A swamp-loving sedge, “Baby Tut” grass (Cyperus involucratus “Baby Tut”) grows well in sun or shade, can survive in standing water and will thrive with minimal maintenance. This cultivar of umbrella sedge grows in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 9 through 11, although it can occasionally survive winters in USDA zone 8. Even though “Baby Tut” makes an attractive foliage plant — it grows in clumps 24 inches tall and stays green year-round in light climates — it is deemed invasive in some areas.
Keep the Soil Damp
“Baby Tut” grass needs consistent moisture to grow well. Keep the soil consistently damp with weekly watering. This moisture-loving ornamental grass can also grow in wet areas, where standing water tends to collect, without getting waterlogged or rotting. Avoid letting the soil dry out, especially If you’re growing “Baby Tut” in containers. Remember to look at the potting soil moisture each day during hot weather. When it’s hot, planters dry out quickly especially if they are made of wood or unglazed clay.
Add Monthly Fertilizer
Although this sedge grows well by itself, you can give “Baby Tut” a nutrient boost once a month with a balanced liquid fertilizer. A dilution of 2 oz of liquid fertilizer with 1 gallon of water at a watering can works well. Use the water-fertilizer dilution to soak the soil around each “Baby Tut” plant. A balanced fertilizer is any formulation where the three numbers are the same. Some typical balanced formulas comprise 3-3-3, 5-5-5, 10-10-10 or 20-20-20. The three numbers suggest that sulfur, potassium and phosphate are at equal proportions.
Spring and Fall Trim
You can keep “Baby Tut” grass looking clean by giving it a trim in fall. Start looking for any dead material and cut it out using a set of garden shears. Cut as close to the soil line as possible. In frost-free areas, “Baby Tut” stays green during the winter but at USDA zone 9, a brief winter frost can kill some or all the leaves. Remove any frost-damaged leaves early in the spring. After pruning “Baby Tut”, dip your shears at a bucket containing equal parts water and conventional rubbing alcohol to get rid of any pathogens on the blades.
Pest-Free But Invasive
Few insects’ bother using the class leaves of “Baby Tut” and diseases infrequently take hold. Rather, “Baby Tut” and other umbrella plant cultivars are the pest, spreading invasively in mild climates where frosts fail to fully kill the roots each winter. Avoid planting it in areas that are open to natural lakes or rivers. After “Baby Tut” gets loose, it can take over and displace natural species. Growing “Baby Tut” as container plant might help to keep it under control. Use standard potting soil if you choose this method and use a pot with drainage holes.