FIRST IMPRESSIONS: Carex texensis is a rhizomatous perennial sedge that matures into a low fine textured leafy mat. The shiny deep green foliage is 3-6” long and semi-evergreen. In late spring dainty green flower spikes are displayed above the leaves. Plants occur in part shade to partly sunny moist or dry sandy woods. This sedge has great landscape potential as a woodland groundcover and is a natural as a lawn alternative.
HABITAT & HARDINESS: Carex texensis is native to the eastern United States from New York to Georgia and west to Nebraska and Texas. This sedge has naturalized in parts of California.
Plants are indigenous to post oak savannahs, dry meadows, open oak woods, moist sandy woodlands, forest clearings and woodland edges.
Hardy from USDA Zones 5-9.
PLANT DESCRIPTION: Carex texensis grows in mat-like clumps of delicate arching foliage.
Leaves are deep green and less than 1/16” wide. The narrow blades are evergreen in the southern part of the range and semi-evergreen further north.
In spring several upright culms bear 3-8 well separated green spikes. Each oval spike contains 3-10 spreading or reflexed sharply pointed green to gold perigynia.
This sedge is less than 6” tall with a spread of 1’ or more.
CULTURAL & MAINTENANCE NEEDS: Carex texensis prospers in open dry or moist woods. The preferred exposure is dappled sunlight to shade. Plants will survive in full sun but they take on a yellow green color and need to be irrigated regularly.
This sedge performs well in sandy soils. Established plants are drought tolerant, pest resistant and unpalatable to deer and other herbivores.
In garden situations, plants can be cut to the ground during late winter before new growth is initiated.
LANDSCAPE USES: Carex texensis is a valuable Groundcover or Lawn Substitute for a Shade Garden. This sedge is lovely when installed between stepping stones or when Grouped or Massed with spring wildflowers, low growing bulbs or ferns. The unique leaf texture allows this sedge to serve as an eye catching Accent. Plants provide Erosion Control and Winter Interest and are appropriate for Deer Resistant Plantings, Low Maintenance Plantings, Restoration Projects and Wildlife Gardens.
This sedge is an excellent native substitute for the popular Asian groundcovers Liriope muscari and Ophiopogon japonicus.
COMPANION & UNDERSTUDY PLANTS: Suitable garden companions for Carex texensis could include Aster divaricatus, Aquilegia canadensis, Eupatorium colestinum Polystichum acrostichoides, and Silene virginica.
If a substitute is needed, Carex socialis could be substituted in a moist or wet site. Carex pensylvanica could work in dry shade as a lawn alternative.
TRIVIA: Plant 6” apart to create a woodland lawn that can be mown on a high setting. Mowing can be scheduled 1 to 3 times a year but a late winter clipping is the most important. Keep moist until established and water as needed thereafter. Plantings will tolerate light foot traffic but if the lawn is traversed daily, stepping stones should be added.
California garden designer John Greenlee bestowed the common name Catlin Sedge on this plant. The name is a tribute to Southern California horticulturist Jack Catlin who was known for using this sedge as a bonsai accent plant and in other container plantings.