digging dog nursery mendocino coast   ornamental grasses from digging dog nursery

Carex (Sedge)
at Digging Dog

Including Carex elata, Carex pensylvanica, Carex oshimensis, Carex tenuiculmis, and Carex testacea



A diverse genus comprised of nearly 1000 species, most Carex originate in the moist habitats of temperate climates. Our graceful selections are easy to grow and promise to soften those hard edges in your garden.

View a slideshow of plant images from this genus

Carex albula ‘Frosted Curls’  full sun  partial shade
Frosted Curls Sedge
Carex albula Frosted Curls

Applauded as one of the most distinctive native New Zealand grasses, this Carex spotlights a frosted fountain of gracefully cascading hairlike blades. The iridescent light green leaves twist their tips and gleam with pewter highlights, while staging a dense evergreen clump that spills over rocks, walls or a favored patio container.

For an especially fluid display, ‘Frosted Curls’ is best planted en masse on a slope where its trailing foliage appears to flow like water.

Size: 12" high x 12" wide; hardy to zone 7.

Carex albula ‘Frosted Curls’ (G-0482)
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Carex conica ‘Snowline’  partial shade  shade lover
Miniature Variegated Sedge
Carex conica Snowline

Glistening, dark green slender leaves embellished with crisp white margins and small purplish white flowers on triangular stems hallmark this neatly tufted variegated Sedge. Fully evergreen in milder climates, the sturdy fine textured mound spreads slowly, casting a long lasting sprightly charm upon the rockery, woodland beds or patio pots. ‘Snowline’ relishes light shade and loose moist soil, withstands tree roots, wards off deer and, if planted closely, makes a picturesque easy to maintain ground cover.

Blooms May.

Size: 9"–15" high x 10"–18" wide; hardy to zone 5.

Carex conica ‘Snowline’ (G-0533)
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Carex divulsa  full sun  partial shade
Berkeley Sedge

We favor Berkeley Sedge for its lush meadow look. Ranging from Washington to California’s Monterey coast, this western native’s deep green and lustrous, thin evergreen blades elegantly arch out from a clumping base and yield inconspicuous brownish blooms held by lax, wiry stems.

Once established, the fast growing and versatile Carex divulsa can endure an array of factors: some drought, boggy areas, tree roots, sun or shade, and foot traffic, including the four-legged kind. However, regular watering and a trim every 6 months will ensure the most verdant growth. You can space it closely and mow for a turflike effect, plant en masse as a ground cover in a small or large area or create a shady vignette with Euphorbia characias x robbiae and Geranium sinense.

Blooms May–June.

Size: 18"–2' high x 2' wide; hardy to zone 7.

Carex divulsa (G-0449)
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Carex dolichostachya ‘Kaga Nishiki’  full sun  partial shade
Kaga Brocade Sedge

Nishiki means “brocade,” and it rightly describes the variegated blades of this superb selection, which comes to our country from Japan’s Gotemba Nursery. Forming a tidy, fountainlike mound, each slender leaf has a green central stripe emargined in a radiant gold. Long-lived and durable, ‘Kaga Nishiki’ makes a bright accent against the broad-leafed greenery in the border.

Size: 8"–10" high x 18" wide; hardy to zone 6.

Carex dolichostachya ‘Kaga Nishiki’ (G-0098)
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Carex elata ‘Aurea’  partial shade  shade lover
Bowles Golden Sedge

This beautiful sedge offers the clearest yellow of any grass, plus a courtly, rounded form. Its compact size is ideal for the rock garden or mixed border. Best of all, the coloring becomes even more brilliant in partial shade.

Use it to enliven the woodland garden, or make a stunning statement by planting it with other golden foliage or with the contrasting leaves of Pulmonaria ‘Roy Davidson’. Bowles Golden will become a dense stand in only a few seasons.

Size: 15" high x 18" wide; hardy to zone 5.

Carex elata ‘Aurea’ (G-0006)
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Carex elata ‘Knightshayes’  partial shade  shade lover  new plant

Solidly colored in clear golden yellows, this Carex's graceful hummock will energize the hohum corners of your garden. With upright and arching, evergreen foliage, 'Knightshayes' requires moisture and bright shade to retain the gilt hues. Try establishing singly or en masse near ponds, streams, in a damp border or even in water, where its glowing accents and reflections are sure to beckon.

Size: 15" high x 18" wide; hardy to zone 5.

Carex elata ‘Knightshayes’ (G-0096)
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Carex flacca (glauca)  full sun  partial shade
Carnation Grass

With its sea of striking blue, Carnation-like foliage, this handsome Carex is aptly named. Glaucous, narrow blades create a noninvasive, slowly spreading mass. Purple-black spikes appear to float like a subtle mist just above the solid, jointless flowering stems. Easy to establish and indispensable as a low ground cover, Carex flacca tolerates drought, adapts to an array of growing conditions and effectively interweaves a tapestry of Heathers.

Blooms May–June.

Size: 6"–15" high x 12"–15" wide; hardy to zone 4.


Carex flacca (glauca) (G-0099)
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Carex flagellifera (Bronze)  full sun  partial shade
Weeping Brown Sedge

Infused with rich earth tones evoking a Zen-like simplicity, the weeping ultra-fine clump of long and thin, dark chocolate-colored blades sets this mop-top New Zealander apart. Carex flagellifera’s easily melded tones and fluid upright arching form brings textural intrigue to containers, the rockery, walls or borders, whether installed as a stand-alone or a sweep. Arresting when juxtaposed against broad greenery, blue-gray foliage or any brightly hued bloom, Weeping Brown Sedge obliges sun, shade, moisture and somewhat dry conditions, and remains evergreen where winters are mild.

Size: 15"–18" high x 2' wide; hardy to zone 6.

Carex flagellifera (Bronze) (G-0532)
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Carex morrowii ‘Ice Dance’  partial shade  shade lover
Carex morrowii Ice Dance

Introduced by Barry Yinger, long-lived ‘Ice Dance’ comes to us from the woodlands flanking Japan’s low-lying mountains. Dark emerald in color, the reflexed, leathery leaves are shiny and heightened by creamy white margins.

This tidy evergreen ground cover is not invasive; its spreading rhizomes form a coarsely textured carpet that is somewhat drought tolerant once established.

Size: 12" high x 12" wide; hardy to zone 5.

Carex morrowii ‘Ice Dance’ (G-0088)
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Carex muskingumensis ‘Little Midge’  full sun  partial shade
Dwarf Palm Sedge

Truly pint-sized in all aspects, this easily cultivated fine textured sedge was introduced by Limerock Nursery of Pennsylvania. Thin, tapered bright green blades resemble miniature palms as they radiate out from lax stem tips.

Best relished up close, the slow spreading ‘Little Midge’ is a superb option for small water features or containers, bog gardens and the rockery; or plant multiples for a verdant ground cover. It endures sun or partial shade with ample moisture, but is tolerant of drier conditions.

Size: 8"–12" high x 8"–12" wide; hardy to zone 4.

Carex muskingumensis ‘Little Midge’ (G-0521)
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Carex muskingumensis ‘Oehme’  full sun  partial shade

While the species inhabits moist North American woodlands and meadows, this uniquely textured sport, discovered in landscape architect Wolfgang Oehme’s garden, is somewhat drought tolerant once established. First a solid color, later enhanced with narrow yellow edges, the bright green blades are tapered and arranged horizontally like palm fronds on mostly upright triangular stems, knitting a tropical-styled, semideciduous ground cover.

Versatile and deer resistant, ‘Oehme’s slow spreading steadfast clump produces chocolate-colored spiky inflorescences, handles sun or shade, favors ample moisture, especially when its hot and looks just right along a walkway, streamside, or in a container.

Blooms June.

Size: 18"–2' high x 2' wide; hardy to zone 4.

Carex muskingumensis ‘Oehme’ (G-0505)
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Carex oshimensis ‘Evergold’  full sun  partial shade
Variegated Japanese Sedge

Touted as one of the most graceful of the variegated sedges, this clump-forming evergreen Carex captivates us with dense and dapper, gracefully weeping blades. A butter-colored median band daringly lights up each long, fine textured dark green leaf. Carex oshimensis dwells amid the rock-laden slopes and dry woodlands on Japan’s main island, Honshu, rendering ‘Evergold’ a choice contender for your favorite pot, the rockery or woods. Smoothing over hard edges and luminous en masse, it happily obliges varied conditions, except intense hot weather.

Size: 10"–14" high x 12"–2' wide; hardy to zone 6.

Carex oshimensis ‘Evergold’ (G-0506)
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Carex oshimensis ‘Gold Strike’  full sun  partial shade
Oshima Sedge
Carex oshimensis Gold Strike

Arching upward and out, this Carex’s lush foliage is elegant. A glinting cascade of refined, evergreen blades presents dark green margins with broad, alabaster-colored central stripes that mature to creamy yellow. Languishing if it’s too hot, slow spreading ‘Gold Strike’ thrives in moist, well drained sites, and makes a bold statement when its densely set, variegated tussocks are planted in a meandering swath amidst Pulmonaria ‘Benediction’ or Epimediums.

Size: 15"–20" high x 2' wide; hardy to zone 6.

Carex oshimensis ‘Gold Strike’ (G-0461)
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Carex pensylvanica  partial shade  shade lover  new plant
Oak Sedge
Carex pensylvanica

Wish you had a lush green no-mow carpet that can tackle dry conditions and requires little care? This low growing, fine textured Sedge may be just what youíre looking for. Slowly spreading by reddish brown rhizomes, Carex pensylvanica makes a soft-looking fountain- like ground cover with delicate semievergreen blades plus white-edged purple and brown thimble-like inflorescences. Indigenous to the thickets and oak inhabited woodlands of eastern and central North America, Oak Sedge works great in well-drained shady expanses, such as underneath deciduous trees and large perennials, or as a lawn substitute, where thereís not much foot traffic.

Blooms May

Size: 6"–12" high x 8"–15" wide; hardy to zone 4.

Carex pensylvanica (G-0545)
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Carex tenuiculmis  full sun  partial shade
New Zealand Sedge

A cozy fusion of colors—from dark chocolate and cappuccino to reddish bronze—distinguish this fine textured evergreen sedge. Whether positioned in a border, cascading over a wall or embellishing a container, the long and narrow, arching foliage fashions a loosely arranged, graceful mound whose rich warm tones juxtapose green and golden leafage to great affect.

Carex tenuiculmis favors moist soil, and can be brought inside wherever it’s not winter hardy.

Size: 12"–15" high x 12"–15" wide; hardy to zone 7.

Carex tenuiculmis (G-0471)
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Carex testacea  full sun  partial shade
Orange New Zealand Sedge

The exotic look of lucent orange foliage paints the garden’s verdant canvas nearly year round. Long, fine textured strands first emerge an olive-green and later transmute stunning golden brown, copper and orange highlights. With its upright and dense arching tuft, easy-to-grow Carex testacea is a hardy, drought tolerant grass that entices gardeners, but not deer, insisting on full sun to preserve the extraordinary hues, and good drainage.

Let this evergreen New Zealand native spill over a container’s edge or cozy up to Yucca ‘Garlandís Gold’, Heuchera ‘Obsidian’ and Euphorbia myrsinites.

Size: 18"–2' high x 18" wide; hardy to zone 6.


Carex testacea (G-0495)
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Current Staff’s Favorite Plant

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Our favorite plant this week: We love Astrantia major 'Lars' for it's ornate, richly colored blooms, that look great in an arrangement, either fresh or dried. Celebrating bright and cheerful colors, crowns of maroon bracts deliver gorgeous cherry red floral mounds with lighter pink centers. ĎLarsís blooms loll high above broad deep green lobed leaves on slender stems. This energetic Danish cultivar looks a bit like an overly exuberant Italian Flat Parsley and makes an unparalleled up-front cottage-style filler that is easy to care for.

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