Plants

Fiber Optic Grass Guide: How to Grow & Care for “Isolepis Cernua”

Read our guide to Fiber Optic Grass for everything you will ever need to know! Tips for planting & caring for “Isolepis cernua”.
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When you hear the term fiber optic, you probably think about technology before you think about plants. While you are right in your initial thoughts, tech lovers everywhere can finally claim something in common with the average gardener.

The Fiber Optic Grass plant is a great bit of nature to add a creative touch to any room in your home or office. Aside from the interesting name that will get your guest talking, the Fiber Optic Grass plant offers an assortment of additional benefits. It also plays well with others and is happy to share a pot with similar non-invasive plants making it perfect for capsule gardens.

Fiber Optic Grass is popular due to is highly dramatic and opulent appearance. This plant resembles a living fountain of grass with flowing tips. The look of this plant closely resembles fiber optic wire which is where it obtained its creative name.

If you are looking for a way to set your home or business apart, this live wire lookalike is a great way to go about it. Not only is it a great conversation piece, but it also is generally easy to grow and care for. If you are looking to add this to your collection, check out your local nurseries or gardening centers in the middle of spring. Not only are they attractive, but they are also some of the most affordable houseplants on the market.

About Fiber Optic Grass

  • Fiber Optic Grass is also known as Scirpus cernuus.
  • The Isolepis cernua can trigger skin irritation in most people.
  • Fiber Optic Grass is poisonous for both humans and animals if consumed.
  • The fronds of the Live Wire Grass plant shoot up like a fountain and are tipped with white flowers.
  • Fiber optic grass is often found in Northern Africa and parts of Southern Europe.
  • The fiber optic grass plant thrives when housed in a sturdy pot.
  • The Live Wire Grass plant will grow to be a foot tall or long when housed indoors.
  • Fiber Optic Grass grows in marshlands in the wild.
  • This plant is propagated by planting seeds in the spring.

Fiber optic grass is not really grass, but rather a fun looking sedge. Most people buy this plant because of the unique way the fronds develop. This variable evergreen is a sedge that looks a bit lit a tuft of hair with white tips at the ends. It mostly grows in marshes and is considered a marginal water plant. It can be found in areas that have peat such as by the sea.

Fiber Optic Grass
Fiber Optic Grass

Fiber Optic Grass Features: An Overview

  • The botanical name of fiber optic grass is Isolepis cernua.
  • You can grow fiber optic grass outdoors or indoors.
  • This plant is a form of ornamental sedge which perfect for indoor cultivation.
  • The Isolepis cernua is toxic if eaten.
  • Known for its flower tipped foliage, the fiber optic plant blooms spring through fall.
  • This plant is an evergreen perennial making it a great plant to have year-round.
  • The Fiber Optic Grass plant originated from marsh areas that are rich in organic material.
  • The live wire plant originally hails from Southern Europe and Northern Africa
  • The fiber optic plant grows best in full sun or at least bright light.

Growing The Fiber Optic Grass

Growing Isolepis cernua is not difficult. It has a tendency to grow in clumps that spill over the side as it matures. It can be grown as a hanging plant or placed in a tall planter for dramatic visual effect.

The fiber optic grass-like sedge is a great addition to any flowering plant display or full foliage garden. The Isolepis cernua grows slowly and is also an evergreen plant. This perennial sedge loves warmth and moisture, just like the marshes from which it originates. It needs an ample amount of sunlight in order to maintain proper growth.

Isolepis cernua
Isolepis cernua

The best soil for the fiber optic grass plant is a potting mix that is peat moss based. One of the most commonly available at any nursery is an African violet potting mix. The plant should be fertilized once a month during the growing season and every other month in the winter. Use a fertilizer that is water-soluble and balanced. It is critical that the fertilizer be diluted by half to prevent overfeeding.

This plant can be added to a water garden in addition to being grown in a traditional manner. It is important to let the roots get used to water by degrees when acclimating it to a water garden atmosphere. All this plant needs for proper growth is healthy soil and a lot of sunlight. The plant is prized for its attractive foliage, however, it produces attractive white blooms all through the growing season.

Watering Fiber Optic Grass

It is important to water your Isolepis cernua plant generously and often. It must have soil that is constantly moist or it will begin to wither and die. The soil should never be allowed to dry out fully regardless of the season. If your plant has leaves that are starting to turn yellow or even brown, then it is not getting enough water. It thrives in soggy soil since it is a marsh native.

Fiber optic plants need a moderate amount of humidity, generally 40% relative humidity when cultivated indoors. Normal room temperatures all year long are the best environment for both young and mature plants.

Temperatures that range between 65 and 80 degrees are the best. They can live outside in direct sunlight, but if the temperatures fall below 60, they will need to be brought inside. The fiber optic plant is not frost tolerant so keep that in mind when planting, watering, and caring for your plant.

Mini Fiber Optic Grass, From Amazon

Propagating Fiber Optic Grass

When you are ready to grow and multiply your fiber optic grass plants, you can purchase seeds for easy propagation. Isolepis cernua should be repotted in the spring with fresh soil. Every couple of years it is a good idea to increase the pot size.

The fiber optic plant can be propagated from seeds, but it can also be divided when a mature plant is moved to a new or larger pot. To propagate your fiber optic plant from a mature seed, simply divide the root ball gently into equal parts. Plant each ball in new pots and anchor with fresh potting mix. Place the plants in the sun and maintain a moist, warm atmosphere as the roots take hold.

When propagating your fiber optic plant from seeds, make sure to plant them in the early part of spring. Use a fresh batch of rich soil with organic materials mixed in. The soil should be kept moist and try to maintain a temperature of 70 degrees during the germination process.

When planting, instead of burying the seeds deeply, plant them just under the surface with only a light layer of fresh soil. Avoid packing the seeds into the soil, or they will have trouble sprouting.

Isolepis cernua Fiber Optic Grass 100 Seeds, From Amazon

Conclusion

Are you looking for a way to electrify your surroundings? Perhaps you just want to add a little touch of nature to your home without much effort. The fiber optic plant is an attractive option that will tick all those boxes and more. The plant may look and feel like a form of grass, but it is actually a sedge. Native to the marshes and warm climates, this easy to grow plant is indoor friendly. It is generally pet resistant and loves wet spaces.

If you plan to grow your fiber optic grass outside, it is worth noting that deer won’t eat this plant. It grows well in USDA zones 8-11 but can live indoors in any climate. You can pot this plant, or hang this plant for dramatic effect. Fiber optic grass is highly ornamental in nature with is delicate long fronds that at tipped with attractive baby flowers. The thin fronds paired with the white flowers make the plant look like a natural waterfall of sparkle tipped stars. They also have been widely compared to fiber-optic wires which is what gave them their clever name.

The Isolepis cernua is toxic for pets and humans so keep that in mind if you are considering adding this plant to your collection. It grows well in a mix of peat moss and potting soil and needs partial sun in order to survive. In full sun and in the wild, the Isolepis cernua can reach amazing lengths that give it an unforgettable look. You can prune the plant to help curb its growth or to create a pleasing shape within the confines of its pot or planter.

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Hollie Carter

Hollie is a life-long gardener, having started helping her Dad work on their yard when she was just 5. Since then she has gone on to develop a passion for growing vegetables & fruit in her garden. She has an affinity with nature and loves to share her knowledge gained over a lifetime with readers online. Hollie has written for a number of publications and is now the resident garden blogger here at GardenBeast. Contact her at hollie@gardenbeast.com or follow on twitter https://twitter.com/greenholliec

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