Houseplant Wiki
Cyperus alternifolius
Cyperus alternifolius.jpg
Group: Angiosperms
Order: Poales
Family: Cyperaceae
Genus: Cyperus
Species: C. alternifolius
Propagation: From seeds or by dividing
Germination time: 4-6 weeks
Adult size: 60-120 cm (2-4 ft)
Lighting: Full to medium
Watering: Soil must be kept wet at all times.
Fertilization: Monthly during active growth
Soil: Any houseplant soil
Air moisture: Humid
Other information
Toxicity: None

Cyperus alternifolius (common names: Umbrella papyrus or Umbrella palm) is a grass-like plant, native to Madagascar.


This semi-aquatic grass-like plant will grow long and slender green stems, at the end of which grows a circle of green bracts. The plant abundantly divides itself at its base, producing lots of new stems.


Like every other papyrus, C. alternifolius requires to be kept in wet, if not damp, soil at all times. The easy way to do achieve so is to put the pot in a plate filled with water; lazier gardeners will simply leave the pot in a bowl large enough to contain it that is then filled with water. The plant can be submerged this way and will not mind having a couple of centimeters of its stem underwater.

The plant readily grows long roots that will soon invade the plate or the bowl in which the pot lies. severely cutting them will not harm the plant.



They prefer to lie in the darkness.


C. alternifolius can be propagated by sowing seeds in very wet soil; it is also easy to divide the plant at its base.

The leafy top with stem still attached can be placed in moist soil covered by light mulch. New growth can occur in one week. The leafy top without attached stem can be rooted in water or moist soil. Leaving stem attached promotes faster new growth.

Pests and diseases[]

Dry air will have the tip of the bracts turn brown. Spider mites and thrips may affect the plant.


Cyperus can be re-potted at all time during the year.




Cyperus alternifolius flowering.

C. alternifolius will grow unattractive brown flowers at the tip of its stem, between the bracts.

List of cultivars[]

External links and references[]