Cyperus Species, Papyrus

Cyperus papyrus

Family: Cyperaceae (sy-peer-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Cyperus (sy-PEER-us) (Info)
Species: papyrus (pa-PY-russ) (Info)


Ornamental Grasses and Bamboo


Ponds and Aquatics

Tropicals and Tender Perennials

Water Requirements:

Very high moisture needs; suitable for bogs and water gardens

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun

Sun to Partial Shade


Grown for foliage



Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us


18-24 in. (45-60 cm)

24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)


24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

36-48 in. (90-120 cm)


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)

USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Where to Grow:

Suitable for growing in containers


Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:


Pale Green

Chartreuse (yellow-green)


Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Unknown - Tell us

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

Unknown - Tell us

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

By dividing rhizomes, tubers, corms or bulbs (including offsets)

From seed; stratify if sowing indoors

Seed Collecting:

Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds


This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:

Goodyear, Arizona

Canoga Park, California

Carlsbad, California

Clayton, California

Dana Point, California

Fair Oaks, California

Fairfield, California


Garden Grove, California(2 reports)

Glendale, California

Los Alamitos, California

Los Angeles, California

Merced, California

Monrovia, California

Oakley, California

Palm Springs, California

Reseda, California

Salinas, California

San Anselmo, California

San Francisco, California

San Jose, California

Santa Barbara, California

Stanford, California

Clearwater, Florida

Fort Myers, Florida

Lake Wales, Florida

Panama City Beach, Florida

Port Saint Lucie, Florida

Sarasota, Florida

Savannah, Georgia

Boise, Idaho

Chicago, Illinois

Mount Sterling, Kentucky

Newhebron, Mississippi

Staten Island, New York

Beaufort, North Carolina

Elizabeth City, North Carolina

Hillsboro, Oregon

Portland, Oregon

San Juan, Puerto Rico

Vega Baja, Puerto Rico

Vieques, Puerto Rico

Charleston, South Carolina

Conway, South Carolina

Knoxville, Tennessee

Palacios, Texas

Port Neches, Texas

Waller, Texas

Logan, Utah

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Jul 2, 2015, lokidog from Logan, UT wrote:

First this is not the place for "Baby Tut" - that's a different species (C. involucratus ). The comments should be moved over as the plant are quite different (I've grown both).

This is for the species and not any cultivars of it - the wild papyurus - that gets enormous (or the title is incorrect).
I love this plant. It grows fast, looks spectacular, and you can cut it way back and overwinter is pretty easily (if you live in a cold place like me that is). It's hardier than some say - as long as the roots don't freeze - though it only will survive really cold conditions outside for about 2 months. So I need to bring it in. I have a cold room (in the high 30's to the 50's in the Winter) and it does very well. Then when it heats up, it's off and growing again. This... read more


On Sep 10, 2014, zenalea from Hilton Head Island, SC wrote:

I moved to a home with a lot of papyrus growing on the west side of the home in full afternoon sun and no sprinklers on it. It has been growing well and I have never watered it, not even once. Only water is from rain, which sometimes is plentiful and other times nonexistent. I knew nothing about papyrus. It got to 19 degrees last winter and it died back, but came back quite well. I was not aware, until deciding that I wanted to plant more of it in a similar area and looked on this site for some information on growing it, that it needs a lot of water and must grow in a wet location. So much for lack of knowledge. The person that originally planted it here was a landscape architect. So, that's my experience. This is on Hilton Head, SC.


On May 25, 2014, sugarpie777 from New Hebron, MS wrote:

I purchased Baby Tut not knowing anything about it, much less what it was called. I planted it in a soil container garden and it has grown like crazy. I water every other day, not too much. I had no idea that it was a water plant! Everyone compliments this plant and I will purchase more in the future. I may leave it out in the cold this winter to see what happens. In Mississippi, it may survive? Can't wait to purchase one of the larger versions!


On May 21, 2014, ILuvCannas from Staten Island, NY wrote:

found this plant at a Home Depot.
I am going to say positive for finding it!! A big surprise indeed!!
I have it outside in original pot till I figure how to keep it in a larger pot w good wetness.
I am thinking of an urn pot w no holes.
Rocks on the bottom, w vermiculite to grow in.
I cannot leave it outside~zone 6/7.
But I have to be careful as this type of plant is salad for my kitties!
My Scottie had already nibbled on it!
Please let me know what you think!
Thanks, Carol


On Apr 2, 2014, jv123 from Chehalis, WA (Zone 8b) wrote:

Unlike what some others have said, I have had good luck with this plant in the Vancouver WA/Portland OR area. I had it in the ground all year in part sun, and by fall it was about 7 feet tall and growing faster than any plant I have. Each stem was huge, at least 2 inches in diameter at the base. I wrapped a drip hose around the base of it a few times so it would get watered often. It actually did fine in cool weather and kept on growing and putting out new shoots until we had a very unusually cold snap in December, down to 10 degrees F overnight. I think I'll make sure to harvest some seeds this summer or at least keep a start or two in the garage over winter in case we get another freakishly cold night or two next winter. Very tropical looking but apparently mostly hardy for our area.


On Oct 29, 2013, greene33 from Vernonburg, GA wrote:

Received from local swap. This plant thrives on neglect. To make new plants invert and place in a bucket of water. The roots will form in no time.


On Jul 20, 2013, Nanny23 from Mount Sterling, KY (Zone 6b) wrote:

I bring this plant into the greenhouse (Heated during the coldest months) and bring back out as soon as the danger of frost is over. It does very well inside and outside. It is in a mini pond that is actually a barrel liner that I bought at Lowes. I see where it gets it's name "King Tut", a very regal plant. Mine is over 6 ft tall and the bloom heads are nearly a foot wide. I haven't tried growing from seed yet, but may try some later to see how it works. It needs to be divided, so when I get a chance, there may be some for available for trade....So many plants, so little time. If you have a pond, even a mini like mine, this is a great addition to make.


On Apr 30, 2013, gardenergal17 from Canton--Football HOF, OH (Zone 6a) wrote:

*Found these absolutely gorgeous plants, large and small varieties, at a local "Mom & Pop" nursery, although I skimmed over the label, I assumed it was hardy to my zone.
*Well, fellow gardeners....this plant loves the Ohio summers, but not the Ohio Winters!
*Should have brought it inside for the winter.... =(
*Note to self....Read plant labels carefully!
*Money lost....
*Lesson learned....
*Sure wish I had taken photos of these beauties!!
*Perhaps I'll get another tall one for semi-screening on our front porch....
*I gave a positive rating because the beauty and grace of these plants way outshine my....well....silly mistake!


On Oct 22, 2012, dh_Boise from Boise,
United States wrote:

Here in Boise, with hot, dry summers, I grew "Baby Tut" as the centerpiece in a large pot, full sun 7 hrs a day. During the hottest weather (high 90's to low 100's) I watered every 2 days and it did just fine, quickly growing to about 24 inches, very thick and lush, a beautiful plant. We've had 2 freezes (it's now late October), and it's still green. Another Baby Tut in another pot was dug up and it had an incredibly dense and massive root system with red tubers. I was thinking of growing "King Tut", but after seeing the root system, I will stick to Baby Tut. It's a lovely accent plant for patio or entry.


On Jun 10, 2012, Ikabod from Windsor, Ontario,
Canada wrote:

I was buying new plants every spring because of the freeze we get in the Detroit area. Last year, I took them indoors and they thrived. I kept them in a tray of water that I allowed to go dry for a day or two. No problems, except when the stalks were through (8'), they came crashing down on other plants like my orchids.
I bring all my tropical plants from my pond indoors, including non-hardy water lillies and keep them in a tub of water. I buy two 2" koi per tub and along with the bubbler, the tubs are kept in check. Come spring, everything goes back in the pond, including the 4" koi.
I should mention, my plants get loads of sun during the winter. They reside in an all glass solarium.


On Jan 31, 2012, the_naturalist from Monrovia, CA wrote:

For Bruce 40--I'm growing it here in hot, dry Southern California in a half-day-sunny spot that only gets watered once in a while--not wet or muddy at all. It has grown to about 4 feet tall (versus the 8-footers IN the water of the lagoon at the L. A. County Arboretum) so it can survive even if it doesn't thrive.


On Oct 20, 2010, TXBay from Palacios, TX wrote:

I was given a plant offset at out local nursery. They described it as "ditch orchid". After some study I think my plant is a variety of papyrus from Mexico. My garden encyclopedia describes it as "tall, graceful dark green stems 6-10 feet high. The parent plant is at least 8 ft. tall with flowers consisting of "beads" on long stems. The encyclopedia describes the name as cyperus papyrus but you wouldn't guess papyrus from looking and the plant. The parent is grown in rich soil, in semi shade. On the middle Gulf Coast it withstood the freeze of 2009-10, dying back to the root. In the right spot, perhaps grown in a big landscape pot, it could add a really tropical feel to a shady corner. I'm still studying it.


On Oct 4, 2010, tbach from Hillsboro, OR wrote:

Papyrus is truly one of my favorites - not sure why. One of the downsides of moving from So. Calif. to Portland, Oregon area is that Papyrus does not thrive in this zone. I have to purchase new plants every spring when they are available at local nurseries and enjoy them until they perish when temps dip in October/November. I wonder if anyone has had any luck with moving them indoors for the winter. Garage is also too cold, so I would have to figure out a way to deal with them somewhere in the house itself. Thinking I might buy a large plastic tub and a furniture cart (with wheels) and move the whole planter indoors. I'm going to have a hard time getting this one by my wife . . . she is not as fond of Papyrus and I am.

Anyone have any ideas?


On Mar 19, 2010, Jackie5_0 from Summerville, SC wrote:

I just bought (2) 2 gallon pots of these. I havent planted them yet because Im not quite sure what the best thing to do is. I have spent the past year fighting all the invasive plants the previous owners let take over the yard, and I dont want it to happen again.
It seems to spread more under certian conditions..
I am planning on putting it in an area that stays very moist and gets wet, almost boggy when it rains. Im in zone 8, and not quite sure what it will do over the winter, I have seen some thriving during the coldest winter we have had since I lived here, and others that had to be cut down due to everything but the roots dieing.
I was thinking aboult putting it in thick plastic platers and sinking them in the ground. After doing some reading on here though it see... read more


On Feb 6, 2010, bruce40 from Peabody, MA wrote:

I saw a picture of this plant growing in a container with geranium and petunia, yet is is listed as water plant. Could someone help me decide to try it?


On Feb 1, 2008, cricketfan from Fair Oaks, CA wrote:

I re-did my pond last fall (2007) and put 3 pots of the tall papyrus on a shelf at the edge of the pond. They looked wonderful until winter came. As soon as the weather was regularly in the low 40's or upper 30's (we've had no frosts yet), the stalks began turning brown and falling over. I also have one small pot of dwarf papyrus and its doing the same thing.


On Nov 12, 2004, doss from Stanford, CA (Zone 9b) wrote:

The Papyrus in my garden is next to the fountain, not in it. It has attained 7 feet in 1 year. I do feet it with foliar fertilizer once a month in the growing season - as I do everything else, but I don't give it any supplemental feedings.


On Nov 21, 2003, homerwells from Hilton Head Island, SC (Zone 9a) wrote:

I live on an island off the South cCrolina coast. There is a wet low spot in my garden that I placed it (papyrus plant), and it has become huge. Not sure as to how i should prepare it for winter; we do get some nights in the thirties. Other than that it seems to thrive with neglect.


On Nov 20, 2003, Monocromatico from Rio de Janeiro,
Brazil (Zone 11) wrote:

It can be grown on moist soil, but wont grow much. It does better on high moisture conditions, preferably on swampy areas or general shallow, calm water bodies.


On Sep 21, 2003, gunner76 from Beaufort, NC wrote:

I live on the coast of North Carolina and have been growing Papyrus for several years. I grow it in large barrels and keep it well watered as it does not like to dry out. I found I have to overwinter the plants in my garage as this plant does not tolerate freezing. I started with one plant and have divided it 5 times (have to use an axe, its tough).
Each plant is about 7-8 feet tall