Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Carex 'Ice Dance'

Carex 'Ice Dance' is a variegated sedge that does well in dry, semi-shady conditions.  It is early to bloom and sends up its flowering stalk within a couple weeks of the ground thawing.  It spreads through a rhizomatous  root system/  Offset can be separated from a parent and replanted almost any time of the growing season.  'Ice Dance' can grow about 10"-12" tall and spread widely.

Here on the edge of my hosta bed, there is dappled sunlight, but typically dry conditions.  Often I am watering with a mister.  You can see the carex growing right next to some large hosta plantaginea/
Grasses and grass-like plants like sedges do not have a large fan club here in central Wisconsin.  This carex is particularly hardy and very nearly evergreen under the snow.  It has some browning of tips and I trim them up early in the season to have them looking their best as soon as possible.  I have trimmed them to the ground and get a good result with them regrowing pretty quickly.  Another method I have tried is running my fingers through the foliage pulling at the dead blades which also works fairly well.  Cleaning them up early, whichever method you choose, is important.  Once they enter their actively growing period and have a lot of new growth, clean-up becomes more difficult.

This variegated carex brings light to shady spaces.  If you don't grow a carex, this is one to try.


  1. So why aren't they popular? It's a plant recommended at the Chicago Botanic Garden. Do you like the native sedges, like C. muskingumensis, and C. sprengelii?

  2. Jason, a lot of gardeners here see anything blade-like as a weed. Nature of the beast, I think. Grassy weeds are rampant here. You don't even see that purple pennisetum in pots here. Plus, a lot of the grasses (acorus, carex, miscanthus, whatever...) are not truly hardy here it seems, so gardeners are not apt to try them. There are several which are, but unless it has variegated foliage or an incredible seed head early in the season, they are not getting planted. Warm season grasses other than fescue have a hard go. I have had panicum 'Heavy Metal' weeded out of plantings along with miscanthus purpurea, and m. Karl Foerster.