Acorus calamus ‘Variegatus’

(Sweetflag, Variegated)


Hardiness Zones:

 10a  10b  4a  4b  5a  5b  6a  6b  7a  7b  8a  8b  9a  9b

Quick Overview:

Sweet flag is a deciduous, spreading, marginal aquatic perennial that features iris-like, sword-shaped leaf blades (to 3/4″ wide) typically growing to 30″ tall. Mature leaves have one wavy edge and a prominent midrib. It thrives in wet, boggy soils and is commonly grown as a foliage accent in water gardens and pond margins. Although its foliage resembles that of a large iris, sweet flag is actually a member of the acorus family. Insignificant tiny greenish flowers appear in 2-4″ long spadixes (without showy spathes), appearing just below the leaf tips in late spring. Flowers give way to tiny fleshy berries. ‘Variegatus’ features variegated leaf blades that are striped with white and green. Foliage and rhizomes are sweetly fragrant when bruised. The species is native to Europe, but has naturalized throughout much of the U. S.

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Easily grown in average, medium to wet soils in full sun to part shade. Grows well in both boggy conditions (including shallow standing water to 9″ deep) and consistently moist garden soils. In water gardens, plant rhizomes slightly below the soil surface in moist soils at the water’s edge or in containers set in shallow water. Rhizomes or existing clumps may also be planted in containers sunk into wet boggy areas to help prevent any possible aggressive spread. Scorched leaf tips will occur if soils are allowed to dry out. Appreciates some relief from hot summer sun (e.g., afternoon shade or filtered sun) when grown in hot summer climates.

Additional information

Common Name

Sweetflag, Variegated

Botanical Name

Acorus calamus 'Variegatus'


1 gallon

Evergreen or Deciduous


Hardiness Zone

10a, 10b, 4a, 4b, 5a, 5b, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9a, 9b

Growth Rate


Light Requirements

Part-shade, Part-sun


2 to 2 1/2'


1 to 3'

Soil Condition

Wet Soils

Water Needs




Foliage Color

Variegated green/white

Deer Resistant


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