© RHS / Joanna Kossak



Common name: sedge

These grass-like plants are grown mainly for their typically evergreen leaves, which combine well with other ornamental grasses and are used in prairie-style plantings of robust summer-flowering perennials. The types for wet soil can be grown at the edges of ponds.


Arching leaves, produced in clumps, can be pale to dark green, bluish-grey, bright yellowish-green or bronze-purple. They can also be edged and striped with white or cream. The often brown, inconspicuous flowers appear in summer-autumn.


Most carex prefer reliably moist soil in sun or light shade. A few like wet soil, with others preferring acid soil. Bronze-leaved varieties produce their best leaf colour when grown in sun. 


Most sedges will not do well in dry soils or in deep shade. 

Did you know?

What distinguishes a sedge from a grass is the flowering stems, which are triangular in cross section and solid, rather than round and hollow. 

Growing guide

Browse carex

Carex with bronze leaves

Carex with variegated leaves

Carex for waterside and bog gardens

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Useful Advice

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Ornamental grasses: cutting back

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Ornamental grasses: dividing

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