Botanical Name: Isolepis cernua (Scirpus cernuus)
Origin: Fiber Optic Grass, or Fibre Optic Grass, originates from parts of Northern Africa and Southern Europe.
Height: Isolepis cernua typically grows to a height of around 30 cm (12 in).
Soil: This plant likes to be kept in a potting mix based on peat moss.
Light: Fiber Optic Grass needs lots of bright light and can be placed into direct sunlight.
Humidity: Moderate humidity levels will be sufficient for this house plant.
Temperatures: Isolepis cernua likes to be reasonably warm, with year-round temperatures of 18 to 27 degrees C (65 to 80 degrees F). If placed outside for the summer, this plant must be brought back indoors before temperatures drop, as it will not tolerate frost.
Water: Isolepis cernua is a marsh plant, so the soil needs to be kept moist, even wet, at all times. This is one of the few house plants that will actually tolerate soggy soil.
Fertiliser: A diluted (1:1) liquid fertiliser (balanced) should be administered once a month from spring onward through until the end of autumn.
Propagation: Fiber Optic Grass can be propagated from seeds or by division of mature plants. Seeds should be sown in spring and barely covered with potting mix. The soil constantly needs to be kept moist and warm - at around 21 degrees C (70 degrees F).
Description and Care Tips
Also known as Live Wire Grass, the fountain-like Fiber Optic Grass plant is a type of ornamental sedge. It grows in clumping mounds that gradually spill over the pot's side, making this showy, evergreen perennial an eye-catching addition to hanging baskets, tall planters and groups of flowering/ foliage plants.
The silvery-white flowers located at the tips of the blades - which will begin to emerge in spring and continue on into autumn - give this unusual house plant its name, as they provide it with the distinct appearance of a fibre optic lamp.
To get this plant to thrive and bloom, it needs to be given plenty of light; be kept warm and be watered generously - as mentioned above, it will survive soggy soil, but it should never be allowed to dry out. Dry soil will result in the leaves yellowing, then turning brown.
When the pot becomes a little crowded (around every two to three years), repotting into a pot just one size larger than the original container becomes necessary. This is best done in spring, which is also the best time to divide mature plants.