Cyperus alternifolius is a native of the swamps of Madagascar. It is a relative of papyrus of the Nile river. The plant can grow to 3-5 feet if given plenty of water.
Blooming Time: Summer The flowers are a brownish spadix produced in the center of the leaves.
Culture: Cyperus alternifolius does best in a tropical environment, but quickly adapts to the home. Give the plant lots of water. Never let this plant dry out. The wetter the roots are, the more it thrives. It is best to put the pot inside another pot with water or grow it in an aquarium. Fertilize the plant monthly during the growing season with a balanced fertilizer diluted to ½ the strength recommended on the label. A rich peaty soil is best (2 parts peat moss to 1 part loam to 1 part sand).
Propagation: Cyperus alternifolius are propagated by cuttings or division. Take cuttings from the top 4-6 inches of the plant. Place them upside down in water and when new plants emerge, repot in soil. When dividing the plant, it is best to keep the younger growth from the outside edges of the pot and discard the old growth in the center of the pot.
Cyperus alternifolius was featured as Plant of the Week November 5-11, 1999.
Guide to Past Plants-of-the-Week:
Cal's Plant of the Week was provided as a service by the University of Oklahoma Department of Microbiology & Plant Biology and specifically the late Cal Lemke, who used to be OU's botany greenhouse grower and an avid gardener at home as well. If the above links don't work, then try the overview site. You may also like to look at the thumbnail index. ©1998-2012 All rights reserved.