The Cyperus forms umbrella-like rosettes of leaves arching out from the top of a rigid, slender stem. In its natural environment the plant grows in marshes, so when cultivated indoors it must be stood in a saucer of water. If it is not kept constantly moist it will quickly die. After a while, the Cyperus can appear rather leggy and the top-heavy fronds can easily fall over, so support the foliage with stakes and ties. The more compact C. a. ‘Gracilis’ is probably better as a houseplant, as the taller variety requires considerably more space. ‘Variegatus’ is a little more colourful due to the variegated bracts.

Plant type : Ornamental foliage grass with palm¬like fronds on erect stems
Season of interest : All year round
Size : 30-120cm (12—48in)
Flower : Insignificant, infrequent, grass-like, buff, produced in spring/summer
Leaf : Thin green bracts, 10-30cm (4-12in), in clusters around erect stem
Temperature : 15-20°C (60-68°F)
Aspect/Light : Well-lit situation
Humidity : Moderate to high
Watering : Keep compost constantly moist throughout year; prefers to stand in water
Feeding : Once a month with houseplant fertilizer in spring and summer
Propagation : Separate clump and pot into usual compost; place head with bracts cut back by about a third to a half in water or seed and cutting compost in spring or early summer at 20-22°C (68—72°F)
Potting : Houseplant potting compost
Problems : No real problems, unless plant is allowed to dry out
Availability : Occasionally available, but not a very popular houseplant
Uses indoors : Close to window; effective standing in an indoor pond
Other varieties : C. a. 'Gracilis' - more compact, growing up to 60cm (24in), C. a. 'Variegatus' - variegated bracts