Four Grassy Options for the Shade

Four grasslike plants that thrive in shady gardens.


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Here are four shade-loving, grasslike plants that can be added to a shady nook in the garden.

  • Japanese sweet flag (Acorus gramineus) tolerates well-draining to wet soils. 'Ogon' is a golden selection that brightens up shady spots in the garden. Japanese sweet flag is hardy to USDA Zone 5 and evergreen in warmer climates.

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  • The blue-gray sedge known as Carex glauca also tolerates wet soils but has good drought tolerance too, which means it grows just about anywhere. Hardy to USDA Zone 4, it reaches eight inches tall and maintains a compact growth habit.

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  • Orange New Zealand sedge (Carex testacea) is only hardy to USDA Zone 6 and is beautiful, especially in fall when it turns bright orange. At other times of the year, its olive-green foliage has hints of copper. It grows two feet tall and wide.

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    Sparkler sedge

    Sparkler sedge

  • Carex 'Sparkler' has interesting white-variegated foliage and does well in partial to full shade. Hardy in USDA Zones 7 to 10, it grows to about two feet tall and wide.

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