Leatherleaf Sedge Grass
- Foliage: Narrow copper/bronze leaves
- Flowering: Jun-Aug
- Colour: Cream
- Height x Spread: 75cm x 60-90cm
- Spacing: 75-90cm
- Position: Full sun, partial shade
The popular grass Carex buchananii, also known as the leatherleaf sedge, has narrow bronze/copper leaves which gracefully arch at the tips. It forms a compact tuft growing up to 75cm and looks particularly good in gravel gardens and prairie style planting, or as an accent plant against more vivid colours in architectural planting or mixed borders.
How to use grasses
Sedges and grasses make the perfect contrast to 'prairie flowers' - herbaceous daisy-type perennials like Echinacea or Rudbeckia. Prairie planting, or the New Perennial style of garden design, was popularised by the influential Dutch garden designer and plantsman Piet Oudolf. His designs use bold drifts of herbaceous perennials and grasses, chosen for their structure and movement in the breeze as well as for their flower colour. Try combining the warm yellow/orange shades of late-flowering Rudbeckia Goldsturm or Gaillardia with Carex buchananii for a great contrast of form and colour.
Their defined shape also looks great in an architectural-style or city garden, contrasted with other colours and styles of grasses and big-leaved plants such as Rodgersia or Rheum palmatum.
- Foliage: Narrow, grass-like leaves in copper/bronze which arch at the tips
- Flowering: June-August
- Colour: Small cream flowers on bronze stems
- Height: 75cm tall
- Spread: From 60-90cm
- Spacing: From 75-90cm
- Position: Will grow in full sun or partial shade
- Soil: Carex buchananii will tolerate all soil types, apart from those that get waterlogged, especially in winter
Did you know...
This sedge is native to New Zealand and once established, is very easy to care for. It is resistant to deer and most pests but watch out for the occasional aphid. It is evergreen and hardy down to -15C but it will not tolerate winter waterlogging.
Carex buchananii likes full sun or partial shade and any soil type except waterlogged. Add well-rotted organic planting, grit and bonemeal when planting, spacing 75-90cm between plants. Place at the same depth as soil level in the pot. Keep well watered during first season and during dry, hot or windy weather. Suitable for use in containers but make sure there is a large drainage hole covered with crocks to avoid waterlogging.
During the first year, give plants a thorough soaking two or three times a week. Check water levels daily. When established, water as required, especially during drought, excessive heat or windy weather. Carex doesn't need much fertilizer - a top dressing in spring is sufficient. Plants are mostly trouble-free, although aphids can be a problem. Check regularly and squash any insects by hand to keep attacks under control. Increase stocks by dividing in spring, placing two forks back to back and pulling apart. Very compacted plants may need a gardening knife or saw to cut through dead matter. Discard the dead centres of older plants. Pot up new divisions and plant out in late spring.