How to Grow Egyptian Papyrus

Written by kate carpenter
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Egyptian papyrus, also known as Cyperus papyrus, is an elegant and dramatic landscape plant that dates back to biblical times. Often found around ponds, pools or in containers, it can reach a height of 10 feet. Egyptian papyrus is a tropical plant and will not tolerate cold temperatures. There is a variety called dwarf Egyptian papyrus that grows to less than 2 feet tall and is ideal for low-level landscaping, patio containers or as a houseplant.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Egyptian papyrus rhizomes
  • Boggy, wet area or all-purpose potting soil, supplemented with perlite or sand
  • Planting pot, optional
  • Pebbles, optional
  • Mister
  • General liquid fertiliser

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    In Your Landscaping

  1. 1

    Select for your Egyptian papyrus a sunny location that does not receive much wind and has constant saturated soil, such as around a pond. The saturation of the soil should be several feet deep to allow the tall, top heavy stalks of the plant to remain upright.

  2. 2

    Plant the Egyptian papyrus rhizomes into the soggy soil, so the crown of the rhizome is not submerged in water or soggy soil.

  3. 3

    Space your Egyptian papyrus rhizomes at least 1 foot apart when first establishing Egyptian papyrus into your landscaping. Egyptian papyrus spreads and multiplies fairly rapidly, so allow space between your original planting to accommodate for this.

  4. 4

    Cut back the brown, dead stalks in the winter. Propagate or divide the rhizomes in the early spring to allow sufficient time for the plant to recuperate.

    In Containers

  1. 1

    Select a container for your Egyptian papyrus that either does not have a drainage hole or one that has a drainage hole and an accompanying water saucer. If you use a container with a drainage hole, place a layer of pebbles in the saucer, so your container will set on top of the pebble layer, instead of in water.

  2. 2

    Use general all-purpose potting soil that you have supplemented with a cup or two of sand or perlite. The addition of sand or perlite to the soil will help with uniformly moistening the soil your Egyptian papyrus will be planted in.

  3. 3

    Plant your Egyptian papyrus rhizome in the soil, leaving the crown of the rhizome above the soil surface. You can choose to plant the rhizome in the centre of the pot, or for larger pots that you intend to have a mixture of plants in, plant the rhizome toward the back because of its height.

  4. 4

    Place your potted Egyptian papyrus in a sunny location. Water the plant, so the soil is continuously moist, though some drying out of the soil should occur between watering.

  5. 5

    Mist your Egyptian papyrus every day or so to keep the humidity level high around the plant. Your Egyptian papyrus thrives in a high humidy environment. Keeping water in the saucer below the plant will also help in maintaining a higher humidity level. Be sure the pot is elevated above the water, with pebbles, so it does not sit directly in the saucer of water. Fertilise your Egyptian papyrus with a general liquid houseplant fertiliser one a month.

Tips and warnings

  • Trying to grow Egyptian papyrus from seeds is not as successful as starting with a rhizome. The germination and growth of seeds may take several years to become fully the plant you desire.
  • If you live in an area where temperatures in the winter drop below -3.89 degrees C, your Egyptian papyrus will die in your landscape. In those areas, it is better to grow your Egyptian papyrus in containers that can be moved to warmer locations during the winter months.

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