Georgia Gardener Newsletter Cool Plant: March 5, 2009

Seersucker Sedge
Carex plantaginea

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Species Native Range: Eastern U.S. & Canada
Hardiness: USDA Zones 4-8(9)
Mature Size: 10-12 inches tall and wide
Exposure: Partial to full shade
Soil: Moist to dry
Drought Tolerance: Very good
Ease of Culture: Easy

Seersucker sedge is an attractive and easy to grow evergreen shade perennial that seems to thrive in almost any part of my woodland garden. In the wild, seersucker sedge can be found in moist woods throughout the eastern half of the U.S. I see it much more abundantly in the mountains along streams and in low areas. Skeptical that it could handle the summer heat in metro Atlanta, I bought four plants a few years ago. I must confess that I didn't get around to planting a second group that I purchased and they sat in their nursery pots for nine months! By the time I did plant them, I had to divide them as they had grown so well.

In the very early spring, seersucker sedge blooms with curious creamy white fuzzy flowers atop 12 inch stalks that are banded green and maroon. Although not flashy, the flowers are attractive and noticeable.

Fluffy flowers atop maroon & green banded stems

Plant seersucker sedge in partial to full shade in moist to dry soil that is rich in organic matter. Plants growing in moist soil will have an expanding clump that can be divided every 2-3 years. Those growing in dry soil will expand at a slower rate. Because it is evergreen, seersucker sedge makes a good substitution for liriope, which I have come to despise.

Good companion plants include ferns, hostas, hellebores, foam flower, variegated solomon's seal, astilbe and other shade-tolerant shrubs, perennials and annuals.


This plant is unfortunately not well known but is worth the search. I would begin with nurseries listed on the web site of the Georgia Native Plant Society. It's also available from several mail order sources.

Georgia Native Plant Society Nursery Listing
Northcreek Nursery: mail order
Sunlight Gardens: mail order

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