Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Dwarf Papyrus, Miniature Flatsedge
Cyperus prolifer

Family: Cyperaceae (sy-peer-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Cyperus (sy-PEER-us) (Info)
Species: prolifer (PRO-leef-er) (Info)
Additional cultivar information: (aka Nanus)

Synonym:Cyperus papyrus
Synonym:Cyperus isocladus

2 vendors have this plant for sale.

11 members have or want this plant for trade.

Ornamental Grasses and Bamboo
Ponds and Aquatics
Tropicals and Tender Perennials

18-24 in. (45-60 cm)
24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun
Sun to Partial Shade


Bloom Color:
Pale Green

Bloom Time:
Mid Summer
Late Summer/Early Fall


Other details:
This plant is suitable for growing indoors
Requires consistently moist soil; do not let dry out between waterings
Very high moisture needs; suitable for bogs and water gardens
Self-sows freely; deadhead if you do not want volunteer seedlings next season

Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
By dividing rhizomes, tubers, corms or bulbs (including offsets)
From seed; sow indoors before last frost
Plant is viviparous

Seed Collecting:
Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds

Click thumbnail
to view:

By Happenstance
Thumbnail #1 of Cyperus prolifer by Happenstance

By ArianesGrandma
Thumbnail #2 of Cyperus prolifer by ArianesGrandma

By trois
Thumbnail #3 of Cyperus prolifer by trois

By CaptMicha
Thumbnail #4 of Cyperus prolifer by CaptMicha

By daryl
Thumbnail #5 of Cyperus prolifer by daryl

By johnpeten
Thumbnail #6 of Cyperus prolifer by johnpeten

By KashtanGeorge
Thumbnail #7 of Cyperus prolifer by KashtanGeorge

There are a total of 11 photos.
Click here to view them all!


10 positives
No neutrals
1 negative

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive Violetsrblu On Apr 6, 2010, Violetsrblu from Bartlett, TN (Zone 7a) wrote:

I wanted a small water garden in my shady back yard, so I purchased a 20 gallon resin pool. Being an ignorant beginner, I wasted money on water lilies that did poorly in the shade. Then I was enthralled by the beauty of a papyrus at a nursery. It did well... too well. It grew huge, tall, and covered the pool and another water plant. I wintered it in my home in a large fishpot kept filled with water and in front of a sunny window. It did very poorly for some reason and died before spring. Last spring I found the dwarf papyrus and it thrived wonderfully in my backyard over the summer too, but it looked perfect in my small pool and did not smother my other water plants. Unlike the large papyrus, this dwarf version wintered beautifully in my home in the same fishpot and in front of the same window. It looks as healthy as it did last summer. I'm glad to save some money and not have to hunt for a new water plant for my pool every spring.

Positive johnpeten On Sep 27, 2008, johnpeten from San Andres, Peten
Guatemala wrote:

The flowers of this plant are minute, one needs a magnifying glass. I attach a close up picture showing that the flowers have red in them.

Negative vcb1 On Sep 9, 2006, vcb1 from Melbourne Beach, FL (Zone 10a) wrote:

Although this is a nice marginal pond plant, it is on the Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council's category 2 invasive list. Let's take care that is doesn't spread to the wild!

Positive jmpoer On Jun 26, 2005, jmpoer from Winnetka, CA wrote:

This plant (now identified!) has grown in a basically unwatered place on the east side of my house for 30 years without ANY attention. The area received almost no direct sun. The soil is very loose, organic natural mulch from huge italian cypress trees.

I thought it was a weed! Transplanted to "better" soil and light, it exploded into beautiful clusters of umbrellas.

Positive Nan On Dec 1, 2004, Nan from SW, WI (Zone 4b) wrote:

This plant does grow quite nicely indoors with adequate sunlight and abundant moisture.

Not hardy *outdoors* in my zone 4, so have only grown it indoors.

Does tend to attract spider mites if allowed to dry out.

Positive geetha On Jun 5, 2004, geetha from Marina Del Rey, CA wrote:

I grow a papyrus in a little 24" deep strip of soil on my walled in patio. It does very very well in soil if you basically drowned it with water every 2-3 days. It does get direct sun most of the day there. I live in southern California, zone 10, by the ocean.

I mixed it with red and green leafed Cana, dwarf blue lily of the nile, white flowering ginger, a small plumeria and a little bottle palm. It is really beautiful.

Positive docaly On Apr 1, 2004, docaly from Albuquerque, NM wrote:

I agree with Happenstance and ArianasGrandma -- this is great in a small to medium pond. I put several in a client's pond over the winter and not particularly deeply in the water; and they're very happy here in zone 9b. To control its growth, you can keep it in it's plastic pot until you are ready for it to expand. The dwarf doesn't get very large so it makes a perfect complement to other waterplants. I love it's whispy, willowy look!

The non-dwarf papyrus often get quite large, overgrown and require more space and maintenance, and is therefore, more suitable for large water features. Both are beautiful in the right setting.

Positive GASTON On Mar 31, 2004, GASTON wrote:

Live in Philly here. Plants do great after Aprile with the natural fertilizer of the turtle pond. I Chop them back by frost and take them in to spread glorius leaves and shoots in the house come January. I find them very hardy. Seems "Turutle fertilizer" is a secret with these guys. Really adore them. Chop them back as soon as the old ones start to whither. Can get two-three pots out of each one per summer.

Positive DaleP6 On Jan 12, 2004, DaleP6 from Sarasota, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

I have been growing this very successfully in a tera cotta pot. It made it through several very cold nights...35 degrees. I don't keep it particularly moist but water it once every few days with everything else. I am in Zone 9b

Positive Happenstance On Sep 13, 2003, Happenstance from Northern California, CA wrote:

Pond grown in 9b, more suited in size for a residential situation than the large form of Papyrus. Deciduous in 9b, but returns in Spring if put into deep water from Nov 'til the water begins to warm in Spring.

Positive ArianesGrandma On Sep 11, 2002, ArianesGrandma from Yorkville, IL (Zone 5b) wrote:

A real nice plant to have in a Small to Medium Size Pond.
Works well!
I really enjoy it...


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Huntsville, Alabama
Clayton, California
Marina Del Rey, California
Winnetka, California
Bartow, Florida
Fort Myers, Florida
Loxahatchee, Florida
Melbourne Beach, Florida
Miami Beach, Florida
North Fort Myers, Florida
Port Charlotte, Florida
Port Saint Joe, Florida
Riverview, Florida
Saint Petersburg, Florida
Tallahassee, Florida
Hawaiian Paradise Park, Hawaii
Honomu, Hawaii
Pass Christian, Mississippi
Cincinnati, Ohio
Conway, South Carolina
Sumter, South Carolina
Memphis, Tennessee
Fort Worth, Texas
Jacksonville, Texas
Port Neches, Texas
Santa Fe, Texas

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