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​Sweet Flag, Acorus calamus

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Sweet Flag – Acorus calamus

The sweet flag plant is a perennial. It is made up primarily of pairs of leaves that sprout from a firm base root. The yellow-green leaves reach vertically toward the sun and can grow to be up to five feet tall. The leaves are somewhat narrow and flat, coming to a sharp point. They have smooth edges which tend to be crimped or wavy. A distinctive feature of sweet flag grass is a spadix that grows out of the flower stem. It is a rounded cylinder that is solid and coated in tiny flowers, which tend to be more yellow in hue than the leaves. The flowers are characterized by giving off a pleasant odor. 

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Sweet flag is hardy in USDA hardiness zones six through nine, although it is still generally considered challenging enough for zones 5 through 11. The soil requirements for the sweet flag are pretty minimal; it needs only average soil, as long as the soil is consistently moist. Sweet flag grows best under the full sun if the soil is wet enough but can benefit from some shade in warmer climates. 

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Sweet flag

The sweet flag can also be grown in standing water.

It is a slow-spreading plant and can grow to a width of roughly two feet within five years. The plant’s name comes from its most distinguishing characteristic, the sweet aroma it emits when crushed. Whenever the leaves are stepped on or bruised by you or wildlife, they will give off a sweet fragrance. As a marginal plant, one of its uses in landscaping is to spruce up the edge of your small pond, as it excels in growth near standing water.

The sweet flag can also make an excellent ground cover or be a feature growing out of your small pond.

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