Carex crinita is one of the taller sedges, reaching up to 4 feet if including the flowering stalk. It is an emergent aquatic sedge that will also grow happily in moist upland sites. C. crinita is vigorous and evergreen with a clumping habit (producing tussocks) and spreading by short creeping rhizomes to form colonies. The foliage is medium green. Flowers bloom atop flowering culms which gracefully arch above the foliage. This sedge produces an abundance of hanging seedheads, which have long, weak hairs (thus the common name). Female green inflorescences age to brown spikelets containing seeds which waterfowl will enjoy.
Like all sedges, C. crinita is a cool season grower, photosynthesizing most efficiently when soil and air temperatures are mild and the soil is relatively moist (active growing periods are in spring with a second flush of growth in fall).
Carex are larval host to skipper butterflies, attract butterflies and feed turtles. Who wouldn’t want a turtle in their garden? 😊
Easily grown in moist to wet soils including standing water in full sun to part shade. Grows well in wet low spots, water margins and areas that experience some seasonal flooding, but also tolerates drier soils with medium moisture. Tolerates shady conditions. Good for erosion control.
Height: 1-3 ft.
Spread: 1-2 ft.
Bloom time: May to June
Sun: full sun to part shade
Water: medium to wet
According to Rutgers University, Carex are “rarely damaged” by deer.
“Sedges have edges, rushes are round, grasses are hollow, straight to the ground.”