Papyrus (Cyperus papyrus) plants grow as graceful tall reeds for your backyard water garden, in a boggy garden bed or as a patio accent in containers. The clumps of grass-like reeds develop tufts at the top, which later form seeds. Papyrus grows in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 9 and 10, where it provides year-round texture and interest. You can prune out the old stems as needed throughout the year. Remove the tufts after they turn brown and begin to form seed.
Fill a small bucket with 1 part bleach and 9 parts water. Rinse the pruning shears in the solution to disinfect them before pruning and after each cut.
Cut off the tufts that form at the top of the papyrus stems before they form seed to prevent self-seeding. If you're not concerned about self-seeding, remove the tufts once they begin to become ragged and unattractive.
Examine the stems and locate those that are dead, weak or broken. Follow the stem down to its base, where it attaches to the main rhizome.
Cut through the stem flush to the rhizome, removing it completely. Repeat for each dead or damaged stem.
Dispose of or compost the pruned stems promptly. Leaving the stems in the water garden to decay can result in pest or disease problems.