Acorus (ak-or-us) is commonly called grassy-leaved sweet flag. Foliage and rhizomes are sweetly fragrant when bruised, hence the common name. When crushed, it releases a fragrance reminiscent of tangerine. The sweet scent of calamus oil is used in perfumes and potpourri. It has even been used in the production of gin and beer as a flavor smoother and enhancer.
It is a semi-evergreen, marginal aquatic perennial that features a grass-like tuft of narrow leaf blades that fan outward. It thrives in wet soils and is commonly grown in water gardens, pond margins and boggy areas for foliage accent or ground cover.
Acorus prefers to grow in fertile, constantly moist, acidic soil. However, it will tolerate a wide range of conditions as long as moisture is constantly available, including standing water up to 5 inches deep. In hot summer climates, without afternoon shade or filtered sun, leaf tips may scorch if allowed to dry out. A regular watering schedule during the first growing season will help establish root system. Propagate by division only, divide every 2 to 3 years in early spring.
Slowly naturalizes by creeping rhizomes and can form large colonies in the wild. This grass is not aggressively invasive, nor a true grass.
Native to bogs, it is great for bogs, containers, edging or as a groundcover, and ideal in water gardens, along streams or ponds, or anywhere soil moisture requirements can be met. Maintenance free and deer resistant.