Skip to main content
Fiber optic grass

Fact sheet: Fiber optic grass

Fiber optic grass is a fun plant (even though it isn’t really a grass), that most people acquire because of its unusual appearance. Isolepis cernua (=Scirpus cernuus), in the sedge family (Cyperaceae), is a variable evergreen species with a mop-like tuft of fi ne green stems. It is found in wet places, growing as a marginal water plant or in sandy or peaty areas near the sea in its native range of western and southern Europe, the British Isles, North Africa, the west coast of North America (California to British Columbia and Alaska), and Australia and New Zealand.

This bright green, grass-like plant has small flower spikes at the stem tips reminiscent of those fiber optic lamps, hence the common name (it doesn’t change colors like the electric version, though). It is sometimes marketed as “Livewire”, “Live Wire” or “Fairy Lights”. These easy-to-grow plants grow upright as a young plant and then gracefully droop as they mature. The 10-12” clumps of fi ne, glossy, hair-like leaves can reach a spread of 20” at maturity. The foliage may yellow as temperatures drop in fall or turn brown if the plant doesn’t receive enough moisture.

Fact sheet: Fiber optic grass

Sold at Nassau County Master Gardener Plant Sale