The umbrella plant (Cyperus involucratus) is related to the Egyptian papyrus plant (Cyperus papyrus). It prefers wet, boggy areas and is thought to be native to Madagascar. It is found naturally throughout Africa and other tropical regions. Umbrella plants reach a height of 2 to 6 feet with a broad canopy of large leaf-like fronds that give it the appearance of an umbrella. It is an easy to care for plant outdoors in hardiness zones 8 to11. Cooler hardiness zones require that umbrella plants to be grown indoors. Umbrella plants are invasive--it is recommended that they be grown in containers outdoors.
Fill a large flower pot with potting soil. Plant the umbrella plant at least 12 inches into the soil.
Place the flower pot in a location that offers partial shade and protection from drafts and wind. Umbrella plants can tolerate full sun but grow larger and fuller in partial shade.
Water when the top layer of the soil begins to dry. Do not allow the soil to dry out completely. Spray the leaves when watering; this will replace the lack of humidity.
Fertilize with a slow-release, high-nitrogen fertilizer. Add fertilizer in early spring and late fall.
Remove suckers (off-shoots) from the base of the trunk with a sharp knife. Place the suckers in a pot of moist sand to root.