Perennials & Ornamental Grasses

Cyprus grass: the 10 most beautiful varieties presented


Cyprus grass is represented in around 600 species worldwide. We would like to introduce you to the 10 most beautiful varieties for home and garden.

© emer -

Most Cyprus grasses thrive in the tropics and subtropical areas. Only 27 species are native to Europe. The sour grasses mainly populate swamps. The range of Cyprus grass ranges from small cat grass on the windowsill to meter-high specimens in a bucket or garden pond. Some selected varieties are presented here in more detail.

1. Cyperus alternifolius

This is the most famous type of plant family. Mostly the Cyprus grass is cultivated as a houseplant and is commonly referred to as a water palm. The original home of the plant is Madagascar. The not hardy Cyprus grass grows mainly in swamps or on the edge of water.

The plants can grow to heights of up to one meter. The narrow leaves give it a filigree and delicate appearance. In addition, brown flowers appear on the plant. It forms rhizomes which branch with increasing age of the Cyprus grass. In older plants, new shoots form at the base of the bracts. This allows the plant to be easily propagated.

Cyperus alternifolius is fast growing and easy to care for. The Cyprus grass only needs a lot of water and wants to be at room temperature all year round. The coaster should therefore always be filled with water. However, the plant does not want to be completely under water. Likewise, the most popular among the Cyprus grasses needs high humidity. Therefore, it is best to spray the plant with water every day. If the temperatures drop below ten degrees, you have to bring cultivated specimens into the house.


  • best known type
  • grew joyfully
  • popular houseplant
  • easy care
  • not hardy

2. Cyprus grass Haspan

This swamp plant can form stems up to one meter long. The leaves, which are up to 20 centimeters long, then appear in clusters there. The flowers can be found on the tips of the leaves. Older specimens also develop fruit. If the tufts of leaves tilt downwards and come into contact with water, roots will form between the leaves and new plants will emerge.

At first glance, Haspan Cyprus grass is similar to the papyrus. A special feature are the triangular stems, which, however, only develop in the real papyrus in an advanced stage of growth. Initially, this variety only forms short tufts. The characteristic spherical shape takes on older plants. Due to the cuttings that often form on the tips of the leaves, the plant can be easily propagated.


  • stems up to one meter long
  • spherical tufts of leaves
  • Stem triangular in cross section
  • forms offshoots on the stems

3. Cyperus glabor

This type of Cyprus grass is characterized by the almost round stems, which can reach a thickness of about five millimeters. The flat leaves appear like an umbrella. Small umbels appear in the middle of the leaf during flowering. This variety is similar to Cyperus alternifolius, the common Cyprus grass. A distinction is made by the stems, which are longer and more than twice the thickness. The bobble in the middle of the leaf during flowering is also a good differentiator. The plant also resembles the real papyrus, but is much smaller and has round instead of triangular stems.


  • Height of growth about one meter
  • Stem round in cross-section
  • Stems form little umbrellas
  • small umbels in the middle of the leaf during flowering

4. Brown cypress grass

This variety is rather small and rarely grows to over 30 to 40 centimeters. The annual plant forms small clumps. The smooth stems are particularly sharp. Approximately the length of the stems is also achieved by the leaves, which are up to five millimeters wide. The brown cyper grass develops yellow-brown fruits. These are triangular and have a barbed tip.

The brown cypress grass has a wide distribution area, which extends from Europe to the Mediterranean area and China. The plant grows on the banks of rivers or on the bottom of ponds. Germination occurs when the water level drops in summer. After the flood in autumn, the plant survives the winter as seeds. In Germany, the brown cypress grass is found particularly close to the larger rivers.


  • not higher than 40 centimeters
  • annual
  • yellow-brown fruits
  • occurring on river banks in Germany

5. Fresh green Cyprus grass

This Cyprus grass is native to South America. There the fresh green Cyprus grass grows continuously. If less optimal climatic conditions are found, it can also be annual plants. The height of growth is about 50 centimeters. Foothills are not formed. The bare stems have a round to triangular cross-section. The inflorescence can consist of up to ten ears. The bracts reach a length exceeding the inflorescence. The flattened ears can contain up to 30 flowers.

The original distribution area of ​​the fresh green Cyprus grass is in the tropical regions of South America. An occurrence can also be observed today in North America, Europe, Australia and Asia. It is assumed that the fresh green Cyprus grass was introduced as an ornamental plant in the corresponding regions and was able to multiply there.

An occurrence in Europe could be proven in the middle of the 19th century. The plant mainly occurs near the Atlantic and Mediterranean. In 1854 the fresh green Cyprus grass was found in Hamburg. The plant is quite undemanding and prefers to thrive on the edges of ponds or rivers, but can also make do with the edges of the road.


  • about 50 centimeters high
  • does not form foothills
  • round to triangular stems
  • undemanding and robust
  • extensive distribution area

6. Tall Cyprus grass

The tall Cyprus grass is a perennial plant that can reach proud heights of almost two meters. Generally the plants reach a height of about 1.20 meters. The stems have a triangular shape. Thick and long runners are formed. The leaves remain in length behind the stems. The lower bract can reach up to 50 centimeters in length. The inflorescences can have up to ten rays. A single spiral branch can be about 35 centimeters long. The red-brown fruits are triangular and have a barbed tip.

The natural range of the plant is the Mediterranean. As a popular pond plant, the tall Cyprus grass impresses with the foliage reminiscent of papyrus and the attractive inflorescences. The tall Cyprus grass is particularly valued as a water purification plant and works well in combination with calamus or water mint.


  • perennial plant
  • popular pond plant
  • hardy
  • easy to care for and robust

7. Dwarf Cyprus grass

As one of the smallest known representatives among the Cyprus grasses, this annual herbaceous plant is only about ten centimeters high. The plant grows as an upholstery from which the triangular stems rise. The flowers appear between July and September. Even if the ears are only about four millimeters long, up to 20 flowers can still be admired.

Dwarf Cyprus grass loves warm, muddy soils with as little lime as possible. Dwarf Cyprus grass is also popular as a green plant in the home. Many cat owners use the non-toxic plant as a food supply for their animals. The swallowed blades of grass help the animals to choke out hairballs. However, if your cat nibbles on the straws too intensely, inflammation of the stomach can threaten. Then you should remove the plant.


  • especially short
  • popular as a houseplant
  • easy care
  • Use as cat grass

8. Real papyrus

The real papyrus is also one of the Cyprus grasses and as the largest and most imposing species can enjoy a special position. The perennial plants can reach ceiling height with good care in the room. The papyrus has its triangular stems in common with the Haspan Cyprus grass. Even young plants form pinnate balls on the stems. A mix-up with the Cyprus grass Haspan can be excluded because papyrus has stems that are three times thicker and can grow to heights of three meters and more.

Papyrus became famous in ancient times. In ancient Egypt, the plant was not only used as a raw material for papyrus production, but also as a building material for boats. Originally, the real papyrus was only found in Africa, Southwest Asia and Southern Europe. The plant prefers to thrive on the banks of rivers. Sicily is probably the only natural distribution area within Europe.


  • grows up to three meters high
  • Stem triangular in cross section
  • tufts feathered on the stems
  • popular room decoration

9. Cypris Longus

Cypris Longus is one of the few species of Cyprus grass that the frost cannot harm. Even in our latitudes, plants often spend the winter in garden ponds. Container plants, however, are less robust and require winter protection.

The plants reach a height of about one meter and have V-shaped leaves. The leaves reach about half the length of the stems. Another special feature is the triangular shape of the stem. The red-brown inflorescences appear in late summer. The plants prefer a loamy soil and are quite undemanding there. The fresh green foliage is an eye-catcher in every pond landscape. In addition to the shallow water zone, keeping in the bucket is also popular.


  • hardy
  • robust
  • popular pond plant
  • Can also be kept in a bucket

10. Helper's Cyprus grass

The characteristic of this swamp plant is its grassy growth. The narrow, light green leaves can reach a height of up to 60 centimeters. The flower umbels appear on the triangular stem end. Helper's Cyprus grass needs temperatures around 25 degrees and should receive a lot of light. The light green leaves appear from a rosette and spread out in tufts. This Cyprus grass is particularly attractive as a solitary plant. Up to 50 leaves can grow from a rosette.

Helper's Cyprus grass comes from Asia and has been preferred as an aquarium plant since the 1990s. Helper's Cyprus grass is the only representative of the plant family that is suitable as an aquarium plant. After a short settling-in period, the plant will thrive because the slender leaves are well adapted to life in the water.


  • Height up to 50 centimeters
  • popular aquarium plant
  • umbrella-shaped inflorescences
  • slight increase by division of the root ball

The 10 varieties of Cyprus grass and their advantages and disadvantages

Cyperus alternifolius❍ easy to cultivate
❍ popular houseplant
❍ can be kept in the bucket
Winter not hardy
❍ high water demand
❍ high air humidity necessary
Haspans cyprus grass❍ triangular stems
❍ reminiscent of real papyrus
Durch Propagation by cuttings
Winter not hardy
❍ needs a lot of water
Cyperus glabor❍ stocky and robust
❍ umbrella-shaped leaves
❍ Similarity to Real Papyrus
Winter not hardy
❍ high air humidity necessary
Brown Cyprus grass❍ Occurrence in Germany
❍ Seed survives the winter
❍ short
❍ does not form extensions
Fresh green Cyprus grass❍ deep green coloring
❍ popular ornamental plant
❍ easy to maintain and undemanding
❍ does not form extensions
Tall Cyprus grass❍ up to two meters in height
❍ attractive pond plant
❍ hardy
❍ perennial
❍ high water demand
Dwarf Cyprus grass❍ Occurrence in Europe
❍ Use as cat grass
❍ one year
❍ requires low-lime soil
Real papyrus❍ impressive and attractive
❍ popular houseplant
❍ triangular stems
❍ several meters high
Winter not hardy
❍ often difficult to handle
Cyperus longus❍ hardy
❍ undemanding
Schutz Winter protection for tub plants
❍ needs a lot of water and light
Helper's Cyprus grass❍ popular aquarium plant
Sol pretty specimen plant
❍ forms offshoots
❍ likes to grow
❍ low height