How to Grow Cyperus Plants in your Garden

Gardener's HQ Guide to Growing Bulrush, Papyrus, Australian Bush Onion, and Flatsedge

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 that can reach up to 1.5 m in height.

They have large thick stalks that carry green or cream flowers in the autumn.

Members of Cyperus are water loving plants and some of the 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.

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 off in pots and then submerge them into a water feature in your garden.

Seeds should be prepared about 8 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 should be sown into pots and lightly covered.

The soil should be rich and kept moist; the germination takes about one month at 22 degrees centigrade.

Caring for Papyrus

Once established the growing Papyrus seedlings (in their pots) should be transferred into shallow water by a pond 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 plants to grow, then members of Cyperus can be divided at the beginning of spring.

I hope that you enjoyed this guide on Cyperus. Updated September 2020.