The subtropical ornamental grass is extremely versatile and decorative. Whether as an eye-catcher for the garden pond or as a privacy screen for the terrace – the cyprus grass cuts a graceful figure almost everywhere in the home garden. Due to the umbrellas made of pointed leaves that sit on the long stalks, the plants have also been given nicknames such as “umbrella plant” and “water palm”.

The ideal location

The swamp plants from Mauritius, East Africa and Madagascar are relatively easy to care for. All Cyprus grass species, of which over 600 are known worldwide, need a warm, sunny location. The exotic plants thrive best at temperatures between 15 – 30 ° C, but the high humidity also plays an important role. In order not to inhibit the growth of the Cyprus grass, shade beds or a place that is too dark on the window sill at home must be avoided. The plant with the reed-like clusters of leaves should get at least a few hours of sunshine a day.

Cyperus is extremely versatile: The ornamental grass is suitable as a greening for garden ponds, as a decorative privacy screen for balconies or the terrace and the decorative grass is also satisfied with a sunny window sill. It is also an absolute eye-catcher in the home aquarium. Sedge does not necessarily have to be planted in or near the water, because a clay pot is sufficient for the robust and easy-care plant. Of course, only if the high moisture requirement is met by a saucer filled with water.

Windy locations do not disturb the yielding water palms in any way. Only the planter needs to be stable – if necessary, weigh down the bottom of the container with stones from the inside.

Tip: If the room air is too dry, a strong, healthy Cyprus grass can be used as a natural humidifier. If the plant itself has sufficient water resources of its own, it can release up to 2 liters of moisture per day to its surroundings.

The right substrate for Zypergrass

  • Soil rich in humus is completely sufficient for Cyprus grass as a substrate.
  • To keep the moisture in it longer, add a small amount of clay.
  • Drainage is not required – waterlogging is even desirable for this plant.
  • No special substrate is required for cultivation in a water basin.
  • Coarse gravel has proven its worth for a better hold of the roots at the bottom of the pond or aquarium.

Watering and fertilizing

Wet feet? As a tropical aquatic plant, the Cyprus grass cannot be humid enough. However, nothing stands in the way of cultivation in a clay pot – provided it is adequately supplied with water.

  • Water palms need a constantly moist root ball
  • A planter or saucer filled with water provides the plant substrate with permanent moisture.
  • Waterlogging is essential for this plant and must therefore always be present.
  • The water supply must be continuous and sufficient even in the cold season.
  • Use only water with little lime.
Note: A healthy Cyperus with a height of 1 meter needs around 4 liters of water per day in midsummer.

When it comes to fertilizing, the marsh plants are extremely modest. For this reason, it is sufficient if potted plants are given a small dose of liquid fertilizer about every 4 weeks during the main growing season.

  • For an even distribution in the plant substrate, apply the fertilizer via the irrigation water.
  • An additional supply of nutrients is not required in the cold winter months.
  • Special fertilizers for aquarium plants promote the growth of the plant and are administered sparingly throughout the year.
Note: Yellow discoloration on leaves and shoots are the first visible signs of a lack of water.


In addition to a constantly moist root ball, the delicate ornamental grasses require a humidity of around 60%. The following tips can contribute to the well-being of the plant:

  • Set up water containers for evaporation in rooms with insufficient humidity.
  • Small indoor fountains and aquariums that are operated in close proximity to plants have also proven their worth.
  • In outdoor cultivation, spray the entire plant regularly with warm, low-lime water.
  • Avoid direct contact with heating in winter.


Cold is a circumstance with which the tropical plants absolutely do not know what to do. Temperatures below 10 ° C can cause damage, which is why cultivation in the open can only take place in the warm summer months. The ornamental grasses have to vacate their place outdoors at the end of August to mid-September. This also applies to sedge grass in the bed or in the garden pond. Every measure taken, however carefully, to protect the cold-sensitive Cyperus in the garden during the cold season, fails. For the winter quarters, the plant needs a bright room with a temperature between 15 ° C – 18 ° C.

In winter quarters, it is essential to protect the ornamental grass from heating air that is too dry, here too a humidity of at least 60% is ideal. This can be done, for example, in the form of water containers set up in the room or by daily spraying with a water atomizer. Even in the cold season, the Cyprus grass needs a well-soaked plant substrate and a bright location.


The propagation of all Cyperus varieties can easily take place in three different ways:

Head cuttings
For this type of propagation, 5 – 25 cm long shoots of the water palm are cut off. The term “head cuttings” is no coincidence, because the fine roots sprout from the leaf wreath of the plant. For this purpose, the shoot is either placed upside down in a container with low-lime water or directly in a container with a humus-rich plant substrate.

The seeds of the ornamental grass are only a few centimeters away from the stem, at the end of the flowering shoots, and are fine as dust. The sowing of the decorative marsh grass takes place all year round in conventional potting soil. The substrate may only cover the dust-fine seeds minimally, after about 10 – 30 days the first fine shoots will appear.

Root division
This is probably the simplest form of propagation. The dense root ball of the plant is carefully divided into equal parts with an ax and immediately replanted in a water basin or moist plant substrate.
High temperatures and a humidity of over 60% accelerate the root formation and acclimatization of the Cyprus grass.

To cut

Under optimal care conditions, the fast-growing plant is able to reach a height of up to 2.50 meters within a year. Understandably, if shortly before moving to winter quarters for Cyprus grasses of this size, a generous pruning of the shoots is the order of the day.

  • If necessary, the height of the Zypergras can be trimmed – 1 meter and more are quite possible.
  • House plants rarely have to be pruned.
  • Remove wilted or brown shoots with sharp scissors.
  • Cut off shoots are suitable for a propagation of the decorative ornamental grass.

Specially grown dwarf cyprus grass varieties only reach a height of up to 40 centimeters – an ideal size for the windowsill.

Care and use tips for the umbrella palm

Cyprus grass sets decorative accents and very little knowledge is required for its successful cultivation in the garden or house:

  • Brown tips or discoloration on the umbrella-like leaves indicate that the humidity is too low. Spray the ornamental grass regularly with water and set up water-filled containers in the room.
  • Even brown or broken stalks are suitable as head cuttings
  • Cats are almost magically attracted to Cyprus grass. Offer alternatives or provide the animal with its own plant.
  • Tied together decoratively or as a natural privacy screen on the terrace: the marsh grass can be used in many ways and is perennial.
  • The dust-fine seeds can be harvested immediately after flowering in September.

Recognize and correct maintenance errors

If the plant does not grow:

  • Use lime-free water – stale rainwater is ideal for the ornamental grass.
  • Choose a lighter location and increase the humidity.
  • Temperatures below 10 ° C can also inhibit growth – move the Cyprus grass to a warmer place immediately.
  • The roots of some Cyperus species must not be completely under water – lower the water level.
  • Remove dead stalks immediately. Because this stimulates the plant to sprout again.

Brown leaves and dry tips:

  • The sedge needs a lot of moisture and reacts to dry ambient air and substrate with discoloration.
  • Immediately increase the humidity – spray the plant with a water atomizer.
  • Water the soil sufficiently or cause waterlogging in the saucer.
  • Young plants get used to the sun’s UV rays slowly in the open air. Otherwise the sensitive leaves will “burn” in direct sunlight.

Leaves and stalks take on a yellowish discoloration:

  • The plant is receiving too much nutrients – stop fertilizing immediately and plant the cyprus grass in fresh substrate.
  • With ornamental grass in aqua culture, change the water completely immediately and reduce the amount of fertilizer in the future.

Diseases and pests

Cyprus grasses are extremely resistant to conventional fungal diseases. Damaged insects, on the other hand, are much more common on the delicate marsh grasses.

Spider mites
It almost seems like no plant is safe from these pests. The small insects with the 8 legs prefer to sit on the underside of the leaves to suck up their valuable cell sap. In the case of the sedge, however, the pests, which are only a few millimeters in size, can also be found on the stalks and leaf axes. The first signs of spider mite infestation are discoloration of the leaves and the drying up of their tips. The fine webs of the spider mites are clearly visible with a water atomizer. Immediate treatment measures against the insects are necessary, as they not only damage the host plant, but can also migrate to neighboring plants. Special insecticides have proven just as effective as natural predators.

Also known as bladder feet or fringed wings. These often wingless insects spend their entire life cycle on their host plants and feed on them. Cyprus grasses infected by thrips show the same symptoms as an infestation by spider mites, but their fine webs are missing here. The plant must be isolated and hosed down with soapy water. The use of chemical agents is controversial because some species of fringed winged birds develop resistance to them.

Tip: High humidity and warmth prevent thrips and spider mites from being attacked.

Sciarid gnats
Due to the deliberate waterlogging, sciarid gnats are often found on the water palms. The black insects, which look like small fruit flies, lay their eggs in the moist plant substrate. It is the larvae of the sciarid gnats themselves that view the tender roots of the host plant as their source of food and can thus cause considerable damage to young plants in particular. “Yellow panels” have proven to be effective in combating this, as their color attracts mosquitoes, which stick to the sticky surface. In addition, a layer of quartz sand about 2 centimeters thick on the surface of the earth prevents the sciarid gnats from laying eggs.

Zypergras impresses with its decorative shape and can be cultivated in conventional potting soil and in a water basin. Due to the high water requirement, the tropical marsh grass can only be described as easy to care for to a limited extent. However, if the needs of the water palm are met, it will delight its owner with its enormous joy of growth.

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