Over wintering Papyrus

Summerville, SC(Zone 8a)

I have a small pot of papyrus that I'm not sure what to do with it this winter. I did a little research and got conflicting information. Some said to bring it indoors and keep it by a sunny window and others said to let it die back naturally, go dormant then bring the pot in, keep the soil it's in barely moist and put it in a cool dark place. My preference would be to let it go dormant but I do have a place by a window I could keep it. The only problem would be my grazing kitties.

Any advice would be most welcome!


This message was edited Oct 15, 2011 10:37 AM

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Lee's Summit, MO(Zone 6a)

Anne, I live in Florida, zone 8b - I cut mine back after they brown from frost and they come back the next spring - if I were you, I'd cut them to about 6" from the ground, mulch them well and leave them to Mother Nature. If you should happen to lose yours, I can get it replaced for you. Let us know how it does if you decide to leave it outside.

Summerville, SC(Zone 8a)

Thanks Kay, I'll do that .. it's in a pot within a pot in which I keep the water level about half way up the pot with the papyrus in it which is in plain potting mix. Should I keep the water that deep all winter or let it dry out a bit?

Lee's Summit, MO(Zone 6a)

I can't advise on that - mine is planted in the ground.

Clermont, FL(Zone 9a)

Can't say how they react in the ground or pot cause I just leave mine in my pond all winter. If they turn brown I wait until spring and cut that part off.

Interesting to know how they will react. I'm in zone 9B. Central Fl.
Hope you don't loose them as they are a beautiful plant.


Marco Island, FL(Zone 10b)

I had to pull mine from the pond as it became HUGE! It is now in a pot with just water in it at the back door and is growing like a weed. We toy with planting it but like the leafy look at the back door. Wear long sleeves when you deal with it-- my husband cut ours back last week and scratched for a day or so.

Ocoee (W. Orlando), FL(Zone 9b)

Mine are in my pond, planted in pea gravel (no soil) I just leave them there, but we also don't get hard freezes here, occasionally a light freeze or heavy frost. 9b

Summerville, SC(Zone 8a)

I'm thinking I'll take the pot out of the water it's sitting and see if it will go dormant.

Virginia Beach, VA

I live in zone 7-B and left mine in the pond but it perished so I did not replace it.


Dallas, OR(Zone 8a)

I cut mine back and placed it in the garage. When I remembered, I gave it a small drink of water. It survived a move this summer also. Grew like crazy in the new pond. Will do the same this winter. Yeah! I was tired of buying a new one every year!

(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

Beahive, what is the temp in your garage? Over winter that is

Lee's Summit, MO(Zone 6a)

Wrong forum - entry removed by me.

This message was edited Oct 21, 2011 7:45 AM

Dallas, OR(Zone 8a)

Mary, not sure exactly but I would estimate in the 30's -low 40's.

Las Vegas, NV(Zone 9a)

I have had one or two in the water fall area of my KOI pond for close to 10 years. Last year we got down to 18 degrees. They died back but came right back when the warm weather returns. I also have 5in various areas of the landscape. They are planted in the ground. They also die back and come back every spring.

Sometime they get two large and I just dig, separate and replant. And give the rest away.

About 4 years ago, one of the ones in the water fall got so big it took two workers to get it out. They are not planted in anything. They just connect to the rocks. It was just a mass of roots. They are invasive so you need to pay attention. They are easy to remove when they are young. Sharon.

Ocoee (W. Orlando), FL(Zone 9b)

You're right on the money about being invasive! I plant mine in half sized cinder blocks filled with pea gravel and submerge them. The koi keep the roots nibbled away that sneak out of the bottom. I divide them twice a year.

(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

Sure wish they would grow here. But even if they did as yours did, and the tops died back in the winter, the roots sitting in 33F water all winter would surely kill them

Ocoee (W. Orlando), FL(Zone 9b)

Remind me in the spring and I'll send you a chunk. Even if it dies the next winter, you'll at least have it for the summer

When we had them, they always did great in the summer. I tried to carry them over during the winter and was not able to do so. I think the biggest part of the problem was that the consistent moisture would cause rotting. I know this was never an issue in the ponds as the water was always moving....

(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

Ohhhhh. Neat Mary. I will put a reminder in Outlook. Carolyn, what about running a little circulating pump like for a fish tank to move the water with a little filter so it would circulate. the things we do to keep stuff alive. I haven't seen my fish in a couple of weeks. with water down in the high 30's they are all asleep in their little caves. This weekend we will break down the pressure filter and bring it inside. Remove the basket and mat from the skimmer. Set up the pump that will circulate water on the bottom through the caves (as best we can). Damien wants to shut down the falls. I hate to do it as the pond just looks dead without the falls.

MS - you could have a small pump going, but as you said -the things we do to keep our plants alive. I don't think the plants are terribly expensive. Like the water hyacinths, I do think it would be easier to buy every year.

Last I took our water temps, we were in the high 50's. This weekend, I will need to cut back all my bog plants and DH will vacuum out the pond while I am doing doing the bog. Slowly, it starts.....

(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

High 50's! arggghhh ---- if only... :)

Xer - let us know what you end up doing and how you do with the papyrus. I am wondering what zone the plant is cold hardy to. You may even be able to keep it outside in your zone. Could you put it a couple of feet from your dryer vent? I know I did this with a clematis that was not hardy to my zone and did quite well with it. Your only issue would be to make sure it was kept moist through the winter.

MS - water temps of 50's yes, but unable to be outside to enjoy the fish as all it doe is rain.....

(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

I have taken my umbrella out and sat on my bench this spring when it was so rainy. I so much wanted to see my fish after a long winter. lol. I would also go out at odd hours 5am or so, with a flashlight to see if any had appeared. I am sure the neighbors are used to me by now, although one did comment on seeing me out at an obscenely early hour (they sleep in so 6am seemed early to them) gardening and putzing in the garden. Hey. Short season?? Garden when you can.

Summerville, SC(Zone 8a)

After reading what everyone else is saying, I'm going to take it out of the standing water and see if I can get it to go dormant. I have a utility room that stays in the low to upper 40's in winter .. that's where I overwinter plants that will go dormant like elephant ears and bananas that won't fit in the greenhouse. From what I'm reading, as long as I don't let it completely dry out it should do ok.

Summerville, SC(Zone 8a)

I removed the papyrus from the cache pot of water and look what I found! After cutting it away from the pot I was amazed! Kinda like grow your own pot liner.

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Stamford, CT(Zone 6b)

I've never had it go dormant and always keep it very wet. Once it gets cool, I bring it indoors and let it sit on a rack in the pond. The fish never complain. As a matter of fact, the more obstacles and hiding places there are, the happier they are. The plants in this area get their light from fluorescents.

I recently did a major water exchange, and the fish have been smiling.

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Love the yellow one with the zipper down his back...

(Tammie) Odessa, TX(Zone 7b)

I have had two for several years.. they are in pots that hold about 12 gallons.. filled about 2/3 with dirt then the rest filled with water. When first frost arrives, I move them into the garage for the winter. They get a little light and temps are kept above 40 usually for the winter in the garage because I keep all my plants out there. (I keep an oil filled heater out there) I keep enough water in the pots to keep them wet throughout the winter. In the spring, I remove all the brown dead parts and they begin growing again. I needed to repot them this year and I did not.. they did not grow as lush this year. I HAVE to repot them this year.

Las Vegas, NV(Zone 9a)

I leave mine outside. Last year we got down to 18 degrees. They die back and I cut them to the ground. One in the waterfall of the KOI pond and the others are in the ground. Sharon

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