Alphabetical Plant Listing

Cyperus involucratus (Umbrella Plant)

Umbrella Plant, Umbrella Sedge, Dwarf Papyrus Grass, Cyperus alternifolius subsp. flabelliformis, Cyperus flabelliformis, Cyperus involucratus 'Flabelliformis'


Prized for its easy nature and relaxed habit, Cyperus involucratus (Umbrella Plant) is a tender aquatic perennial forming a clump of erect, triangular stems that sprout from woody rhizomes. Atop the stem rests a whorl of dark green, radiating grassy leafy bracts, up to 12 in. long (30 cm), which form a showy umbrella shape. Greenish-brown flower spikelets appear from summer to fall and eventually produce small dark brown nut-like fruits. This architectural plant retains its green color all year long in warm climates. Adding an exotic and tropical feel, it is a bold and dramatic addition to the water garden and creates a lovely background for other pond plants. While Umbrella plants are perennials in warm climates, many gardeners use them as if they were annuals in colder climates. This native of Madagascar will tolerate light frosts but not prolonged cold weather. Plants in Zones 8-9 will die back with frost, but may survive the winter and put out new foliage in spring if the roots remain unfrozen.

  • Recipient of the prestigious Award of Garden Merit of the Royal Horticultural Society.
  • Grows up to 3-6 ft. tall (90-180 cm) and 2-3 ft. wide (60-90 cm). Will grow up to 6 ft. tall in frost free areas, but a modest 2-3 ft. where not winter hardy.
  • Performs best in full sun or partial shade in wet soils. While it thrives in consistently moist garden soil, it can also be planted in standing water to 6 in. deep (15 cm).
  • This architectural grass is highly versatile. It may be grown at the edge of a pond or water garden, in boggy areas, in shallow water and in containers.
  • Virtually disease and pest free
  • Needs little care other than regular feeding during the spring and summer. Will require division every few years.
  • Cut back dead stems in fall.
  • Propagate by seed at 55-65°F (13-18°C) in spring in constantly moist seed compost.
  • Native to Tropical Africa. In frost-free climates, Umbrella Plant is weedy bordering on invasive. It can spread aggressively by self-seeding and rhizomes. Planting in containers helps prevent some unwanted spread.

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Requirements

Hardiness 9 – 12
Heat Zones 10 – 11
Climate Zones 8, 9, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, H1, H2
Plant Type Ornamental Grasses, Perennials
Plant Family Cyperus
Exposure Full Sun, Partial Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Early,Mid,Late)
Summer (Early,Mid,Late)
Fall
Winter
Height 3' – 6' (90cm – 180cm)
Spread 2' – 3' (60cm – 90cm)
Spacing 24" – 36" (60cm – 90cm)
Water Needs High
Maintenance Low
Soil Type Chalk, Clay, Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Poorly Drained
Characteristics Plant of Merit, Showy, Evergreen
Tolerance Wet Soil
Garden Uses Patio and Containers, Ponds and Streams
Garden Styles Mediterranean Garden

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By Christopher PB, Nikolay Kurzenko, Shutterstock

While every effort has been made to describe these plants accurately, please keep in mind that height, bloom time, and color may differ in various climates. The description of these plants has been written based on numerous outside resources.


Requirements

Hardiness 9 – 12
Heat Zones 10 – 11
Climate Zones 8, 9, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, H1, H2
Plant Type Ornamental Grasses, Perennials
Plant Family Cyperus
Exposure Full Sun, Partial Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Early,Mid,Late)
Summer (Early,Mid,Late)
Fall
Winter
Height 3' – 6' (90cm – 180cm)
Spread 2' – 3' (60cm – 90cm)
Spacing 24" – 36" (60cm – 90cm)
Water Needs High
Maintenance Low
Soil Type Chalk, Clay, Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Poorly Drained
Characteristics Plant of Merit, Showy, Evergreen
Tolerance Wet Soil
Garden Uses Patio and Containers, Ponds and Streams
Garden Styles Mediterranean Garden

Great Plant Combination Ideas with Cyperus

Guides with Cyperus

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