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How to Grow Calamus

By Katie Leigh ; Updated September 21, 2017

Calamus, also known as Acorus calamus or sweet flag, is a plant that is mainly found in wet soil in areas such as wetlands. Calamus grows best in partial shade and requires a lot of moisture to develop. When grown, the rhizome of the plant is harvested and either consumed whole or pressed for essential oils.

Weed a patch of deep, rich soil by hand. Use a rake to break up the dirt several inches deep and remove large roots and rocks from the planting area. Water the area thoroughly, so that the soil is completely moist.

Slice calamus rhizomes into several large chunks using a sharp knife. Each piece of rhizome should have two or three buds (small eyes poking out of the side).

Dig a hole that's about 2 inches deep and place a calamus chunk in the hole. Cover the root with dirt. Repeat until all the calamus is planted. For best results, plant the rhizomes on a cloudy day; too much sun can damage the cuttings.

Water the calamus at least once a day. Muddy soil is best for the root's propagation. Eventually, grasslike stems with flowers will sprout from the rhizomes. This is when you know the rhizomes are growing and developing.

Harvest the calamus rhizomes by digging them out of the ground either in the spring or fall. Mature calamus should be reddish or greenish-white in color, have a firm, spongy texture and be 4 to 6 inches long.


Things You Will Need

  • Rake
  • Calamus rhizomes
  • Sharp knife


  • Calamus rhizomes can stay in the ground throughout the year, but you'll want to harvest and replant fairly frequently. Calamus that has been growing for more than 2 years isn't likely to be edible, as the root tends to turn woody and hollow as it develops.