Friday, March 21, 2014

How to care for a Papyrus in your house

The whimsical-looking papyrus grows straight up and and its umbrella-like leaves at the very top of the stems seem to expressing delight at just being alive!  It is a grass-like aquatic herb and loves lots of moisture.  You can not over water it.  In fact, the soil should stay wet and it is the one houseplant that should have water in its saucer at all times.

This charming specimen belongs to my neighbors and they have kept it thriving for many years.  It does very well outside on a deck or patio in indirect light when the temperatures are above 50°F or 10°C.  The extra humidity and natural rainfall are welcomed, although it adapts very well indoors.  It is easy to grow in a sunny spot.  It may even bloom for you, bearing small spiky green flowers in a rosette around the top of its leaves. 

The papyrus can be propagated in a very unusual way: upside-down!  It will form roots from the top of the plant! Cut off part of the stem, clipping the leaves back about and inch or so and putting the leaves in water with the stem at the top and the leaves at the bottom of your container.

Its botanical name is Cyperus alternifolius and it is indigenous to Madagascar and East Africa.  It's close relative Cyperus papyrus was used by the Egyptians for making paper since 2750 BC.

Care Instructions:
  • Needs,at least, some direct sun.  Full sun is ok.
  • Keep the soil wet.
  • Simply, make sure it is always wet and that some water remains in its saucer at all times.
  • Fertilize regularly. 

**To see more indoor plants on this blog, click here: The Indoor Garden blog
***To watch short video clips on plant care from my 90's TV series, click here:  The Indoor Garden TV


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