For the past few cold wet weeks I have been collecting and sowing Schefflera seed, a process that will continue right into the depths of winter. Umbrella trees, as Scheffleras are commonly known, come in different shapes and sizes: tropical-looking trees, shrubs and even climbers – all produce small black fruit. I get to grow many of them in my job as propagator and gardener to plant hunters Bleddyn and Sue Wynn-Jones at their nursery, Crûg Farm Plants. As often as I hear people saying “wow” about them, I also hear the words “I could never grow them in my garden”.

Schefflera rhododendrifolia is proving reliably hardy in the UK. Photograph: Robbie Blackhall-Miles

I want to help people come around to a different way of thinking about umbrella plants: I want to step in and tell them they are just giant ivy plants. They come from the Araliaceae family, which contains a host of plants that have become commonplace in British gardens. Fatsia japonica, the false castor oil plant, is a member of the family and not many worry whether it is going to be hardy enough any more. Common ivy (Hedera helix) is also a member of this family.

Admittedly, Scheffleras aren’t all hardy. There are well over 500 species worldwide, and I certainly wouldn’t recommend someone go and buy a little variegated Schefflera arboricola (umbrella plant) from the supermarket or DIY store and plant it in their garden. However, species such as S. rhododendrifolia and S. taiwaniana are proving reliably hardy here in the UK given suitable conditions, and have coped very well with everything the past 20 years has thrown at them.

Schefflera macrophylla is a monster of a plant with huge multi-fingered leaves up to a metre across. Photograph: Andrea Jones/Alamy

There are umbrella trees to suit everyone. If you have a really sheltered spot, why not try Schefflera macrophylla, which reaches heights of more than 8m in some Cornish gardens. There are species with tall slender stems, topped with a perfect parasol of exotic two-tiered leaves, such as S. hoi and S. fantsipanensis. I have to say that my personal favourite is S. alpinia, with its purple new foliage, red leaf stems, elegant habit and its ability to survive -15C to boot.

And umbrella trees are fantastic for wildlife. Just like their relative the common ivy, they flower very late in the year when little else is on offer, and provide much-needed nectar to bees, wasps and butterflies. In the depths of winter their black fruit, also just like ivy, is a favourite of our gardens feathered friends such as thrushes and blackbirds.

Schefflera alpinia growing in the garden at Crûg Farm Plants. Photograph: Robbie Blackhall-Miles

Many species were introduced to British cultivation back in the heyday of plant hunting; the genera’s history goes all the way back to Captain Cook’s second voyage of exploration. A species of Schefflera was collected in New Zealand, described formally on Cook’s return, and named in honour of the 18th century German botanist Jacob Christian Scheffler. The Victorians considered them tender and kept them in heated glasshouses. In 1965, a seedling of S. rhododendrifolia was brought to Argyll from Nepal by Sir Peter Hutchinson. He planted it outside where it has since become a 10m tree. The age of the hardy Schefflera was born. It wasn’t until about 20 years ago that more hardy species of Schefflera were brought into cultivation in Britain, this time by a modern plant hunter, Edward Needham. Although he was the first to collect S. taiwaniana, it was Bleddyn and Sue Wynn-Jones of Crûg Farm Plants who made it widely available. When they first released stock in April 2004, plantsmen from far and wide came to queue at the nursery gate in North Wales. From then on in they have slowly increased in popularity.

So, what’s the trick to growing one of these Scheffleras? As architectural as they may seem, you must resist the urge to plant one on its own, as a feature, slap bang in the middle of a border. They like company: other plants around them provide the required shelter and humidity. Don’t plant them out until they have a bit of toughened wood on their stem, because young plants are not as frost hardy as older ones; most will be ok after they get to about 1m tall. Protect them from cold wind. They can cope with just wind, they can cope with cold too. Both together and their handsome evergreen leaves and new growing tips will get badly scorched.
And consider your plant’s provenance: seed collected from plants growing in colder or higher places will be hardiest, and could mean the difference between them surviving the winter or not.

So as I continue with the painstaking job of collecting and sowing Schefflera seed, I wonder – are you still thinking that you couldn’t grow one in your garden? I very much hope not.

Robbie Blackhall-Miles is a modern day plant hunter’s propagator and gardener. He is personally interested in ancient families of plants and blogs about these on his website He also tweets as @fossilplants.

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One of my favorite plants to grow in my home is the umbrella plant (Schefflera or Heptapleurum). It is a rather large plant that can grow to heights of up to six feet, and the foliage on the plant grows in a unique eight spoke style that looks like an umbrella; hence the name.

Umbrella plants do not bloom, but you can find varieties that feature unique leaf markings. These plants are easy to care for, but caring for the plant incorrectly can be damaging to it. This guide is designed to help you learn how to maintain beautiful, lush umbrella plants that you can be proud of.

How to Plant and Care for Umbrella Plants

With proper care, this plant can easily become one of the tallest plants in your home. It grows extremely fast, so you can have a very tall plant within a single growing season. Let’s take a look at some tips to help you care for your umbrella plant properly.

Watering Umbrella Plants

Umbrella plants grow best in moist soil, so you will need to water it often. Overwatering the plant can cause the leaves of the plant to turn yellow, while under watering it will cause the leaves to droop. The best way to be sure that you are providing the plant with the appropriate amount of water is to wait until the top of the soil is dry before you water the plant again.

Feeding Umbrella Plants

Since these plants grow a lot each season, they need a lot of fuel to be able to sustain the growth. You should feed it every two to three weeks with regular liquid fertilizer. Once the plant reaches the height that you want it to be, you can then stop fertilizing it as often. Fertilizing the plant once or twice a year is adequate.

Light Requirements

Umbrella plants require quite a bit of light, but they should never be positioned in direct sunlight. A few hours a day is possible, but too much direct sunlight will cause the leaves to burn. If the plant seems to be growing more favorably on one side than the other, turn it so that the other side of the plant can get more sunlight. If your umbrella plant receives less than the optimal amount of sunlight, the plant is often accommodating to its living situation. The plant may slow its growth a bit, but it will remain healthy in most situations.

Temperature and Humidity

The temperature of your home is important for Umbrella plants because temperatures that are too cold will cause the leaves to fall off of the plant. For the best foliage growth, keep the temperature between 65 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. The all-green leaf variations typically prefer the cooler end of that range, while the types that have more decorative leaves prefer slightly warmer temperatures.

Umbrella plants do not require a lot of humidity, so typically the humidity level that is already present in your home is acceptable. If the air is excessively dry, then try misting the leaves occasionally to provide a bit of artificial humidity. This is also a great way to assure that dust does not accumulate on the leaves of the plant. In addition, if you are having a pest problem, raising the humidity level could help solve the issue by deterring the bugs.

Pruning, Repotting, and Propagation

Since these plants grow so quickly, it is very possible that you will need to prune the plant in order to keep the plant the shape and size that you desire. Umbrella plants bounce back quickly, so even if you harshly prune away a good bit of the plant, it will grow back fuller that it previously was. This is a great way to get a plant that is sluggish to become more lush and beautiful.

Once an umbrella plant reaches maturity, it will need to be repotted every three years or so. Once the roots start growing through the drainage holes in the pot, it is time to repot. Make sure to use a relatively large pot because the height of this plant can make it top-heavy, and always repot Umbrella plants during the spring of the year.

Propagation can occur by using cuttings from a mature plant. These cuttings should be at least two inches long to help the new growth take root. Make sure that the tip of the plant that is growing is not buried in the soil. These plants can also be grown from seeds if you are having difficulty with the cuttings taking root.

Common Problems That Umbrella Plants Have

Though umbrella plants are easy to grow indoors, they can have some issues that you may need to overcome. The first issue that you need to be aware of, especially if you have pets, is that this plant is slightly toxic to dogs and cats. This means that if they ingest the leaves from the plant, they will most likely become ill. Some of the concerns that will affect the growth of the plant are:

• Fungal Leaf Spots – When a plant has this disease, black or dark brown spots appear on the leaves. Eventually the infected leaves will fall off and the disease will spread. To prevent this from occurring, it is best to remove an infected area before it has the chance to spread.

• Bacterial Leaf Spots – If yellow spots are noticed on the leaves of your plant, then it may have a bacterial disease. This is best taken care of by removing the spotted leaves as soon as they are noticed.

• Root Rot – When an Umbrella plant receives too much water, root rot can occur. Never allow the plant to sit in a pool of water, and if root rot does occur, cut out any infected areas of the roots and repot it with new soil.

• Pests – Spider mites are a common problem with umbrella plants, especially when the air is dry. If you notice webbing on the leaves, wipe them clean and raise the humidity levels of the room to deter the pests from returning.

Umbrella plants are small tree-like plants that can add a lot of atmosphere to your home. They make a great plant for the entryway of your home, and they can be pruned to accommodate the size and shape that you desire. If you are looking for a stunning plant that does not bloom indoors, then the umbrella plant is perfect for your home.


Umbrella Grass (Cyperus Alternifolius / Papyrus)

Umbrella Grass Care Guide


Umbrella Grass can be grown equally well in full sun, bright light, light shade or medium shade. It’s very adaptable and accommodating for the most part. If things are too dark it will tell you by producing very few new shoots or stems.


Can you overwater a Cyperus plant? Not really is the answer. Very simply you must provide a high level of water saturation at all times to keep your Umbrella Grass healthy and lush looking, so do try to keep the drip tray (or whatever the pot is sitting in) topped up at all times. If you choose a drip tray with a tall edge, you’ll be able to reduce the frequency you need to top it up.

Unlike many other houseplants the water requirement isn’t something you can negotiate on as attempting to do so will quickly cause ugly effects with the arrival of brown splotches on the leaves or completely yellow / brown Umbrella Grass stems. The only time you can cut back on the watering is if temperatures go very low, too much water at this point could cause damage through rotting. Additionally do not immerse the entire pot in water at any point for the same reason.


If you’ve followed the above instructions you can ignore humidity requirements as no additional humidity is needed. This is because the constant moisture at the roots will create a mini ecosystem and raise the humidity levels naturally around the plant.


Although it can produce a lot of growth, in comparison to bigger houseplants it will obviously not use as much feed. This means you only need to feed occasionally, perhaps once a month at standard strength when the plant is in active growth.


This is a plant that outdoors is quite hardy and this is mirrored indoors. A temperature range between 10°C / 50°F to 22°C / 72°F will be perfect. Cooler temperatures down to around 4°C / 39°F are accepted for short periods. Be careful if things get too warm as this will cause a rapid drying of the soil resulting in more frequent watering.


You should look to repot the your Cyperus into a bigger pot using a high loam containing potting medium whenever it fills the current container completely and starts to become pot bound and this will usually end up being every year.

Repotting once a year can be quite frequent for a houseplant, however there is a second reason for this and that is because of all the water constantly surrounding the roots and saturating the soil. Over time this will cause the potting medium to disintegrate so regularly repotting will renew what has been lost and provide fresh minerals and nutrients for the plant.


You can propagate Umbrella Grass in a number of ways. This can be from any seeds it produces (simply sow the seeds just under the soil surface, keep the soil wet and seedlings should start to appear in a few weeks), division (with a large sharp knife simply cut the clump into sections which can then be potted up separately to form new plants) or from cuttings. Cuttings are a reliable and efficient way of creating more plants without loosing the bulk of the parent plant by dividing it. There are several ways of doing it but this is our favorite:

1) Remove an entire stem and trim it so its around 10cm / 4in in length. Cut each of the leaflets at the top of the stem by just under half, as shown in the top picture.

2) Put the leaflets into a cup of water (can be tap, bottled or rain water it doesn’t matter). This will mean the stem is upside down and sticking out of the cup. In a few weeks a brand new stem will form from the leaflets that are submerged in the water. This new stem will grow rapidly and once it’s free of the water surface new leaflets will appear along with a set of roots.

3) Once a new stem, or two, along with leaflets have formed and you can see a reasonable amount of root growth you can remove everything from the cup of water. Cut the new growth free from the previous stem and leaflets (which you can then discard) and pot up into a potting compost. Within a few months there will be many more new stems growing and your new Umbrella Grass plant will already be quite a substantial size.

Speed of Growth

Umbrella Grass grows quickly when it’s warm, light and ample water is provided. This is great when you are propagating or if you want something to fill a space quickly. It will slow down or stop growing completely when Winter arrives.

Height / Spread

Depending what species and variety you choose, the end heights and spreads can be quite different, hopefully the plant you buy from a store will have these details with it. However if that’s not the case, C. diffusus can reach 1m / 3ftm where as the more commonly sold C. alternifolius and C. haspan tend to be shorter peaking at around 50cm / 20in. These plants will spread as much as the pot allows so if you have a very wide pot they will gradually move towards the edges.


You can get annual flowers on indoor Umbrella Grass plants, although they contribute very little to the overall appearance. They do indicate you are looking after your plant well though and add a little interest. You can consider taking any seeds that are produced if you want to try and propagate more plants in this way.

Are C. papyrus and C. alternifolius plants Poisonous?

This is a reasonably uncommon houseplant so there isn’t a great deal of information out there. While some pet owners say they’ve noticed their cats or dogs nibbling the leaves with no ill effects, it’s still listed as slightly toxic by recognised experts. This means that ingestion of these plants may cause minor illnesses such as vomiting or diarrhea.

Anything else?

Two small things worth mentioning. Firstly the very tall varieties can become a little top heavy and floppy, so will benefit from some structure support. This is normally something like a wire ring or wire mesh around the plant towards its base, which stops it bending over and keeps its upright without looking too much of an eyesore at the same time.

Secondly, very wet soil can encourage fungus or a stale stagnant smell, if you have this problem try adding small amounts of charcoal to the potting medium which should lessen odours caused by the souring compost.

Umbrella Grass Problems

Brown stems / Brown leaf tips / Yellowing leaves

While Umbrella Grass is quite adaptable to the various levels of care you might provide, it’s not at all forgiving if you don’t water it enough. Let the soil dry out only a little bit and it starts to get annoyed. If this is in any way prolonged you will get parts rapidly dying off. You must make sure the plant container is saturated or at the very least “moist” at all times.

Little / no growth

These plants are always growing in the warmer months of the year, so if they stop then something is certainty wrong. The most likely culprits are too little light or the temperature is too cold, it may also be time to repot your plant into a bigger container.


Many pests avoid highly humid areas so when things do go wrong your normal problems are usually rotting or disease. However if things with your plant don’t seem right do check for pests such as Mealy Bugs and Green / Black Fly.

White mold on the soil surface / Sour smell

All that water just sitting around when mixed with dank conditions and low ventilation can cause issues with the soil in which your Umbrella Grass is growing, such as rotten potting medium and white mold. Although it’s fairly easy to sort out, to prevent it happening move your plant to a brighter spot and provide adequate ventilation.

I’ve cut the brown tips off but they keep coming back

Weirdly if you cut the brown tips off completely, and cut slightly into the green growth below the edges become brown again! View it like the plant version of a scab, if you make the ends raw it protects itself by creating a brown protective edge. It’s best therefore when you nip off any brown tips that you do so very carefully to leave just a small line of brown and don’t cut into the green.

About the Author

Tom Knight

Over the last 20 years Tom has successfully owned hundreds of houseplants and is always happy to share knowledge and lend his horticulture skills to those in need. He is the main content writer for the Ourhouseplants Team.

Also on

(Article / Gallery) Cyperus Haspan – Robin Berthier
(Article / Gallery) Photo credit Cyperus picture with wire support – HorsePunchKid
(Article / Gallery) Propagation Photos – LucaLuca
(Gallery) Cyperus flowers – Dbxsoul

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Cyperus alternifolius

Umbrella plant is a close cousin of the papyrus plant of ancient Egypt. All the leaves are arranged a top triangular stems they are narrow and flattened and only 6 to 10 inches long (15-25 cm). They are symmetrically arranged around the stem in a disk, resembling the petals on a daisy. Small greenish flowers grow at the center of the disk. As the small fruits form they change to golden and then dark brown.

The plant will be smaller and less invasive when grown in drier or less fertile soils.

It can be easily grown in good garden soil.

The light could be sun or shade. In bright sun, clumps will be compact and the stems closely packed. Under shady conditions clumps will grow higher and be composed of fewer stems giving a more graceful aspect.

Umbrella plant is happy growing in shallow water but can also handle drier situations.

An easy way to get more plants is to simply place an “umbrella” in soil. New plants will begin to grow from it within a few weeks.

Umbrella plant is an interesting and beautiful plant which is easy to grow under wet or dry conditions. Umbrella plant is inexpensive, easy to find, and easy to propagate. It is much appreciated by water gardeners.

Cyperus Umbrella Houseplants: Growing Information And Care For An Umbrella Plant

Cyperus (Cyperus alternifolius) is the plant to grow if you never quite get it right when you water your plants, as it requires a constant moisture at the roots and cannot be over watered. The tall stems have umbrellas of radiating bracts that look like leaves (the true leaves clasp the stem so closely you can hardly see them), giving the plant an oriental appearance.

Cyperus Umbrella Plants

The umbrella plant is a sedge and a member of the ancient Papyrus family. Cyperus umbrella plants are in a family of over 600 grass-like plants, most of which are native to the east coast of Africa and tropical zones. As such, the plant is not hardy and can only tolerate outdoor living in the tropical to sub-tropical zones of the United States. Umbrella houseplants will need moist, warm conditions such as those around an indoor pond.

Umbrella plants are native to the swamps of Madagascar. The riparian plants thrive in boggy conditions or even with roots fully submerged in water. The name for this plant comes from the arrangement of the leaves at the ends of the stems. The slender, rigid,

serrated leaves are arranged in a ray around a central core, much like the spikes of an umbrella.

In ideal conditions, this central area produces a tiny cluster of florets. There is no special umbrella plant care necessary for outdoor plants. As long as the plant is moist and warm in slightly acidic soil, it will thrive. Prune off dead stems as necessary and fertilize annually with a diluted liquid plant food.

Growing Cyperus Houseplants

Cyperus umbrella plants are best suited to a moist, warm outdoor environment, but are adaptable to the home. If you are a gardener in zones below USDA hardiness zone 8, you can grow this fascinating plant inside. They can grow up to 4 feet tall outside, but umbrella houseplants generally are half that size.

Because this plant is an aquatic species, it needs to have the roots as wet as possible. In fact, leaf tips become brown if the roots become even slightly dry. One way to achieve this is to put the potted plant inside another pot with water at the root level. Use a planting mix rich in peat to provide an acidic medium. A mix comprised of two parts peat, one part loam and one part sand provides a perfect housing for the aquatic roots. You can put small plants in a terrarium.

Umbrella Plant Care

Care for an umbrella plant indoors follows that of outdoor plants but is also similar to any tropical houseplant. The main concern about Cyperus houseplants is the moisture level and consistency. The umbrella houseplants must never be allowed to dry out.

Apply a half dilution of fertilizer once per month during the growing season and suspend in winter. Watch for splashing on the leaves, as fungal diseases can spread in this manner.

Propagating this plant is easy. Just take a 4- to 6-inch cutting and suspend it upside down in water. Roots will emerge and you can place the new plant in soil.

Divide your houseplant every three years. Remove the plant from the pot and cut out the outside growth. Save and pot up this newer growth and discard the old central older plant.

How to Grow and Propagate Papyrus (Umbrella Plant) Indoors

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It grows in water or soil, indoors or out. The Papyrus (Cyperus) is a versatile plant that is easy to grow and fun to propagate.

The Papyrus has long leafless stems topped by a cluster of fine leafy bracts that resemble an umbrella. Heights vary from 18 inches to 4 feet or more.

Grow papyrus indoors in a bright location and a container filled with a quality potting mix. Keep the soil moist or set the pot in a shallow dish filled with water.

Start new plants from the tip of the stem. Cut off the top few inches of the stem and place it upside down in a glass of water or well drained potting mix. The leafy stem tip will be in the water or potting mix while the leafless stem points upward toward the ceiling.

Roots and new shoots will form over the next few weeks. Soon you will have a new plant to share or add to your indoor garden.

A bit more information: There are over 500 related species and most of the Papyrus (Cyperus) plants are native to marshes, ponds and streams. The paper plant is Cyperus papyrus. The stems of this papyrus were and are still used to make paper in the Middle East.

The plant is native to Madagascar, the Arabian Peninsula, and many East African states (Ethiopia, Eritrea, Malawi, Mozambique, Sudan, Somalia, South Africa, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zimbabwe).

But, it has also been naturalized in many tropical and sub-tropical regions of the world, such as the southern USA, New Zealand, many Pacific Islands, and many parts of Australia.

You may hear it called by its common names including:

  • Umbrella Plant
  • Umbrella Palm
  • Umbrella Sedge
  • Umbrella Papyrus
  • Umbrella Grass

Cyperus Alternifolius Care

Size & Growth

C. alternifolius is a semi-aquatic (like variegated Acorus gramineus), perennial, grass-like plant hardy to USDA zones 9-12.

It typically grows to 18” – 48” inches in height; however, occasionally, it can grow up to 5’ feet.

The plant features multiple upright stems long, rigid, and slender and topped with large leafy bracts.

The green-colored leafy bracts grow into a circle looking like an umbrella.

This is why the plant is commonly referred to as an umbrella papyrus plant.

The leafy bracts are often confused for leaves, but the true leaves of the plant are located on the lower side and cover the bases of the stems.

The leaves of the umbrella papyrus plant are also reduced to long sheaths.

Flowering and Fragrance

Cyperus plants produce unattractive, flattened and elongated flower spikelets in summers.

Bloom Time: July to August.

The flowers grow in dense clusters at the tip of the stems, between the leafy bracts.

They are initially green but turn brown when they get mature.

Light & Temperature

The umbrella plant prefers a warm, humid environment and grows best in part shade.

While it can grow in full sun, the harsh sun rays can cause scorching of the leaves.

The plant cannot survive cold weather; the roots cannot tolerate temperatures lower than 15° degrees Fahrenheit (-9° C), and leafy bracts will turn brown if exposed to frost.

United States hardiness zone 8 – 11 (USDA Zone).

Watering and Feeding

Since cyperus papyrus is a semi-aquatic plant, it requires an adequate amount of water for proper growth.

This is why it is often grown as a pond plant.

Even in its natural habitat, the plant is usually seen growing at damp sites, near waterways.

When grown as a houseplant, the best way to ensure the plants’ water requirements is to place the pot in a plate or bowl filled with water.

The plant doesn’t mind getting a bit submerged in water.

Fertilize the plant once a month, during active growth.

Soil & Transplanting

While Cyperus involucratus is easily grown in the regular potting soil, it thrives in rich peaty soil containing 2 parts moss to 1 part sand to 1 part loam and is wet and boggy.

5.5 to 6.5 is the preferred soil pH range of the umbrella plant.

Since this cyperus plant cannot tolerate cold weather, it should be transferred to pot before the first frost in fall and kept indoors during the winters.

When grown in pots, the plant may need to be repotted to larger pots once a year.

Grows well in both standing water (up to 4” inches) and in bog plant soils.

Grooming and Maintenance

Cyperus alternifolius is an easy-to-grow and low maintenance plant.

The plant grows long roots, and when it is planted in pots, the roots often grow out of them and invade the bowl or the plate below it.

Many gardeners choose to cut the roots to limit them to a particular area.

One thing to note here is the umbrella plant can even tolerate severe cutting of roots, and it will not cause any harm to the plant.

It also needs some pruning to remove the dying leaves and stems as they look unattractive.

How to Propagate Umbrella Plant

Propagation of an umbrella plant is done in a number of ways – through seeds, division, and cuttings.

If propagating through seeds, simply sow them in wet soil.

Make sure to water regularly, and the seedlings will start to appear within a few weeks.

Another method to propagate the cyperus alternifolius plant is to cut the clumps into sections using a sharp knife and plant them separately.

Propagation through cuttings is considered the most efficient and reliable method, and there are several methods of doing it.

The simplest way is to remove a whole stem of the plant and cut it, using a pair of sharp scissors, to around 4” inches in length.

Now, cut the leaflets to about half and place the cutting, upside down, in small jars filled with water.

The submerged leaflets will form a new stem within a few weeks.

As the new plant stem grows out of the water surface, it will develop roots as well as new leaflets.

When the new growth stem has developed a reasonable set of roots, take the cutting out of the water and remove the newly formed stem from the old one and plant it into a pot filled with potting compost.

Make sure to water the newly potted plant regularly, and it will grow to a substantial size within a few months.

The plant also spreads through self-seeding under optimum growing conditions.

If things are too dark it will tell you by producing very few new shoots.

Cyperus Umbrella Pest or Diseases

The greatest concern for the umbrella papyrus is spider mite.

However, they are easily controlled by spraying the plant with neem oil insecticide.

Umbrella Sedge Uses

Cyperus alternifolius is one of the most widely cultivated landscape plants grown as a background plant, accent plant, or incorporated into a water feature.

This garden plant loves moist soil works great in water gardens with partial shade.

It’s suggested to use it as a water plant.

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Cyperus alternifolius, better known as the Umbrella Plant is a very popular house plant and commonly grown as a marginal pond plant.
Growing to a height of 60cm (24in), the bracts are symmetrically arranged in an umbrella formation and held atop elegant stems that sway with the breeze, giving a tropical touch to the garden.
This lovely and versatile plant is easily grown and makes an excellent ornamental waterside or marginal plant for water gardens.
As an indoor pot plant they are useful for homes and conservatory, or as interior plant for commercial offices, hotels and malls, ideally in containers stood in water. Its fascinating shape makes it a great plant for landscaping, and as an accent plant or informal screen.
As a background plant, it combines well with other foliage plants or flowering plants in garden beds or borders, it can be used an accent plant for added interest and height.
It is impossible to over water the Umbrella Plant as it enjoys damp and boggy conditions, so is ideal for beginners or for any seasoned gardeners remotely interested in water gardens. It can be grown in shallow water of small fish ponds as a water filtration marginal plant.
It makes an excellent tropical water garden centre piece, and can be grown in the pool as an aquatic plant, or around them in the ground as a waterside or bog garden plant.
The tall bracts are also excellent when used in fresh or dried floral arrangements.

Sow on to the surface of moistened seed-sowing compost and cover with the lightest sprinkling of sieved soil.
The seeds need darkness to germinate. Cover the seeds and keep them moist.
Germination should take place in approximately 10 to 12 days at 20 to 24°C (68 to 75°F). Maintain this temperature until the seedlings are established.
Once seedlings are large enough to handle, approx eight weeks after sowing transplant a small clump of seedlings, around 4 to 6 plants into a 8 to 10 cm pot (3 to 4in) after a further eight weeks transplant into bigger pot, 12 to 13 cm (5 to 6in) to grow on. They will form a bushy plant and be ready to go into the garden in summer. Grow on at 14 to 25°C (57 to 77°F).

Don’t let the soil dry out otherwise the plants will react immediately with brown leaf tops.
In the pond the plants grow best when half submerged up to 10cm (4in) on the margins of the pond. Ideally the pots should not be flooded with water. Moderate fertilisation levels are required, but avoid high nitrogen levels.
Divide established clumps to thin and propagate. Over winter these tender plants at around 12 to 15°C (53 to 59F).

Plant Uses:
House Plants, Beds and borders, Containers, Pools and ponds, Flower arrangements.

Cyperus alternifolius is a native to the islands of Madagascar, Réunion and Mauritius. Its cousin is C. papyrus which is native to Africa and the areas around the Nile River, was used in ancient Egypt for paper. It has a proud history serving the needs of mankind. A good majority of all human knowledge has been recorded on paper made from the cultivars of Cyperus Papyrus.

Plant Uses:
The genus name Cyperus is taken from a Greek word meaning ‘sedge’
The species name alternifolius means ‘alternate-leaved’.
The sub species name flabelliformis means ‘shaped like a small fan’.
Cyperus alternifolius ssp. flabelliformis is also known as Cyperus flabelliformis.
There are many common names for this plant, including Umbrella Papyrus, Umbrella Grass, Umbrella Palm, Umbrella Sedge, Umbrella Flatsedge, Umbrella Papyrus, Dwarf Papyrus Grass, Galingale, Baby Tut.
Cyperus alternifolius is one of the approximately 600 species of the genus Cyperus of the sedge family, Cyperaceae. The water plants that make up the Cyperus genus are predominantly tropical.

Cyperus – Umbrella Grass

Cyperus – Umbrella Grass 13°C (55 deg F). Africa.

No indoor plant is easier to grow than the Umbrella Plant. A good specimen of the variety C. alternifolius resembles a graceful group of miniature palm trees and looks elegant on its own or grouped with other plants.

C. diffusus is lower growing and has broader leaves. It is less delicate in looks than C. alternifolius but it, too, is an attractive, useful and tolerant plant.


Growing season Anywhere between

Minimum winter 10-25 °C (50-77 °F)

Soil: A soil-less compost, though most open-textured soils will suit it.

Where to position: It will thrive in light or shady conditions. It is tough and not sensitive to draughts or temperature changes.

Watering requirements: Water copiously. Keep soil almost wet. Leave water in the plant saucer. It is a relative of the Egyptian Papyrus – a swamp plant. Very few plants like their roots permanently in water – this one does.

General care: Feed it fortnightly with weak liquid fertilizer. Re-pot if necessary because of fast growth. The plant may be divided if it gets too big.

Rest: No special routine. Growth merely slows in winter.

When it looks sick:

The plant looks tired or the leaf tips go brown : Water copiously. You cannot over-water this plant.

Leaves become unsightly or cause the plant to have a bad shape : Clip off the offending leaves near the crown of the plant. They will be replaced quickly.

Never allow plants to remain wet in their pots for long periods, is almost standard advice when the experienced plants-man is asked for his, or her, advice on watering. However, there are a few exceptions to this rule, and the moisture-loving, rush-like cyperus is one of them. The loam mixture must be kept permanently wet, and it is usually advisable to allow the plant pot actually to stand in water (for most pot plants this would almost certainly mean a quick death).

Lack of moisture will make the tips of the leaves turn brown, or become infested with red spider mite. Use a good potting compost, and feed during the summer.

Cyperus develop grass-like growth at the top of slender stems which give an umbrella appearance, hence the common name. Stalks of

C. dijjfusus are about 60 cm (2 ft) tall and more numerous than those of C. alternyblius which attain a height of l·8- 2·4m (6-8 ft) even when roots are confined to pots.

Dividing mature clumps is the best method of propagation.

Umbrella Plant Seeds – Cyperus Alternifolius Palm Flower Seed

Flower Specifications

Season: Perennial

USDA Zones: 8 – 10

Height: 30 – 40 inches

Bloom Season: None

Bloom Color: Inconspicuous

Environment: Full sun to partial shade

Soil Type: Wet, pH 5.0 – 6.0

Planting Directions

Temperature: 68 – 72F

Average Germ Time: 12 – 15 days

Light Required: No. Needs darkness to germinate.

Depth: Lightly cover the seeds and keep them moist. Avoid dry substrates.

Sowing Rate: 6 – 8 seeds per plant

Moisture: Keep seeds moist until germination

Plant Spacing: 12 inches

Care & Maintenance: Umbrella Plant

Umbrella Plant (Cyperus Alternifolius) – Grow this unique, tropical plant from Umbrella Plant seeds! Also called the Umbrella Palm or Umbrella Grass Plant, this unusual perennial prefers to be kept wet at all times. In fact, it can grow very well submerged in water. Flower spikes and slim leaves form “umbrellas” on top of dark green stems. The best flowering and growth results appear in full sun, but Umbrella Plants can tolerate some shade. Brown leaf tips will form on the Umbrella Palm tree if it is allowed to dry out. Tidy the plant by removing broken or dead stems.

Cyperus Alternifolius Umrella Plant does best in a tropical environment, but it quickly adapts to the home. You cannot over water this plant! It will thrive when its roots are kept continuously wet. To ensure that the plant does not dry out, it is best to put the pot inside a second larger pot that has water in it, or grow Umbrella Plant in an aquarium or swamp type environment. Umbrella Grass Plant is well-suited as an ornamental water plant.

How To Grow Umbrella Plant: Sow Umbrella Plant seeds indoors. Pre-moisten peaty starter mix. Sow the Umbrella Palm seed on the surface, lightly cover. Keep the flower seeds continuously moist until germination. Keep the flower seed shielded from direct sunlight. Umbrella Plant will readily self-sow.

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