Carex radiata

Eastern Star Sedge

$3.00 - $100.00

1/8 oz.
1/4 oz.
1/2 oz.
1 oz.

Bare Root Plants

Tray of 50
Out of Stock

This sedge forms thick clumps that will stand 12" tall but then flop over as the seed begins to ripen. The fine texture, clump-forming habit, dark color of the foilage, star-like perigynium, and preference for full to partial shade make Carex radiata a nice addition to any shaded home landscape. Although it can grow in medium-moisture soils, it shoud be an area that never totally dries out.  Starting by seed can be tricky and slow; consider plant divisions.  

As a cool-season species, it actively grows during the spring and fall when soil temperatures are cool.  We used to call this Straight-Styled Wood Sedge, as referenced in Flora of Chicago for the straight-styled tip of the female flowers, as opposed to the very similar-looking curled tip of Carex rosea (Curly-styed Wood Sedge), which tolerates drier soils.

*This species may be difficult and/or slow to germinate and grow to maturity.  Please note the germination code. Seed of this species is kept under refrigeration (33-38 F) in our warehouse. The days in transit to you in colder or warmer conditions won’t harm the seed, but it should be put back in refrigeration until you are ready to plant or apply pre-sowing treatment.

Live Plant Shipping Table

Spring Fall Age/Size
Dormant Bare Roots
April/May October 1-2 years
Potted Trays of 50 May August 2" wide x 5" deep plugs

Carex radiata - Eastern Star Sedge

Map Key

Present in state
Present but introduced in county
Present and native in county; not rare
Not present in state
Present and native in county; rare
Species extirpated (historic)
State or county listed as noxious
Present in state; exotic

This map shows the native and introduced (adventive) range of this species. Given appropriate habitat and climate, native plants can be grown outside their range.

3 Questions asked on Carex radiata

What square footage does a packet of 200 seeds cover approximately?
HI Lynn. This is a pretty difficult Sedge to germinate and grow to maturity. When you do get adult plants, the best propagation method would be to divide them early spring or late fall and transplant them where you want.

For a single seed packet of 200 seeds, we would suggest starting in a very small controlled area - like a small 3x3 garden bed. Surface sow in clean, compact soil late fall,lightly press them in (don't bury them) and watch for germination next spring. Don't pull weeds near new seedlings as that will disrupt the forming root system of this perennial sedge.

When you say this is a pretty difficult sedge to germinate, does that mean it has a low germination rate, it's slow to germinate, or seeds are basically useless and a customer really, really should opt for plugs? I had very good luck using the winter sowing method for the following Prairie Moon Nursery seeds last year: amsonia, side oats grama, lobelia, meadow rue, pussytoes, lupine, blue-eyed grass, monarda, angelica, wild strawberries, false nettle, blue vervain. In fact, the only PMN seeds that didn't germinate for me were bottle gentian, which I think was my fault, since I covered the seeds instead of surface sowing. So I feel pretty confident starting most seeds. I'm wanting to plant a matrix of perennials, grasses, and sedges, which I'm seeing are the favored base layer. If I purchase enough sedge plugs for the area, it's going to be so expensive! I'm wondering if I attempt to save money on sedge by starting from seed, am I basically going to end up with little to no sedge germinating?
Hi Margaret. Eastern Star Sedge is not a lost cause to start from seed - but it is slow to germinate and requires patience and a little coaxing to keep the seedlings growing to maturity. Start them in a small area that you can keep an eye on, and transplant them once they are strong enough. Our greenhouse grower says to be mindful of the details - and don't give up too early. If you run into any issues, give us a call and we can help troubleshoot.
Hi. In starting sedges from seed, I'm not sure about how fast they fill out. Is the picture that includes the roots based on one seed after a year? Or do I need to plant several seedlings together to get a clump?
Hi Rose. The root photo on the Eastern Star Sedge webpage is of a 1-2 year old plant. When starting from seed, you will want to sow several seeds in each pot/spot outside. Do not separate seedlings if more than one germinates per pot/spot; their roots are very vulnerable at this stage. Eastern Star Sedge is rather renowned for being a "late bloomer" - it is slow to germinate and takes its time growing and reaching maturity. If larger clumps are what you are going for, sowing quite a few seeds in each site will generally achieve that goal faster.


Growing your own plants from seed is the most economical way to add natives to your home. Before you get started, one of the most important things to know about the seeds of wild plants is that many have built-in dormancy mechanisms that prevent the seed from germinating. In nature, this prevents a population of plants from germinating all at once, before killing frosts, or in times of drought. To propagate native plants, a gardener must break this dormancy before seed will grow.

Each species is different, so be sure to check the GERMINATION CODE listed on the website, in the catalog, or on your seed packet. Then, follow the GERMINATION INSTRUCTIONS prior to planting. Some species don't need any pre-treatment to germinate, but some species have dormancy mechanisms that must be broken before the seed will germinate. Some dormancy can be broken in a few minutes, but some species take months or even years.

Seed dormancy can be broken artificially by prolonged refrigeration of damp seed in the process of cold/moist STRATIFICATION. A less complicated approach is to let nature handle the stratifying through a dormant seeding, sowing seeds on the surface of a weed-free site in late fall or winter. Tucked safely beneath the snow, seeds will be conditioned by weathering to make germination possible in subsequent growing seasons.

To learn more, read our BLOG: How to Germinate Native Seeds

Dormant Bare Root Plants

We dig plants when they are dormant from our outdoor beds and ship them April-May and October. Some species go dormant in the summer and we can ship them July/August. We are among the few still employing this production method, which is labor intensive but plant-friendly. They arrive to you dormant, with little to no top-growth (bare-root), packed in peat moss. They should be planted as soon as possible. Unlike greenhouse-grown plants, bare-root plants can be planted during cold weather or anytime the soil is not frozen. A root photo is included with each species to illustrate the optimal depth and orientation. Planting instructions/care are also included with each order.

Download: Installing Your Bare-Root Plants

Potted Plants

3-packs and trays of 32, 38, or 50 plants leave our Midwest greenhouses based on species readiness (being well-rooted for transit) and order date; Spring shipping is typically early May through June, and Fall shipping is mid-August through September. Potted 3-packs and trays of 38 plugs are started from seed in the winter so are typically 3-4 months old when they ship. Trays of 32/50 plugs are usually overwintered so are 1 year old. Plant tray cells are approximately 2” wide x 5” deep in the trays of 38 and 50, and 2.5" wide x 3.5" deep in the 3-packs and trays of 32; ideal for deep-rooted natives. Full-color tags and planting & care instructions are included with each order.

Download: Planting and Care of Potted Plants

*PLEASE NOTE: we are a mail order nursery and have no retail facilities, but you may pick up your order if prior arrangements are made. Pick up orders are subject to **MN Sales Tax.

US Shipping & Handling Charges

SEED $100.00 and under: $5.00
Retail SEED orders over $100.00 ship free!

Custom seed mixes or discounted seed sales over $100, add 5% of the total seed cost
(for orders over $1,000 a package signature may be required)

BARE ROOT and POTTED PLANTS $50.00 and under: $9.00
over $50.00: 18% of the total plant cost. (For orders over $1,000 a package signature may be required.)

TOOLS and BOOKS have the shipping fee included in the cost of the product (within the contiguous US).

**We are required to collect state sales tax in certain states. Your state's eligibility and % will be calculated at checkout. MN State Sales Tax of 7.375% is applied for orders picked up at our MN location. Shipping & handling charges are also subject to the sales tax.

Shipping Season

SEED, TOOLS and BOOKS are sent year-round. Most orders ship within 1-3 business days.

BARE ROOT PLANTS are shipped during optimal transplanting time: Spring (April-May) and Fall (Oct). Some ephemeral species are also available for summer shipping. Since our plants are field-grown, Nature sets the schedule each year as to when our season will begin and end. We fill all orders, on a first-come, first-serve basis, to the best of our ability depending on weather conditions beyond our control.

POTTED PLANTS (Trays of 32/38/50 plugs and 3-packs) typically begin shipping early May and go into June; shipping time is heavily dependent on all the species in your order being well-rooted. If winter-spring greenhouse growing conditions are favorable and all species are well-rooted at once, then we ship by order date (first come, first serve). We are a Midwest greenhouse, and due to the challenges of getting all the species in the Mix & Match and Pre-Designed Garden Kits transit-ready at the same time, we typically can't ship before early May. Earlier shipment requests will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

*We are unable to ship PLANTS (bare root or potted) outside the contiguous US or to CALIFORNIA due to regulations.


We ship using USPS, UPS and Spee Dee. UPS and Spee Dee are often used for expediting plant orders; they will not deliver to Post Office Box numbers, so please also include your street address if ordering plants. We send tracking numbers to your email address so please include it when you order.



Germination Code
Life Cycle
Sun Exposure
Partial, Shade
Soil Moisture
Medium-Wet, Medium
12 inches
Bloom Time
Deer Resistant
Highly recommended for home landscaping
USDA Zones
Plant Spacing
Catalog Code