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What Is a Dwarf Papyrus?

Dwarf papyrus stems grow in clumps and require lots of water.
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  • Written By: C. O'Connor
  • Edited By: A. Joseph
  • Last Modified Date: 02 December 2014
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A dwarf papyrus is a grass-like ornamental plant that is suitable for water gardens and pots. It is native to Egypt and Sudan. It is a perennial in many areas with warmer climates and an annual in colder climates further north, where the temperatures are colder than 30 degrees Fahrenheit (minus-1 degrees Celsius).

This plant grows in clumps, the stems are 8-39 inches (20-100 cm) long and 0.08-0.25 inches (2-6 mm) wide. The flowers are inconspicuous and grow in 100-250 rays or umbrels, 2-6 inches (5-16 cm) long with spikelets and are greenish yellow, turning a brown-bronze color in summer. Its fruit appears as brown nutlets.

Dwarf papyrus is very heat tolerant. It needs good light, full or partial sun, to grow. It thrives in normal to wet conditions, normally being planted in small pools or ponds, as well as pots and tubs where it is recommended that the bottom drain hole be plugged.

It needs a potenz hydrogen (pH) of 6.5 to 8.5, and potting soil or sandy soil works well. Some people recommend letting a potted indoor dwarf papyrus be planted in a pot with good drainage and allowing the soil to dry moderately between waterings. Dwarf papyrus has high water needs, and most experts believe that it is almost impossible to over-water a dwarf papyrus.

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The plant normally is able to propagate simply by leaning over. The new plant starts in the inflorescence, the cluster of flowers, and as it become heavier, the mother plant leans farther, reaching the mud were the new plants attach and grow. It also can be propagated by seed or cutting.

These evergreen grasses don’t go dormant, so their rhizomes also can be divided. Division should be done only in spring, because division wounds the plant and makes it difficult for it to survive the winter. The flower heads also can be cut off and then allowed to float upside down in water, which will then form a rooted plantlet.

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