These are grass like plants, originating in tropical, subtropical, and temperate regions of the world, but almost always in a wet habitat Cyperus species have lush foliage and dramatic, umbrella-shaped flower heads where leaf like bracts accompany the spiky flowers. They need moist, humid conditions to thrive and are suited to positioning at the edge of a pool in a warm conservatory, where they can be kept thoroughly moist
C. albostriatus is a thickly tufted perennial plant from Southern Africa which forms thin rhizomes as it grows. The stems, up to 2 ft. (60 cm) high, are thin and topped with up to 24 narrow, radiating bracts and pale brown flowers. The narrow, purple-sheathed leaves form a cluster at the base. C.a. ‘Yariegalus’ has stems, leaves, and bracts striped white.
C. invohicratus, from Africa, is also called umbrella grass and is a perennial tuft-forming plant with short basal leaves. It grows to a height of 2-2½ ft. (60-75 cm) and produces yet low (lowers in summer on top of long, three-sided stems, surrounded by 12—28 long bracts arranged spirally like the spokes of an umbrella.
C. papyrus, used for paper making since ancient tunes, is also known as papyrus or Egyptian paper reed. It is a large, clump forming plant from Africa that needs plenty of space to grow to full size of 10 ft. (3 m) or more. Lt also needs a very moist environment and will thrive in boggy conditions, although it should not be completely submerged. The dark green “leaves” at the top of the tall, triangular stems are actually bracts above which the flowers are carried in grass like clusters.
Size: See individual species.
Light: Direct or indirect sunlight.
Temperature: Normal to warm; minimum 60°F (15°C).
Moisture: Keep moist at all times. Over-watering this plant is almost impossible.
Feeding: Fertilize with standard liquid fertilizer once a month, from spring to fall.
Propagation: Divide in spring.
Special needs: The high requirement for water and humidity can be catered to by placing the pot in a tray or saucer lull of water. Dry air or drying out of the root ball will result in brown tips on the bracts.