What is a sedge?

Carex oshimensis ‘Evergold’

Sedges are grass-like plants, grouped alongside ornamental grasses, rushes, and other grass-like perennials, although all of these plant types are botanically different. Distinguishing one from another is useful for the purpose of siting and planning garden planting, as each type has different growing requirements. True grasses mostly originate from open sunny environments. Grass-like perennials are more tolerant of shade and a range of soils, while sedges tolerate shade and extremes of moist or dry soil. Rushes do best in moist soil, boggy ground, or shallow water.

Find out more about sedges and other grass-like perennials, below.


Sedges

Carex comans
Carex comans

Sedges are classified in the family Cyperaceae and are found worldwide. This is a vast and diverse family of plants, comprising several thousand species and varieties. Sedges can be identified by their stem shape, which is triangular when cut. The small flowers are brown or black and borne on slender stems. Sedges for garden planting are predominantly from the genus Carex and are useful in garden planting schemes as many are evergreen, with foliage colours that range from bronze to gold, variegated and glaucous. The majority are clump-formers and are not invasive, although some sedges do spread by underground, running stems. Because of their diverse origins from around the world, growing requirements vary from moist to dry soils. Cyperus species are also sedges, and include moisture-loving Cyperus involucratus, a handsome pond plant.

Sedges include:


True grasses

Hakonechloa macra
Hakonechloa macra

Grasses belong to the family Poaceae and have hollow stems, which are known as culms, divided by nodes (leaf joints) from which the leaves grow. Most are perennial, dying back to the ground in autumn and regrowing in spring, with some annual species that complete their life cycle in one growing season. Their flowers are borne in spikelets and are often very showy. In the main, ornamental grasses do best in sun or light shade and, because of their origins from different countries, they have varying soil requirements.

True grasses include:


Rushes

Pond in a pot with Equisetum scirpoides, Juncus ensifolius, and Cyperus involucratus
Pond in a pot with Equisetum scirpoides,
Juncus ensifolius, and
Cyperus involucratus

Rushes and woodrushes belong to the family Juncaceae. These are moisture-lovers, requiring pond or stream-side planting, bog gardens, or moist soil. In gardens they’re represented by the genera Juncus and Luzula.

 

Add Comment

Carts

Accessories

Flower Seeds

Composting

Choosing the right fruit trees for your climate
How to harvest herbs: How and when to harvest homegrown herbs
what weed is it? putting names to pesky plants
Georgia’s Farming and Gardening Sector: Top 10 Easiest Veggies to Grow [Infographic]
Cryptanthus Care Guide – Growing Earth Star Plants
Metal Garden Containers – Are Metal Planters Safe
Top 10 Cold Weather Vegetables
How To Prune Back Mums – Do You Prune Mums
Seven best wellington boots on test
10 of the best gardening gloves on test
10 of the best garden kneelers
Win a natural beauty bundle
How to Grow Fig Trees, Explained
8 Flowers to Grow in Your Vegetable Garden
American vs. Asian Ginseng: What’s the Difference?
8 Vegetables with More Than One Edible Part
Top 6 Struggles of Growing Herbs Indoors (w/ solutions)!!!??? // Garden Answer
Top 5 Beginner Tips For Apartment Gardeners Aja Dang Epic
How To Grow Tomatoes Indoors
How To Care For Indoor Plants + GREENIFY YOUR SPACE
How to Grow Vegetable Seedlings
Try it now | How to grow Bean Sprouts in the fastest and easiest
Try it now | How to grow Bean Sprouts in the fastest and easiest
Biggest & Thickest Buds on Cannabis using This Organic Hardener & Sugars
Biggest & Thickest Buds on Cannabis using This Organic Hardener & Sugars
MY SECRETS TO BIG MONEY PLANT (POTHOS) | MONEY PLANT CARE TIPS - COMPLETE GUIDE
MY SECRETS TO BIG MONEY PLANT (POTHOS) | MONEY PLANT CARE TIPS – COMPLETE GUIDE