Learn Carex Divulsa Care: All About Growing Grassland Sedge

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Carex divulsa (KAY-reks di-VUL-sah) is an ornamental sedge grass native to Asia, North America, and Europe. This hardy, rugged perennial member of the Cyperaceae family of plants.

The plant’s genus name, Carex, means “cutter” in Latin and refers to the sharp (though not dangerous) edges of the triangular leaf stems.

Onamental grass Carex_divulsa planted in the landscapePin
Auckland Museum [CC BY 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

The specific epithet, divulsa, is also Latin and means “shattering.” This may reference the natural scattering of the plants’ many seeds.

This plant is also commonly called the following common names:

  • Grassland Sedge
  • Grey Sedge
  • Foothill Sedge

You may also find Carex divulsa (Grassland Sedge) confused with Carex tumulicola (Berkeley Sedge), a northwestern American native plant.

It’s important not to accidentally plant Grassland Sedge instead of Berkeley Sedge because of invasive potential. 

Carex Divulsa Care

How to Grow Carex Divulsa

Size and Growth

Grassland Sedge has a clumping growth habit and used in some areas as a lawn substitute. Clumps spread to an average of about 2’ feet across with an equal height.

These grass-like plants have arching slender leaves spread about 2′ feet wide and have a tidy habit. Moreover, the attractive green foliage is grass-like and long.

Flowering and Fragrance

Grey Sedge does bloom in the late springtime, but it’s nothing to get excited about.

The blooms appearing in late spring are small and insignificant in cream, tan, brown, and copper shades. They transition into dark brown clusters of seeds.  

Light and Temperature

Grassland Sedge grows happily in almost any light level. However, it thrives in full sun, light shade, partial shade, or heavy shade.

Under the full sun, it performs best and grows lush.

This shade tolerant sedge is winter hardy in USDA hardiness zones 5a through 9b.

Moreover, this plant also does well in tricky spots like under established trees or in landscapes with dry shade.

Watering and Feeding

Grassland Sedge can thrive in hot, dry settings or consistently moist, boggy settings. Carex will naturally grow more lush and full with regular watering in desert-like environments.

Providing regular water will help the plant have the best appearance. Summer water will also keep it fresh for longer.

In addition, this plant can also endure salt spray and heat. It also needs moderate to regular moisture to sustain foliage color and promote a healthy growth rate.

Fertilizer is not absolutely necessary, but using a half dose of slow-release fertilizer at the time of planting can boost your plants.

You can also use Elements Starter plant food granular form when planting each late fall.

Repeat the treatment annually, early in the springtime, if you wish.

Soil and Transplanting

Grey Sedge does well in all sorts of soil, but like most plants, it prefers light, airy, and well-drained soil.

In addition, it grows best in consistently fertile, moist soils or wet soils to boggy soils. However, it can tolerate a wide range of soil types, including average soils and clayey or sandy soils. 

Although the illness is rare for this plant, standing in soggy, stagnant soil is never a good idea. Compacted soil must be avoided too.

Regarding the soil’s pH level, it prefers neutral to alkaline soil.

When planting, leave plenty of space for growth, spread, and air circulation. Clumps of Carex should be placed a minimum of one foot apart. A three-foot placement leaves ample room for your plants to grow and thrive.

Stagger rows of plants for a more attractive appearance and more even coverage. Spread a 2 or 3-inch layer of mulch between plants to help retain moisture in the soil.

Grooming and Maintenance

If you choose to use Foothill Sedge as a substitute for grass, you can mow it to a height of about two inches regularly.

For winter interest, you can leave your Grey Sedge standing during the cold months of the year.

How To Propagate Grassland Sedge

In a conducive environment, this native sedge self-propagates by seed and natural rhizome spread under ideal conditions.

If your plants become overcrowded, you can divide them up in the springtime.

You can also collect seed and sow it on the prepared ground in the springtime or in the autumn. The seeds require natural changes of season to facilitate germination.

Be advised that the plants do not attain reproductive maturity until after the second year. In fact, your wait for your plants to produce seeds may take as long as five years.

Grassland Sedge Main Pest Or Diseases

This highly adaptable, easy-to-please plant is truly carefree. It is not subject to pest infestation or maladies.

Is the plant considered toxic or poisonous to people, kids, and pets?

Fortunately, if this evergreen Sedge establishes itself in your pasture, your livestock will probably not mind eating it. In New Zealand, it is used as cattle fodder.

The plant is non-toxic, and cats tend to enjoy hiding, napping, and playing among its arching stems and green leaves.

Is the plant considered invasive?

Carex divulsa spreads and naturalizes easily, so it can definitely become invasive in a conducive setting. 

It has naturalized in Australia and is considered a weed with the devastating potential to displace native plants and disrupt agriculture in many areas.

The plant pops up readily in lawns, overgrazed pastures, hedgerows, and on bare or disturbed soil. 

Suggested Carex Divulsa Uses

This hardy plant makes an excellent ground cover or lawn alternative in a naturalized setting or wooded area. It can tolerate mowing and light foot traffic. It is deer resistant.

When you mix it with native wildflowers for an open prairie planting and woodland setting, the Grassland Sedge provides habitat and hiding places for songbirds and pollinators. In addition, birds appreciate the seeds.

It also makes a lovely backdrop when interplanted with wildflowers.

Moreover, mass plantings of Grassland Sedge can help combat erosion on hillsides and meadow plantings. A small courtyard or garden can also be planted in a small grouping or used as an accent plant.

Because it is drought resistant, Grassland Sedge makes a nice addition to a rock garden, but it will be equally at home in a rain garden or an open meadow setting.

This plant is also a good choice in areas where other plants have been tried without success. It is very likely to be happy almost anywhere you put it.

In addition, the plant’s white flowers on triangular stems also make a beautiful cut flower. It also makes an excellent container plant with its upright arching form that brings texture to container plantings.

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