The genus name is Latin for “cutter.” Because, like skaters, “sedges have edges.” Even if you can’t tell a triple axel from a toe loop, you will still nail the landing with ‘Ice Dance’.
‘Ice Dance’ has long been one of the most popular and versatile ornamental grass varieties. Carex is not a true grass; it’s a sedge. This petite, versatile gem works as a border or groundcover in a variety of settings, including woodland gardens and containers. It is also a good choice for planting around ponds and other water features and can be used as a substitute for Hosta. Gleaming in full sun, ‘Ice Dance’ glows in light shade.
Carex morrowii ‘Ice Dance’, also known as Japanese Sedge ‘Ice Dance’ or Variegated Sedge, is prized for its attractive foliage and graceful arching habit. It forms a low, slow-spreading mounds of shiny, dark green leaves adorned with bright white margins. In late spring, it bears inconspicuous brown flower spikes on long stems.
‘Ice Dance’ can grow in a variety of conditions, unlike some of its Carex relatives. It will tolerate 3/4 day to 1/4 day of sun and grows in moist or average well-drained soil. 'Ice Dance' is evergreen in all but the coldest climates. The warmer your climate, the more shade it will appreciate. In northern zones, it should be sited out of the way of winter winds and provided with some protection such as snow or straw.
The moderately spreading habit makes 'Ice Dance' a great selection to brighten a woodland area. If plants look tattered in early spring, cut or mow them back near to the ground. The new foliage will quickly fill back in. Identical to Carex morrowii 'Variegata', except that 'Ice Dance' spreads, instead of forming a clump.
Carex morrowii ‘Ice Dance’ is a relatively easy-care plant. It prefers moist soil in full sun to partial shade. It is drought-tolerant once established and is relatively pest- and disease-resistant.
- Here are some tips for growing Carex morrowii ‘Ice Dance’:
- Plant in moist, well-drained soil in full sun to partial shade.
- Water regularly, especially during the first growing season.
- Fertilize once a year in spring with a balanced fertilizer.
- Mulch around the plants to help retain moisture and suppress weeds.
- Divide the plants every 2-3 years to maintain vigor.
Carex morrowii ‘Ice Dance’ is a beautiful and versatile plant that can add a touch of elegance to any garden.
Globe-trotting plant explorer Barry Yinger brought ‘Ice Dance’ to the US in the 1990s from Japan, but the species is named for a much earlier collector. The specific epithet honors physician and agriculturalist James J. Morrow, who sailed with Commodore M.C. Perry’s “gunboat diplomacy” expedition to Japan in the 1850s.
Carex morrowii 'Ice Dance' was given the prestigious Outstanding Plant Award from the International Hardy Plant Union in 2002 and also received the Missouri Botanical Garden Plants of Merit.
- Genus: Carex
- Species: morrowii
- Family: Cyperaceae
- Life Cycle: Perennial
- Height: 1 ft
- Width: 1 ft - 2 ft
- Habit/Form: Clumping, Dense, Erect
- Growth Rate: Rapid
- Maintenance: Low
- Deep shade (Less than 2 hours) to Partial Shade (Direct sunlight 2-6 hours)
- Spacing: 12 inches-3 feet
- Hardiness Zone: 5a to 9b
- Flower Color: Brown/Copper
- Flower Inflorescence: Insignificant
- Leaf Color: Green, Variegated, White, Glossy, Leathery
- Leaf Width: < 1 inch
- Leaf Description: Creamy white, marginal variegation
- Uses Border and Mass Planting
- Resistance To: Deer, Erosion, Heavy Shade, Wet Soil