Carex (pronounced Kay-rex) is a variety of plant more commonly referred to as marsh grass or Japanese sedge. It resembles a grass, with some of the varieties sold in garden centres being labelled ‘bronze’ due to the reddish tint of the leaves.
This perennial plant is a narrow-leaf grass, which usually grows in clumps or tufts and, in the wild, individual plants will cluster together. Two varieties of Carex morrowii that are available as pot plants are ‘Variegata’, which has white stripes, and ‘Evergold’, a variety which has yellow stripes.
Many species of Carex are native to New Zealand, while others grow in temperate climates around the world where there is a moist habitat, such as California.
The small flowers produced by the Carex bloom in the summer, although some varieties will begin to flower in early spring as well. If being grown outside, then it is best to plant seed in late summer or autumn.
Carex belongs to the family Cyperaceae (cyperus). The family of sedges has over 1500 individual species growing wild in temperate climates. A few of these, ones with variegated leaves, are often cultivated as house plants.
Carex is relatively easy to grow, preferring a bright place which is cool with high levels of humidity. It will require feeding every month throughout spring and summer. It needs bright light but a cool position and must be watered regularly, as well as fed throughout spring and summer. The plant will not respond well to being placed in a position close to a radiator or other kind of direct source of dry heat. Favouring a temperate climate, plants tend to thrive in containers but also do well in moist soils, for example, at the edge of a pond.
Did You Know?
A mix of different species of Carex, when dried, has been used as thermal insulation in footwear to provide protection from the elements.