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Carex comosa (Bristly Sedge)

Bristly Sedge, Longhair Sedge, Bottlebrush Sedge

Carex comosa, Bristly Sedge, Longhair Sedge, Bottlebrush Sedge, Ornamental grasses, Ornamental grass, Decorative grasses, grasses, perennial grasses

Carex comosa (Bristly Sedge) is a vigorous clump-forming sedge forming a large tuft of leaves and flowering culms. It produces arching, lustrous lime green leaves, up to 18 in. long (45 cm), along the entire length of the culms up to the inflorescence. From late spring to early summer, each fertile triangular culm, 3-4 ft. tall (90-120 cm), rises well above the foliage bearing large lime-green bottlebrush-shaped spikes. Turning golden brown when ripe, they attract many wetland birds, including the American Coot, Wilson Snipe, several rails, many ducks, and the Swamp Sparrow. The root system is fibrous and short-rhizomatous. Native to North America, this moisture-loving plant is one of the most ornamental sedges that can be used in rain gardens. Slow-growing, it is an excellent choice for a water garden, wetland garden, or near ponds and streams.

  • Grows up to 24-36 in. tall (60-90 cm) and 18-36 in. wide (45-90 cm).
  • Performs best in full sun to light shade in continually moist to wet, loamy, or clay soils. Grows poorly in sandy soils.
  • A good choice for plantings in bog gardens, rain gardens, or near ponds and streams.
  • No serious pest or disease issues. Deer resistant.
  • Propagate by seed.
  • Native to North America, where it grows in western and eastern regions of Canada and the United States and parts of Mexico.

Requirements

Hardiness 4 - 8
Plant Type Ornamental Grasses, Perennials
Plant Family Cyperaceae
Genus Carex
Common names Sedge
Exposure Full Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Late)
Summer (Early, Mid, Late)
Fall
Height 2' - 3'
(60cm - 90cm)
Spread 1' - 3'
(30cm - 90cm)
Spacing 18" - 24"
(50cm - 60cm)
Maintenance Low
Water Needs Average, High
Soil Type Clay, Loam
Soil pH Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Moist but Well-Drained, Moisture Retentive, Poorly Drained
Characteristics Showy
Native Plants United States, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Southeast, Rocky Mountains, Southwest, Pacific Northwest, Midwest, Northeast, California, Nebraska, Missouri, Minnesota, Ohio, Michigan, Iowa, Indiana, Illinois, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Idaho, Oregon, Washington, Kentucky, Georgia, Florida, Arkansas, West Virginia, Alabama, Virginia, Tennessee, South Carolina, North Carolina, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, Montana
Tolerance Deer, Wet Soil
Attracts Birds
Garden Uses Bog Gardens, Ponds And Streams, Rain Gardens
Garden Styles Informal and Cottage
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Alternative Plants to Consider

Carex appalachica (Appalachian Sedge)
Carex flacca ‘Blue Zinger’ (Blue Sedge)
Carex plantaginea (Plantain-Leaf Sedge)
Carex pensylvanica (Pennsylvania Sedge)
Carex tumulicola (Foothill Sedge)
Carex pseudocyperus (Sedge Hop)

Recommended Companion Plants

Iris versicolor (Blue Flag)
Lobelia cardinalis (Cardinal Flower)
Iris virginica (Southern Blue Flag)
Juncus effusus (Common Rush)
Equisetum hyemale (Horsetail)
Asclepias incarnata (Swamp Milkweed)

Find In One of Our Guides or Gardens

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While every effort has been made to describe these plants accurately, please keep in mind that height, bloom time, and color may differ in various climates. The description of these plants has been written based on numerous outside resources.
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Requirements

Hardiness 4 - 8
Plant Type Ornamental Grasses, Perennials
Plant Family Cyperaceae
Genus Carex
Common names Sedge
Exposure Full Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Late)
Summer (Early, Mid, Late)
Fall
Height 2' - 3'
(60cm - 90cm)
Spread 1' - 3'
(30cm - 90cm)
Spacing 18" - 24"
(50cm - 60cm)
Maintenance Low
Water Needs Average, High
Soil Type Clay, Loam
Soil pH Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Moist but Well-Drained, Moisture Retentive, Poorly Drained
Characteristics Showy
Native Plants United States, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Southeast, Rocky Mountains, Southwest, Pacific Northwest, Midwest, Northeast, California, Nebraska, Missouri, Minnesota, Ohio, Michigan, Iowa, Indiana, Illinois, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Idaho, Oregon, Washington, Kentucky, Georgia, Florida, Arkansas, West Virginia, Alabama, Virginia, Tennessee, South Carolina, North Carolina, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, Montana
Tolerance Deer, Wet Soil
Attracts Birds
Garden Uses Bog Gardens, Ponds And Streams, Rain Gardens
Garden Styles Informal and Cottage
How Many Plants
Do I Need?
Explore Great Plant Combination Ideas
Carex (Sedge)
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Carex (Sedge)
Not sure which Carex (Sedge) to pick?
Compare Now

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