Acorus gramineus 'variegatus', or Miniature Sweet Flag, is a water-loving perennial native to Japan. Plants are clump forming and spread by creeping rhizomes. Leaves are light green and white, about 0.25 inches (0.6 cm) wide, and will reach up to 18 inches (45 cm) tall. The leaves are in fan-like tufts resembling irises. The plants are evergreen in warmer climates, but they will die back to ground level in colder climates. Although they are water lovers, this species can take quite a bit of drought. I have seen this plant used as an accent in dry rock gardens. They are very easy to grow and are hardy in USDA zone 5-10.
Blooming: In the greenhouse, the plants will bloom in June-July. The small spadixes are 3 inches (7.5 cm) long and are not showy at all.
Culture: Acorus gramineus 'variegatus' need full sun to light shade with a moist to wet soil mix. In the greenhouse, we use a soil mix consisting of 1 part peat moss to 2 parts loam to 1 part sand. We keep our plants in at least 4 inches (10 cm) of water all year long. We fertilize the plants monthly with a balanced fertilizer diluted to ˝ the strength recommended on the label. Where they are kept in our greenhouse, the temperature never falls below 50°F (10°C) at night. The plants grow very slowly and need to be divided every 2 years for optimum growth.
Propagation: Acorus gramineus 'variegatus' is propagated by division in the spring.
Acorus gramineus 'variegatus' was featured as Plant of the Week December 21, 2007-January 3, 2008.
Guide to Past Plants-of-the-Week:
Cal's Plant of the Week was provided as a service by the University of Oklahoma Department of Microbiology & Plant Biology and specifically the late Cal Lemke, who used to be OU's botany greenhouse grower and an avid gardener at home as well. If the above links don't work, then try the overview site. You may also like to look at the thumbnail index. ©1998-2012 All rights reserved.