Cyperus – Umbrella Grass

Cyperus – Umbrella Grass

Cyperus – Umbrella Grass 13°C (55 deg F). Africa.

No indoor plant is easier to grow than the Umbrella Plant. A good specimen of the variety C. alternifolius resembles a graceful group of miniature palm trees and looks elegant on its own or grouped with other plants.

C. diffusus is lower growing and has broader leaves. It is less delicate in looks than C. alternifolius but it, too, is an attractive, useful and tolerant plant.


Growing season Anywhere between

Minimum winter 10-25 °C (50-77 °F)

Soil: A soil-less compost, though most open-textured soils will suit it.

Where to position: It will thrive in light or shady conditions. It is tough and not sensitive to draughts or temperature changes.

Watering requirements: Water copiously. Keep soil almost wet. Leave water in the plant saucer. It is a relative of the Egyptian Papyrus – a swamp plant. Very few plants like their roots permanently in water – this one does.

General care: Feed it fortnightly with weak liquid fertilizer. Re-pot if necessary because of fast growth. The plant may be divided if it gets too big.

Rest: No special routine. Growth merely slows in winter.

When it looks sick:

The plant looks tired or the leaf tips go brown : Water copiously. You cannot over-water this plant.

Leaves become unsightly or cause the plant to have a bad shape : Clip off the offending leaves near the crown of the plant. They will be replaced quickly.


Never allow plants to remain wet in their pots for long periods, is almost standard advice when the experienced plants-man is asked for his, or her, advice on watering. However, there are a few exceptions to this rule, and the moisture-loving, rush-like cyperus is one of them. The loam mixture must be kept permanently wet, and it is usually advisable to allow the plant pot actually to stand in water (for most pot plants this would almost certainly mean a quick death).

Lack of moisture will make the tips of the leaves turn brown, or become infested with red spider mite. Use a good potting compost, and feed during the summer.

Cyperus develop grass-like growth at the top of slender stems which give an umbrella appearance, hence the common name. Stalks of

Cyperus - Umbrella Grass C. dijjfusus are about 60 cm (2 ft) tall and more numerous than those of C. alternyblius which attain a height of l·8- 2·4m (6-8 ft) even when roots are confined to pots.

Dividing mature clumps is the best method of propagation.

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