Carex pensylvanica, Pennsylvania Sedge

Tried and True Native Plant Selections for the Mid-Atlantic

A low sedge with soft, delicate, arching, semi-evergreen leaves.  If you are struggling with a lawn in dry soil and shade, this is a great substitute that never needs mowing.

Print Version: Carex pensylvanica, Pennsylvania Sedge

Carex pensylvanica, Pennsylvania Sedge Grass / Sedge Height: 1⁄2–11⁄2 feet Spread: 1⁄2–1 foot Bloom Color: Green, yellow, reddish purple, white Characteristics Semi-evergreen, shade-loving perennial sedge with fountaining habit Narrow, grass-like, medium green leaves, 8–12 inches long Insignificant inflorescences atop single rough culms (stems) from April to July are followed by tiny fruits (achenes) encased in sac-like bracts Foliage turns sandy-tan in fall Spreads by rhizomes to form loose colonies to dense mats with a creeping habit AttributesTolerates heavy shade and wet soilNo serious pests or diseases; deer rarely damageOften found growing near oak trees resulting in the common name “oak sedge”Attracts insects and birds Growing and Maintenance Tips Soil Requirements: Average, well-drained Light Requirements: Partial Shade, Shade Water Requirements: Dry, Moist Does not grow well from seed Cut to ground early spring to keep tidy appearance*It is native in DC and common in DE. It is native in most MD and PA counties. In VA, it is common in the mountains and Piedmont and infrequent in the Coastal Plain. **If used as a lawn substitute, then plant densely from purchased stock. It can be kept unmown or mowed 2–3 times per year at a height of 2–4 inches. Use in dry shade as alternative to lawn, ground cover, or underplanting for shade perennials Hardiness: USDA Zones 3–8 Excellent Replacement for Festuca arundinacea - Tall Fescue

Learn more about other Mid-Atlantic plants: Tried and True Plant Fact Sheets