They look similar to grasses, but sedges reside in the Cyperaceae family and are not true grasses. In the trade, most of the plants we call sedges are in the genus Carex. It’s marked by its diversity in color, texture, and cultural adaptation. We grow three relatively distinct groups of Carex.
Sedges from Asia are well-adapted to shade and are often variegated. Their vibrancy adds brightness and depth to shady spots and almost all are suited to container plantings. Many are evergreen in mild climates. Although most sedges are not grown for their flowering, blooms on Asian species are often more prominent than their relatives from other parts of the world.
The sedges from New Zealand can take more sun. They are determined to add zest wherever planted. The bronze sedges are distinguished by foliage colors that range from caramel to deep red-bronze. New Zealand also brings us the intriguing orange foliage of Carex testacea ‘Prairie Fire’.
North American sedges have become an important component of restoration projects, naturalizing, and green infrastructure features, such as bioretention, bioswales, erosion control, and lawn alternatives. Native sedges are a diverse group and there is bound to be one that fits almost any set of cultural conditions you have.