Saturday, February 16, 2013

Going Crazy for Carex

Michael and I tend to discuss plants a lot. It just comes with the territory of working in the industry and being self-admitting plant geeks.  Although we have our individual favorites, a recently trending plant we can both agree on would be sedges.  Carex comprises a huge genus of over 15000 species of grassy plants in the family Cyeraceae commonly known as sedges.  Sedges are generally low growing, mounded form grasses characterized by triangular stems and panicles of flowerheads.  There are many native varieties of sedges which have brought them to the forefront of design plans with the most recent push for sustainability. (Stay posted for discussions on sustainable design - a popular but also smart trend in landscape design)  

Sedges can be spiky and thick 
carex oshimensis 

Or hairlike and fine
carex pennsylvania 

They thrive in both sun and shade, making them a great option any place you would plant hosta. They are low maintenance, drought tolerant, deer resistant. 

They are amazing in mass
Carex elata

can be used as an accent

Carex elata 

or in a mixed bed with other perennials and shrubs 

Try this striking carex/hosta combo 

carex oshimensis and hosta "patriot"

 Or how about this?
 20% carex munkingumensis, 40% geranium, 40% Allium Anglumosum "summer beauty" 

Not all sedges are zone tolerant, but with 15000 species, there are enough to choose from that will thrive in the UP.

Here is a list of our favorites:
carex oshimensis - Varigated Japanese Sedge zone 5, so avoid or plant only in protected areas in zone 4 or lower. (variegated varieties of almost all plants are generally less hearty than their solid color counterparts so plant with care!) 
carex pensylvania - Common Oak Sedge zone 4 hearty 
carex vulpinoidea - Fox Sedge zone 3 hearty and native
carex munkingumensis - Palm Sedge zone 2 hearty and a midwest native.  

Although sedges are not readily available at most nursery centers, their popularity is on the rise along with many other ornamental grass varieties. We will be bringing in several sedge varieties this spring to Up Scapes' design center nursery so call for availability 906-439-five three eight seven!  Unlike most grasses, sedges are at home in the shade and the sun which give them wide appeal for shade gardeners looking for added texture. So join us in going crazy for carex!   

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