Carex Pensylvanica: Pennsylvania Sedge Information and Care

Carex Pensylvanica, or Pennsylvania Sedge, is a vibrant shady-loving perennial. Why consider it and how do you take care of it?

The low-growing, narrow-shaped leaves of Pennsylvania Sedge form a beautiful green carpet. This well-known sedge makes an excellent grass substitute or ground cover. It spreads slowly through rhizomes and thrives when planted in large groups.

Do you want to know more? Let’s get started.

General Information

Carex pensylvanica grows in loose leaf tufts. Long subterranean rhizomes and stolons rapidly grow into massive colonies, forming thick mats.

The foliage is delicately textured and a vibrant green color. Blades can be up to 12 inches long and 1/8 inch thick. The slender, glossy leaves are semi-evergreen.

Pennsylvania Sedge is best suited to shady areas or woodland gardening. It doesn’t mind being planted in the sun in cooler climates as long as it gets proper moisture. Small eight-inch flowers bloom in May.

It attracts pollinators, including caterpillars of several species. It provides a safe haven and nesting material for wild birds. It is semi-evergreen and drought tolerant once established.

The beautiful flowers of a pennsylvania sedge grass

General Care

It can tolerate heavy shade and wet soil but prefers dry to moist shade. This plant is a great grass substitute in shaded areas, but it will not withstand a lot of foot traffic.

It only needs to be mowed once or twice a season to maintain a 2″ height.

Because it is pest-resistant, deer and other herbivores dislike it.

Like other groundcover plants, this sedge should be cut to the ground in late winter.

Landscape Uses

Carex pensylvanica is a great shade garden grass substitute, groundcover, or edging plant. This sedge looks lovely when grown in a calm group or mass. Plants aid in erosion control and are appropriate for deer-resistant plantings, low-maintenance landscaping, waterwise landscaping, and wildlife gardens.

It’s an excellent natural substitute for the popular Asian groundcovers Liriope muscari and Ophiopogon japonicus.

Oak sedge grass growing alongside some bodies of water

Companion Plants

Try pairing it with any of the recommended companion plants below.

Antennaria neglecta

Field pussytoes, also known as Antennaria neglecta, are stoloniferous, mat-forming, herbaceous perennials of the composite family. This plant has the potential to grow to a height of 1 foot, although it is more likely to be less than 12 inches. It forms a rosette of base leaves in the spring and occasionally grows an inflorescence on a short stalk. The basal leaves are oblanceolate in shape with smooth margins and can grow to be 2″ long and 12″ wide.

Chrysogonum Virginianum

Chrysogonum, often known as Green and Gold, is a low-growing rhizomatous perennial with a leaf mat that grows 1 to 2 inches tall and 18 inches wide or more. It’s found in the woodlands from Pennsylvania through Florida and Louisiana.

Use in the garden as a shady ground cover, as well as in woodland gardens, native plant gardens, and naturalized areas. It is suitable for use as a walkway edging, as well as in shady areas of border fronts and rock gardens.

little yellow flowers of a chrysogonum virginianum pierre

Iris cristata

This iris’ clusters of narrow, pointed leaves are just 4 to 16 inches tall. The sepals of its blue-violet blossoms have a center yellow or white, purple striped band that runs across them.

Phlox Divaricata

Wild Blue Phlox blooms for more than a month in late spring and early summer, making it an excellent choice for shaded areas. The scented blossoms are available in various colors, including lavender, blue, pastel pink, and white. The five-petaled tubular flowers attract butterflies, clearwing moths, and hummingbirds.

Cute little blue phlox divaricata flowers
Jeffrey Douglas
Jeffrey Douglas own a landscaping company and has been in the business for over 20 years. He loves all things related to lawns or gardens and believes that proper maintenance is the key to preventing problems in the first place.
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