Perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne L.) cultivars with increased water-soluble carbohydrate (WSC) concentrations were evaluated under controlled environment conditions. The growth and carbon partitioning of these cultivars was compared with standard cultivars during vegetative growth. The high WSC cultivars had shoot growth rates that were not significantly different from the standard cultivars, confirming that the extra WSC in these cultivars was not made available through reductions in yield potential. The extra WSC stored in these cultivars coincided with lower concentrations of neutral detergent fibre in the dry matter. When the cultivars were grown in hydroponic solution the high WSC cultivars Aurora and Ba10727 were found to also have less root mass and a lower root[ratio ]shoot ratio than the standard cultivars. However, this trait was not consistent across all high WSC cultivars with Cariad having the same root[ratio ]shoot ratio as the standard cultivars at the end of the experiment. The reduction in the root mass of the cultivars Aurora and Ba10727 was far greater than necessary to provide the extra carbon stored as WSC in these cultivars. The implications of these results for the breeding of cultivars of perennial ryegrass with increased WSC concentrations are discussed.