How to Grow Cyperus


Cyperus is the genus name for a large number of aquatic plants, with 600 species found on every continent in the world. The most popular variety is papyrus, with others that grow wild known as flatsedges, nutsedges, and galingales. Papyrus, which grows abundantly wild in Africa, is a staple in water-feature gardening and is easy to grow and maintain in warm climates. Prized for their stately stalks and feather-duster tufts early in the season, and white blooms late, papyrus have been used by humans since the beginning of civilization to create paper and medicine. Below are guidelines for growing papyrus in particular, as it's the most popular variety. Growing other varieties of cyperus may differ from that of papyrus, so check with your grower for instructions for your particular cyperus variety.

Growing Cyperus: Papyrus

Step 1

Plant papyrus seeds indoors in January. Use a pot with drainage holes and rich, moist soil. Lightly cover the seeds with soil. Do not immerse in water while germinating but keep moist. Papyrus is slow to germinate--seedlings should start to produce in a month.

Step 2

Transfer seedlings to shallow water in direct sun. Submerge entire pot slowly and at a slight angle to minimize soil loss. If the weather is not past frost season, create an indoor water spot using a plastic tub.

Step 3

Feed cyperus plants regularly with a fertilizer designed for water plants. Stop fertilizing when moved inside for winter.

Step 4

Prune spent growth regularly to keep dying plant matter out of your water feature. Decaying matter can cause many problems to your mini-ecosystem.

Step 5

Move plants indoors for winter months or cold spells. Plants left in water and full sun will continue to grow year-round. Leaving your plant in low light and kept moist will keep it dormant until next growing season.

Tips and Warnings

  • Growing cyperus from seed is a time-consuming effort. Once the rhizome has developed, propagation from dividing makes new growth easier.

Things You'll Need

  • Cyperus papyrus seeds or cyperus seedling
  • Potting soil
  • Porous pot


  • How to Grow and Care for Papyrus
  • How to Grow Papyrus
  • African Plants: Cyperus

Who Can Help

  • Growing Papyrus
  • Historic Look at Papyrus
Keywords: cyperus, papyrus, water plants

About this Author

Bobbi Keffer attended Kent State University to study education but soon found her true love to be in the garden. She prides herself on her frugal skills reusing, recycling and reinventing her whimsical style in her home and garden.