-18" depending on species

Growth rate: moderate

Foliage: clustered, basal grass-like leaves usually forming tufts (unless noted below as spreading), flat, thick ¼-½" wide, some species (as noted) are evergren or variegated gold or white; stems are triangular compared to rounded grass stems, flower stems are solid without nodes compared to grasses usually hollow with nodes; where blade and sheath join (ligule) is generally absent in sedges but conspicuous in grasses

Flowers: unisexual (separate male and female but on the same plant) compared to grasses with both parts on same flower, some species are quite ornamental

Hardiness: zones 4-7 to 8-10 depending on species

Soil: moist, some species tolerate wet, a few tolerate dry

Light: sun or shade for most (unless noted below specifically for shade)

Pests and Problems: few serious, occasionally mites

Landscape habit, uses: massing in shade, fronts of borders, containers especially in shade, rock gardens for low species, wet areas and along watersides for many species; many cultivars add color to shade

Other interest: genus name from the Greek keiro meaning to cut, refering to the sharp edge of leaf margins; found in most temperate and arctic regions, native depending on species but mainly to U.S., Japan and New Zealand

Other culture: low maintenance, cut back previous year's foliage in spring

Propagation: seed or spring division


In the tables below, those marked * are the most commonly found in U.S. commerce.
Species height zones leaves other
berggrenii 2-4" 7-9 copper moist part shade, Berggreni Sedge
*buchananii 1-2' 7-9 green Leather Leaf Sedge
caryophyllea 1' 7-9 green Spring Sedge (northern Europe)
comans 1-2' 7-9 green New Zealand Hair Sedge
conica 6-12" 5-9 green Miniature Sedge
digitata 8" 5-9 green clumping
dipascea 2-3' 7-9 bronze, trailing water edge, New Zealand
elata 2-3' 5-9 green water edge
flacca 1' 5-9 blue-green massing, invasive, sun or shade
*flagellifera 2-3' 7-9 orange-bronze Orange-colored Sedge
*glauca 6" 5-9 blue-green Blue Sedge, massing, sun or shade
gracilis 1-2' 4-9 green tolerates flooding, shade
*grayi 2' 5-9 green moist, Gray's Sedge
hachijoensis 1' 6-9 green evergreen, Japan
montana 10" 4-9 green yellow flowers, Mountain Sedge
morrowii 1' 5-9 green evergreen
*muskingumensis 2' 4-9 green Palm Sedge
nigra 6-9" 4-8 green blackish inflorescences
ornithopoda 4" 7-9 green Bird's Foot Sedge
pendula 2-3' 5-9 green moist, semi-evergreen, spreads
petriei 8" 6-9 reddish moist, stiff upright, Brown Sedge
phyllocephala 2-3' 7-10 green moist
plantaginea 1-2' 5-9 green, wide mass, spreads, Plantain-leaved S.G.
siderosticha 4-6" 7-9 green, wide new shoots reddish
speciosa 4-12" 7-9 green moist, shade, spreads
sylvatica 1-2' 5-9 yellow-green  
testacea 2-3' 7-9 bronze, trailing clumper, moist, part shade
texensis 3-4" 7-10 green Texas Sedge, tolerates foot traffic
velebit 6" 5-9 green shade, Velebit S.G.

Cultivar species foliage, other
'Aurea':'Bowles Golden' elata  
'Aureovariegata':Goldband' morrowii  
*Beatlemania' caryophyllea slightly variegated, mophead habit
*'Bowles Golden' elata golden variegated
'Bronce' comans bronze
'Catlin' speciosa green 12", evergreen, zones 7-9
'Durmiter' flacca blue-green, more vigorous than species 
*'Evergold' hachijoensis golden variegated
'Frosted Curls' comans green, ruffled tips
*'Goldband' morrowii golden variegated
'Hime-kan-suge':'Variegata' conica  
'Marginata' conica silver margins
'Sparkler' phyllocephala white variegated
'The Beatles' speciosa green 4" tufts, zones 5-9, Mop-headed S.G.
*'Variegata' conica white variegated
*'Variegata' morrowii silver variegated
'Variegata' ornithopoda white variegated
'Variegata' siderosticha white marginal stripes, pink in spring
'Wachtposten' muskingumensis green, more upright, drought resistant

©Authored by Dr. Leonard Perry, Professor, University of Vermont as part of PSS123 course.

Return to  Perry's Perennial Pages | HGPO course | PSS123 course