In The Garden
Tall sedges nice accent in wet areas
Description: These tall, gorgeous, dark green sedges have narrow serrated blades that gently curve back as they grow. I've seen this plant reach about 6 feet tall! That's pretty big in the sedge world. But usually in landscapes, it will get to about 4 feet tall. The plant sends out rhizomes horizontally that emerge above the surface as solitary bunches, but they don't spread out, usually maintaining a single cluster. The flowers, or spikelets, are golden brown and protrude from tall stems above the plant. This is easily one of the most attractive and striking foliage plants from the sedge family.
This indigenous sedge is found on Kauai, Oahu, Molokai, Maui and Hawaii. Its natural habitat is wet areas like marshes, ponds and along banks of streams -- although I've seen them growing in much drier habitats, like coastal cliffs and coastal hanging valleys.
Landscape use and care: 'Uki look great in any water feature or any place with moist soil or regular watering. We've used them as accent plants before, but sometimes their beauty distracts from what they are supposed to accent. Their height and stature add great depth and texture to any landscape.
Once it has become established in the ground, watering can be cut back to two, maybe three times a week, depending on how fast your soil drains. Given this and lots of sunlight, the plant will do fine. I don't even know of any pests that bother it. Got a constant wet spot in your yard that won't let anything grow? Try 'uki.
This plant is available at Hui Ku Maoli Ola and the Home Depot for about $8.50.
Additional info: Several species of native monocots are called 'uki or have 'uki as one of their names. For example, a different native sedge (Machaerina mariscoides), often called 'ahanui, also goes by the name 'uki.
Rick Barboza co-owns Hui Ku Maoli Ola, a native Hawaiian plant nursery, with Matt Schirman. Contact him at 295-7777 or e-mail Rick.CK.Barboza@gmail.com