Carex acuta 'Aurea', Carex elata 'Bowles' golden', Carex flava 'Aurea', Carex riparia 'Bowles' Golden' and Carex stricta 'Bowles' Golden'.



Common name/s ?

Bowles' golden sedge, golden variegated sedge, stiff sedge, yellow sedge.

Skill rating



Northern Europe.

Type of plant ?

Evergreen, perennial grass.

Hardiness zone ?

RHS zone


EGF zone


USDA zone


Eventual size

70-90cm height by 50cm spread.

Growth rate ?

Moderate, will reach final height in 2 to 5 years.

Shape it grows into

Compact clump with arching leaves and flower spikes.

Season/s of interest

All year round foliage and erect flower spikes in summer.

Where to grow it

Happy in full sun or part shade.
Prefers moist to wet soil.

Happy in any soil type, so long as it is relatively poorly drained. Clay or loam based soil is ideal. Can cope with exposed spots as well as sheltered ones, so long as it gets some sun exposure.

Carex elata 'Aurea'


Light coloured, arching, narrow, evergreen, gold/green streaked foliage and taller, brown tufted flower spikes edged in white.

What to use it for

Great in city/courtyard gardens or in containers. Around a pond or water feature it would add an ‘authentic’ reed-like look without requiring the very boggy conditions that many other marginal plants need. It would also add extra interest to a mixed border and informal planting schemes.

How to look after it

Pruning is required after flowering and to remove any dead foliage in the winter – both are done to keep the plant looking tidy. Other than that, this plant is pretty self sufficient.

How to prune it

Cut flowered stems down to the ground after flowering. Cut any dead foliage down to the ground in late winter.

How to propagate it

The easiest way to obtain more carex plants is to divide clumps in spring. This also helps to keep the original plant healthy and vigorous.

You can also sow the seeds in autumn at 15˚C, although they may not grow true to the original plant.

Common problems

Generally problem free, although aphids can congregate at stem bases to feed.

Other useful information

Holds the ‘Award of Garden Merit‘ from the Royal Horticultural Society.

Many of the alternative names for this cultivar mention ‘Bowles’ – this is named after Edward Augustus Bowles (“Gussie” to his friends), a botanist and author of the early 20th century.