These grass-like plants have beautiful foliage and are easy to grow.

Sedge Overview

Description Sedge is a grass-like plant that sways in the wind and pairs nicely with coarse-texture plants like hostas. This tough and versatile plant acts as a groundcover, filling in around other perennials and eliminating the need for mulch. Sedge also provides shelter and food for small animals and pollinators.
Genus Name Carex
Common Name Sedge
Plant Type Perennial
Light Part Sun, Shade, Sun
Height 6 to 12 inches
Width null to 6 inches
Foliage Color Blue/Green
Season Features Winter Interest
Special Features Good for Containers
Zones 5, 6, 7, 8, 9
Propagation Division, Seed
Problem Solvers Deer Resistant, Groundcover, Slope/Erosion Control

Colorful Combinations

Sedge grows in silvers, soft blues, golds, reds, and everything in between, even an attractive brownish bronze. Many of the straight species of sedge are a light green color, which works well as a backdrop plant. Along with the attractive foliage, many sedges have small, spiny seed heads lending even more textural interest.

Sedge Care Must-Knows

Sedges comprise one of the largest groups of plants, with close to 2,000 species. They can be found in almost every part of the world, thriving in different growing conditions. You can find sedges for sun or shade and for dry or moist conditions. Read the plant tag to make sure the sedge you pick will succeed in your garden climate.

Many of the native sedge growing in the United States are great for filling in between other plants because they can be fairly vigorous spreaders by underground rhizomes. Other types are clump-forming and will stay put no matter where they are. Creeping types can easily be divided as needed to help fill in a garden space. If your sedge begins to look a little ragged, cut it back and allow it to regrow. Keep in mind that they tend to be slower growing than grasses, so only cut them back if absolutely necessary.

Sedges generally like evenly moist soil. There are some that handle droughts well, but overall they will slowly decline in dry conditions. One thing most sedges won't tolerate is wet soil. Waterlogged soil can cause sedges to rot. Be consistent with your watering, whether it's on the dry side or the wet side because sedges can become stressed from constant fluctuations of moisture.

New Innovations

In recent years there have been many noteworthy introductions. The Evercolor series is a group of Asian sedges that grow well in containers or as a pop of color in a shady garden. New varieties tend to feature beautifully colored variegated foliage that is evergreen in mild climates and requires very little maintenance to look good.

More Varieties of Sedge

'Bowles Golden' Tufted Sedge

Bowles Golden Tufted Sedge
Michal Venera

Carex elata 'Bowles Golden' has slender, bright golden-green foliage. Plants form fountains of golden yellow that are 30 inches tall. Zones 5-8

'Fox Red' Curly Sedge

Fox Red Curly Sedge
Marty Baldwin

Carex buchananii 'Fox Red' has upright, arching bronze foliage that reaches 30 inches. Its unique foliage color is an attention-grabber. Zones 5-9

Golden Sedge

Golden Sedge
David McDonald

This selection of Carex elata lights up dark corners with its yellow-edged bright green leaves. It grows about 2 feet tall. Zones 5-9

Island Brocade Sedge

Island Brocade Sedge
Scott Little

Carex ciliatomarginata 'Shima-nishiki' (sometimes also called Island Brocade Carex siderosticha), forms a dense groundcover with variegated leaves 6 to 9 inches long. Zones 5-8

Japanese Grass Sedge

Japanese Grass Sedge
Ed Gohlich

This cultivar of Carex morrowii forms 18-inch-tall clumps with ½-inch-wide glistening green leaves. Zones 5-9

Variegated Japanese Grass Sedge

Variegated Japanese Grass Sedge
Peter Krumhardt

Carex morrowii 'Variegata' differs from the species in having a broad white stripe down the center of each leaf. Zones 5-9

Variegated Japanese Sedge

Variegated Japanese Sedge Evergold
Marty Baldwin

Carex oshimensis 'Evergold', sometimes called Carex hachijoensis, is a low-growing plant with creamy yellow variegation. It is hardy in Zones 6-9.

Sedge Companion Plants


Hosta Blooms
Julie Maris Semarco

This plant that was hardly grown 40 years ago is now one of the most commonly grown garden plants. But hosta has earned its spot in the hearts of gardeners—it's among the easiest plants to grow, as long as you have some shade and ample rainfall. Hostas vary from tiny plants suitable for troughs or rock gardens to massive 4-foot clumps with heart-shaped leaves almost 2 feet long that can be puckered, wavy-edged, white or green variegated, blue-gray, chartreuse, emerald-edged—the variations are virtually endless. Hostas in new sizes and touting new foliage features seem to appear each year. This tough, shade-loving perennial, also known as plantain lily, blooms with white or purplish lavender funnel-shape or flared flowers in summer. Some are intensely fragrant. Hostas are a favorite of slugs and deer.


white bearded iris
Dean Schoeppner

Named for the Greek goddess of the rainbow, iris indeed comes in a rainbow of colors and in many heights. All have the classic, impossibly intricate flowers. The flowers are constructed with three upright "standard" petals and three drooping "fall" petals, which are often different colors. The falls may be "bearded" or not. Some cultivars bloom a second time in late summer. Some species prefer alkaline soil, while others prefer acidic soil.

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