Sun to Shade
Height 6” Spread 12”-18”
Most soils except poorly drained
Deer and rabbit resistant
Use as ground cover, can tolerate light foot traffic
Carex appalachica, or Appalachian Sedge, is native to North America from Ontario and Quebec and south from Maine to Georgia and west to Tennessee and Kentucky. It occurs in clearings, wooded slopes and shaded rock outcrops. You might find this sedge under hemlocks or in dry high spots in maple, oak and beech forests.
Use As a Living Mulch
Like other carex species, C. appalachica makes a great ‘living mulch’. There is no need to surround your plants with wood mulch year after year. Plant a living mulch like this sedge. Let it spread in the spaces between your featured plants. Living mulch plants serve all the same functions as wood mulch – shade the soil, retain moisture, keep weeds down. (More in living mulches can be found here.)
Use its fine texture to set off other plants in your garden such as Aquilegia canadensis, Tiarella cordifolia, Aster divaricatus, Aster macrophyllus, Iris cristata and Scutellaria ovata.
This delicate leaved, grass-like plant forms mounds of arching, fine foliage. It thrives in dry shade and will spread slowly to form a colony. The fine foliage moves gently in the breeze creating wonderful interest in the garden. Many other sedges have thicker blades that are not as delicate or wispy as this one. Cut the foliage down in winter so you can enjoy a fresh flush of delicate green growth in spring.
In late spring a few flower spikes are scattered on culms held above the foliage. They provide nectar to native insects and seed to native birds.
- Butterfly host plant (Skipper and Satyr caterpillars)
- Seeds that are eaten by turtles.
Hot to Use Carex appalachica in Your Garden
- Lawn Substitute – tolerates light foot traffic
- Accent in a container planting
- Erosion control
- Rock Garden (shade)
- Substitute for invasive Liriope or Dwarf Mondo Grass
- Tolerates light foot traffic
Learn More About Sedges!
Check out our blog post on using sedges as groundcover or living mulch. You won’t need to add mulch every year to your garden!