Low-Light Highlight

Low-Light Highlight

16th Feb 2021

Carex pensylvanica

Carex  “Pennsylvania sedge”

Faced with challenging sites, designers, landscapers and homeowners often call in a specialist: Pennsylvania sedge.

C. pensylvanica’s low, lush carpet is the answer for shaded areas, even those that are hard to maintain. This low-profile native beauty doesn’t need the spotlight. It’s a go-to design element for large plantings, public, institutional and private.

Culture Notes Once established, C. pensylvanica rarely needs irrigation. It will form a low-traffic lawn alternative with a mesmerizing flowing habit. If mowing is desirable, set the blade high and cut the stand to no shorter than two or three inches. It is possible, but not easy, to grow this sedge from seed.

Hardiness C. pensylvanica is winter-hardy at least from Zone 4 to Zone 9.

Size Stands 8 to maybe 12 inches tall and spreads steadily by rhizomes.

Light Best and healthiest in part shade to full shade. Tends to brown out in sun.

Fun Fact The name “Pennsylvania sedge” probably indicates where this North American native was first collected by European plant hunters. The species is widespread, from Quebec to Manitoba up north, down to the deep south including Georgia and Mississippi. It’s also known as “oak sedge” because it’s often found among stands of oak trees.