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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Thursday - September 03, 2009

From: Washington, DC
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Seed and Plant Sources
Title: Source for Carex blanda in Washington DC
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, After reading your recommendations, Carex blanda seems to be a suitable evergreen native plant for a small pond island planter I am making for our small backyard turtle pond. The purpose of the island is to both be a basking place for the turtle while the plant roots dangle in the water and act a filter. I am looking for a native that is not too tall lest it make the island planter prone to flipping and evergreen so that it might filter the water, at least during warm periods, when deciduous plants would be dormant. However, I can' find Carex blanda plants. Where can I buy them?

ANSWER:

Carex blanda (eastern woodland sedge) is evergreen, perennial, grows 1 to 3 ft. tall, has high water use, can grow in sun, part shade or shade, and prefers moist to mesic conditions. It frequently occurs in swampy conditions. The only thing we could not establish definitely was whether it would be all right with its roots dangling in water all the time. We believe it would be, as long as it had lots of dirt to let its roots draw nutrients and trace elements from the soil. An article from Illinois Wildflowers on Common Woodland Sedge has more information. 

In terms of finding a source for it, go to our National Suppliers Directory, type in Washington DC in the "Enter Search Location" box, and you will get a list of native plant nurseries, seed suppliers and landscape and environment professionals in your general area. They all have contact information, so you can inquire about availability by phone or e-mail. Since this is sometimes considered a weed, you are probably going to have to plant seeds, and grow your own little starter plants. Your chances of getting seed are much better than of being able to  buy bedding plants in your area, even though the plant is native to the whole East Coast. The seed companies, in particular, should be able either to supply you via mail order or to refer you to someone who can, or even special order it for you. You shouldn't need much as it will propagate itself. 

From our Native Plant Image Gallery


Carex blanda

Carex blanda

Carex blanda

Carex blanda

 

 

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