Cyperus Plant Growing & Care Guide for Gardeners

In this Gardener's HQ guide, we'll explore cultivating Cyperus plants in your garden, indoor spaces, and other settings.

Bulrush, Papyrus, Australian Bush Onion, & Flatsedge: Cultivation & Garden Use

The Cyperus member Papyrus is famed as the plant the Egyptians used to make paper to write on.

It is an half hardy perennial grass. It can reach up to 1.5 m (5 feet) in height.

Cyperus plants have large thick stalks, and carry green or cream flowers in the autumn.

Members of the Cyperus genus are water loving plants. Some of the more common names include, Bulrush, Papyrus, Umbrella grass, and Galingale.

Cyperus javanicus
Cyperus javanicus by D.Eickhoff.

Cyperus papyrus
Cyperus papyrus by mauroguanandi.

Cyperus Growing and Care Guide

Common Names: Bulrush, Papyrus, Papyrus Sedge, Flatsedge, Australian Bush Onion. Chufa, Galingale, Paper plant, Umbrella grass.
Life Cycle: Half hardy perennial. Annual.
Height: 18 to 48 inches (45 to 120 cm).
Native: All worldwide temperate and tropical zones.
Family: Cyperaceae.
Growing Region: Zones 8 to 10.
Flowers: Autumn.
Flower Details: Cream, green. Tiny. Clusters. Umbrella.
Foliage: Blades.
Sow Outside: Cover seed. Spring or the beginning of autumn. Spacing: Small species 12 inches (30 cm); Larger species 24 to 48 inches (60 to 120 cm).
Sow Inside: Germination time: 3 weeks to one month. Temperature 70 to 75°F (21 to 24°C). Seven or eight weeks in advance. Transplant outdoors a few weeks after the last frost (temperature should not fall below 45°F (7°C)), or in autumn.
Requirements and care: Full sunlight, or in places with light afternoon shade on hot areas. Rich soil, moist soil. Winter mulch. Many Cyperus species are aquatic and therefore require shallow water. Potted plants can be submerged in pools (bring pots indoors over winter). Propagate: by dividing in the spring.
Miscellaneous: This plant has an abundance of uses, ranging from paper making, mat making, a biofuel, eaten as a vegetable, sweet making, and in ancient time was used as incense.

How to Grow Papyrus and other Cyperus

Due to their water loving nature, it is probably best to start Cyperus plants off in pots, and then submerge them into a water feature in your garden.

Seeds should be prepared about eight weeks before they are due to be transplanted outdoors, in the spring or at the beginning of autumn.

The seeds of Cyperus members, such as Papyrus and Bulrush, should be sown into pots and lightly covered.

The soil should be rich and kept moist. The germination process takes about one month, at 22 degrees centigrade (72°F).

Caring for Papyrus

Once established, the growing Papyrus seedlings (in their pots) should be transferred into shallow water by a pond that is located in a sunny spot.

When temperatures start to get cold, then the Papyrus plants should be brought indoors for the winter. If you want to have more Cyperus plants to grow, then they can be divided at the beginning of spring.

Common Questions

How many members does the Cyperus genus have?

The Cyperus genus contains around 700 species, making it one of the largest genera of flowering plants. It includes the well-known papyrus plants.

Do members of Cyperus make a good garden or landscaping plant?

Yes, many Cyperus species, such as umbrella papyrus, make excellent ornamental plants, particularly in water gardens, wet areas, or containers.

Which Cyperus species are most frequently grown by gardeners?

Cyperus papyrus (Papyrus Plant) and Cyperus alternifolius (Umbrella Plant) are popular choices for their unique foliage.

Are members of the Cyperus plant genus fragrant?

While not typically known for fragrance, some Cyperus species produce subtly scented flowers or have fragrant roots, such as Cyperus scariosus.

What is the perfect location to grow Cyperus?

Cyperus thrive in full sun to part shade in consistently moist or even boggy soils. They're great for water gardens or pond edges.

Is Cyperus invasive in the USA?

Some Cyperus species, like Cyperus esculentus (Yellow Nutsedge), can be invasive in certain areas of the USA due to their prolific growth.

How do I remove Cyperus plants from my garden?

Cyperus removal involves pulling or digging up the plants, ensuring you remove all tubers which can lead to regrowth. Regular monitoring is recommended.


The Cyperus genus, part of the Cyperaceae family, is native to various regions worldwide. These perennial plants, often referred to as papyrus or umbrella plants, are recognized for their upright, grass-like foliage and umbrella-like clusters of small flowers.

To cultivate Cyperus, plant them in a sunny location with consistently moist to wet soil. They can be grown from seeds or divisions. Regular watering is necessary, and they often prefer standing water. Given their preference for moist conditions, they are often used in water gardens, ponds, or as indoor plants.

I hope that you found this guide on how to grow Papyrus plants in your garden. You may also enjoy my gardening guides on how to grow Cotton Sedge, Japanese Water Iris, Briza plant, and Panicum plants.