Carex pensylvanica (Pennsylvania Sedge) grown in quart size pots.
Close-up of the flower spikes of Carex pensylvanica (Pennsylvania Sedge) in bloom.

Carex pensylvanica (Pennsylvania Sedge)

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Carex pensylvanica, commonly called Pennsylvania sedge, is a shade-loving perennial sedge native to eastern and central North America; the species has a low growth profile, spreads slowly, requires little water, and is somewhat tolerant of foot traffic, making it a great choice as a groundcover or lawn alternative in locations that have too much shade for common grasses.

Carex pennsylvania typically grows in small clumps of sharp, grass-like foliage that is semi-evergreen or evergreen in most climates. Although individual clumps grow to only about 8" in height, Pennsylvania sedge also produces small, upright flower spikes that bloom in late spring atop rough, sharply triangular stems that rise up about a foot from the root base. Its low profile and slow-spreading nature also make a great choice for underplanting larger shrubs and for container growing.

Native to Maryland, Native to U.S., Straight Species, and Native to Eastern Shore
Mature Plant Height: Very Short: under 12"
Full Shade (less than 4 hours of sun) and Part Shade/Sun (4-6 hours of sun)
Soil Moisture: Medium to Dry and Well-drained
Soil Type: Loam and Wide Tolerance
Bloom Time: Spring
Flower Color: Green and Yellow
Foliage color: Green
Features: Groundcover, Lawn Alternative, Fall Color, and Winter Interest
Tolerances: Dry Shade Tolerant, Drought Tolerant, and Deer Tolerant
Garden Type: Small Space, Container, Woodland Garden, and Rock Garden

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