Cyperus alternifolius: Umbrella palm

Family: Cyperaceae
Common name: Umbrella plam, Umbrella papyrus

If you are a gardener who has killed plants, loving them by over-watering, Umbrella palm is what you should go for. Umbrella palms love water, and can grow in water or in wet soil, thriving in a wide variety of temperatures and soil conditions. They can be grown in garden ponds or small water bodies, or along the edges of these water bodies. It’s better to grow them in pots inside the water bodies, so that they are easy to remove and repot, or to trim the roots.

The leaves are very pretty – thin, long and glossy; arranged in the shape of an umbrella around the long and slender stem, giving the plant its name. The plants are usually between 1-3 feet, but can grow to 5 feet in the wild.

Umbrella palms belong to a family of 600+ grass plants which grow all over the world. They also produce light grey feathery flowers that grow from the center of the radiating leaves in a very interesting circular pattern. The plants can fill a pot very quickly, after which it’s necessary to re-pot them into a larger pot, or by splitting the plant at the root into new plants.

When grown in water, they can draw necessary nutrients from water. There is no need for additional fertilization. When grown outside water, the most important thing is to make sure that your umbrella palms do not dry out, leading to browning of the edges of the leaves.

Propagation is by splitting plants from the roots and replanting them.

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