Carex pendula is a woodland plant of considerable charm with long arching leaves and erect stems that bear long drooping green flowers. This, clump forming, evergreen, perennial grass has mid green, smooth strap like leaves that grow up to 1.5m (60in) long and 2cm (1in) wide. Its pendulous green flowers are catkin like are borne on tall arching stems above the leaves, each stem containing male and female flowers, the female flowers being up to 25cm (10in) long. The plant typically flowers from May to June and fruits from June to July.
Suitable for full sun, in shade, wet or dry, Carex pendula is great for tough conditions, it will even tolerate heavy soil and permanently wet soil. The plants are evergreen and require very little maintenance, simply comb or rake off any old, tired or dead leaves and flowers in spring. To keep in check the plants can be cut back by up to half at almost any time from April to July and seed heads can be removed before they form seeds.
Given the correct conditions, Carex pendula can grow to be quite large, it is a vigorous plant and may spread. It is quite unlike the other, more delicate Carex species which are positively well behaved in comparison. Think carefully about introducing this large plant to your garden. It is not suitable for small gardens. Either plant it in a large container, or be prepared to carry out judicious pruning, and digging or thinning out as required.
If you do have the space, Carex pendula makes a lovely specimen. It is wonderful in naturalistic type planting schemes and give colour, texture and movement in the garden. It is well suited for damp and shady areas where little else will grow and ecologically the plants provide shelter for amphibians and the drooping catkin like flowers provide nectar for insects.
Sow indoors in late winter to early spring or in autumn. Seeds can also be sown direct from March onwards.
Sow on to the surface of a free-draining, moist seed-sowing compost and cover with 3 to 4mm (¼in) of vermiculite. Do not exclude light as this helps germination. Keep at around 15 to 20°C (60 to 68°F).
Germination should take place in approximately two weeks. Maintain a temperature of 15°C (60°F) until the seedlings are established.
Once seedlings are large enough to handle, take a small clump of seedlings and put them all in a one-litre pot of gritty compost. They will form a bushy plant and be ready to go into the garden in summer. Grow in sun and in well drained soil.
Ensure all ground is weed free and well prepared before sowing. Sow the seed 2 to 3cm (¾ to1¼in) deep in rows 60 to 90cm (25 to 35in) apart with a distance of 10 to 30cm (4 to 12in) between the plants.
The rate and speed of germination will depend on the soil temperature and weather conditions and could be from 7 to 21 days.
In spring comb through the plant with your fingers to remove dead foliage. Feed in summer with single dressing of a dilute general fertiliser. Even without an annual feed, most grasses will put on a first-rate show. The more nitrogen grasses receive the greener and further they'll grow. Do not over do it…their spreading habit is fine in a field, but in a garden they may become too lush and the flower quality may suffer.
Cut back old foliage to 10cm (4in) in spring as new growth appears in the centres of plants. Divide congested plants in April to June.
Beds and borders, City and Courtyard Gardens, Containers, Cottage/Informal, Foliage, Prairie planting. Flower arrangements. Low Maintenance or Mediterranean. Maritime gardens
Carex pendula is native to western, central and southern parts of Europe occurring north to Sweden, Denmark and parts of Scotland where it reaches 58°N. It is also found in north-west Africa, the Azores, Madeira and parts of the Middle East. It occurs in damp woodland, scrubland, hedges and beside streams, preferring damp, heavy clay soils. It is sometimes grown as a garden plant because of its distinctive appearance.
Pronounced KAIR-ecks PEN-dew-luh. The genus name Carex is the classical Latin name for reeds, grasses, sedges and rushes. now applied to the whole group.
The species name pendula is derived from the Latin pendeo, meaning ‘to hang’ or pendulina, hanging or pendulous.
Carex pendula is commonly known as Pendulous sedge, Weeping sedge or Great pendulous sedge. Carex pendula is synonymous with Carex maxima.
- Additional Information
Packet Size 100mg Average Seed Count 125 Seeds Common Name Pendulous or Weeping Sedge Family Cyperaceae Genus Carex Species pendula Hardiness Hardy Perennial Flowers Pendulous catkin-like green flowers Natural Flower Time May to June Height 1.5m (60in) Spread 1.5m (60in) Soil Well suited for damp and shady areas Time to Sow Sow indoors in late Winter to early Spring or in Autumn or direct sow from March onwards. Germination 7 to 21 days dependent on temperature.