Native to Southern Europe and Northern Africa
FIRST IMPRESSIONS: Carex flacca ‘Blue Zinger’ is a low clumping European sedge. Foliage is evergreen or semi-evergreen with fine texture and a lovely steely blue color. This perennial prospers in dry to moist well drained soils in sun to part shade. Plants also tolerate difficult wet shaded sites.
HABITAT & HARDINESS: Carex flacca, the parent species of this cultivar occurs in Europe and North Africa around the Mediterranean Sea. The species is indigenous to calcareous grasslands, sand dunes, estuaries, moors and marshes usually with sandy moist soil.
The cultivar ‘Blue Zinger’ was introduced by Emerald Coast Growers of Pensacola, Florida. The selection is said to be taller than the species and to have lighter blue foliage color. ‘Blue Zinger’ is also more of a clump former than its parent, developing into 2’ patches in 5 years.
‘Blue Zinger’ is hardy in USDA Zones 5-9.
PLANT DESCRIPTION: Carex flacca ‘Blue Zinger’ forms handsome clumps of fine textured arching foliage.
Blades are narrow – less than 1/4” wide and up to 16” long. The glaucous foliage has a soft blue grayish-blue color.
In early summer insignificant cream colored flower spikes appear followed by tan seed clusters.
‘Blue Zinger’ grows up to 16” tall with a 24” spread. Plants have evergreen foliage in mild climates and are semi-evergreen further north. ‘Blue Zinger’ slowly expands from underground rhizomes to form small patches.
CULTURAL & MAINTENANCE NEEDS: Carex flacca ‘Blue Zinger’ prospers in dappled sun to shaded sites with wet or moist well drained soil. Plants will grow in full sun if ample moisture is present.
Plants tolerate drought after establishment. They also persevere in clay, average garden soils and moderate salinity.
In the wild this cool blue sedge grows in alkaline or calcareous soils. In garden situations, plants have been found also tolerate neutral and slightly acid pH.
This is a cool season sedge that does much of its growing during chilly weather. Mulch should be applied to protect roots from cold and help conserve water in summer.
Plants should be groomed in late winter to remove tattered foliage and make way for new growth.
This sedge is pest resistant and fairly unpalatable to deer and other herbivores.
LANDSCAPE USES: Carex flacca ‘Blue Zinger’ is a striking individual often used as an Accent, Edging, Mass or Groundcover. The foliage is lovely when planted at the edge of a Water Garden and observed in reflection. This sedge is appropriate for Containers, Deer Resistant Plantings, Perennial Borders, Rain Gardens, Rock Gardens or Shade Gardens.
COMPANION & UNDERSTUDY PLANTS: Try pairing Carex flacca ‘Blue Zinger’ with Heuchera americana 'Dales Strain', Iris cristata, Phlox divaricata, Viola walteri 'Silver Gem', Spigelia marilandica or Polystichum acrostichoides.
Carex flaccosperma is a native sedge with soothing blue foliage that can stand in if a substitute is needed.
TRIVIA: Carex flacca ‘Blue Zinger’ is synonymous with Carex glauca ‘Blue Zinger’.
The specific epithet flacca means “drooping or pendulous” and may refer to the soft arching leaves.
Carex glauca ‘Blue Zinger’ received a Plants of Merit award from the Missouri Botanic Garden in 2013.