Calm plant, Acorus calamus - cultivation, care and use

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Calm plant, Acorus calamus - cultivation, care and use: calm

Ackermann, Magenwurz, German Ginger or Zitwer - hardly another plant has as many popular names as the Kalmus. The Asian plant conquered Central Europe in the 16th century and was cultivated as a medicinal herb in many gardens until just a few decades ago. In the meantime, many gardeners have come to appreciate the benefits of Acorus calamus as a companion plant to swamp beds and ponds. The cultivation and care of the water-loving shrubs are simple and succeed without much effort.


Acorus calamus is an interesting plant that is widely used in domestic gardens. The plant with the piston-like flowers is native to Asia and is found mainly on the banks and wetlands. In order to optimally promote the growth of the up to 100 cm high perennial, similar conditions should be made available to the Kalmus in our latitudes. The edge of ponds and small streams has proven itself for this task. The large varieties of the "common calamus" are suitable as a decorative and subtle background planting. In the marsh zone of herb spirals, the smaller varieties, such as the white striped calamus, come into their own.
  • The location should be bright.
  • Avoid dark, shady areas.
  • Calm needs a minimum distance of about 60 cm.
If sufficient moisture is present and the rhizome roots do not dry out, older specimens can cope with a full sun. The strong midday sun can cause considerable damage to younger plants. Protect the calamus or ensure that the plants are exposed to direct sunlight only in the morning and afternoon.
When choosing the planting place you should consider the strong expansion of the perennial plant. The German Zitwer, as Kalmus is alternatively called, is undemanding and tends to strong growth. In order to facilitate the access and care of the plant, you should cultivate the Asian perennial in an easily accessible place. With a bucket Kalmus can reasonably be kept in check. In this way, you can plant the plant with the grassy leaves in small gardens. A pond is not mandatory.


Humus rich and humid - these requirements should meet the ground for the Kalmus. At a ph value between 6 and 7, the plant feels well and increasingly forms its rhizome-like roots. Obstacles, such as the rhizome of nearby plant neighbors, are pushed aside. A coarse-grained soil, such as used in gravel beds, is unsuitable for Acorus calamus.
  • The soil should have a light sand or peat content.
  • Drainage is not necessary.
  • Small amounts of lime are tolerated.
Calf plants in the tub need a similar substrate. Normal potting soil from the trade is suitable. Mix in a handful of sand, humus and clay. If you do not cultivate the Asian plant for culinary purposes, you can keep the perennial in hydroponic culture. Instead of organic soil, the substrate in this particular case is an inorganic material. For this task, for example expanded clay, basalt and gravel come into question. Also mineral wool and polystyrene flakes have proven themselves. The Advantage of Hydroponics: The plants have large amounts of water in their pots. The regular control during casting is eliminated. At the same time you do not have to pay attention to a special composition or consistency of the soil.

Pouring and fertilizing

Calm - Acorus calamus

While many garden plants are sensitive to "wet feet" and excess water and rain water must drain away quickly, it can not be damp enough for the calamus. The reed-like plant feels well in the banks of swamps and ponds. The stems of the perennial shrub can be covered with water to the centimeter, without the fungus fungus causing the gardeners' feared root rot in the exotic plants. The dense root system of the calamus must not dry out. If the perennial herbaceous plant is planted in normal soil, check the moisture of the substrate regularly on hot summer days. Even short-term dryness can cause damage to the plant.
Calf plants need sufficient nutrients from March to September. In the garden pond, this takes place via the minerals and algae dissolved in the water. In addition, a special fertilizer ensures that the water and marsh plants are supplied with the necessary substances.
  • Mulch the beds in the spring and late summer and work in compost.
  • Use liquid fertilizer on potted plants every 3 to 4 weeks.
  • During the winter months is not fertilized.
Discolored and limp-hanging leaves are in some cases an indication of a nutrient deficiency. Fertilize immediately so as not to weaken the shrubs even further.Newly created ponds and swamp areas lack the important microorganisms in the water that supply the plants with minerals. In the beginning, get back to a special product from the specialized trade.


That Kalmus belongs to the arum family is a myth. The perennials are counted as belonging to the family of the calamus family (Acoraceae) and a consumption of the plant parts does not cause strong poisoning phenomena. The reed-like reed plants have a variety of important ingredients that can be used in dried or ground form. The cultivation or planting of marsh plants takes place in spring. Only a few varieties of calamus are hardy, especially young or freshly set plants are not yet able to adequately protect against frost and cold temperatures. If there is a possibility, you should plant calamus in the shore zone of a garden pond.
  • Acorus calamus can be planted in a water depth of 10 - 15 cm.
  • With group planting one can fall below the minimum distance of 60 cm.
  • A pot for pond plants prevents the strong propagation of the perennials.
The plants should not come into direct contact with the pond liner to avoid damage to it. With coarse gravel, you can effectively prevent Kois or other inquisitive water inhabitants from exposing the roots of the plants. Kalmus can be easily combined with other pond plants, such as marsh marigolds and sedges.
The cultivation in the bed is simple:
  • Lift planting hole.
  • This should be twice the circumference of the roots of the calamus family.
  • Relax the surrounding soil sufficiently.
  • Prepare substrate with clay, sand or peat.
  • Apply compost in the planting hole.
  • Insert calamus up to the upper root neck.
  • Fill cavities with soil and press firmly.
  • Pour vigorously.

Tip: Plant calamus in a small depression where pouring and rainwater can last for a long time.

Cultivation in the bucket

You can easily keep calamus in a large container year-round. The care differs only minimally from the plants in the field. The advantage: bucket plants can be implemented if necessary. In this way, the Kalmus is suitable as a decorative planting of terraces and arbors. With a stature height of over 100 cm, the plant can be used as a screen. If the container does not have drainage holes on the bottom, you can turn the container into a "mini pond". Replace the water at irregular intervals to prevent rot and mosquito larvae.
On a drainage of porous material, as is common in other plants, Kalmus does not need. Rather the opposite is the case, the valuable moisture should be preserved in the vessel. Instead of a small "pond" you can fall back on a large coaster or planter. About every 2 years, the marsh plants need a larger bucket. Alternatively, you can rejuvenate the perennial by rooting.


To spread the Acorus calamus you need to take care of it in the same location, unless you have planted a rhizome barrier. The ideal plant can expand strongly under optimal care conditions in the width. If you want a controlled increase, the following tips apply:
  • Elderly, dig up large plants in spring.
  • Using an ax, split the root ball of the calamus into evenly sized pieces.
  • Insert the individual parts as usual.
In our latitudes, it is almost impossible to harvest germinable seeds from the Kalmusgewächsen. Access root division or plants from the gardening trade.

To cut

Calm - Acorus calamus

The "German Ginger" is deciduous. In autumn, the grassy leaves wither and assume a dull, brown color. The pruning of the foliage takes place only in spring. In winter-mild regions, it is possible that the calamus plants can hibernate in the garden. The foliage is tied together and protects the root ball from cold and frost in the cold season. Disagreeable and disturbing individual drives can be removed at ground level at any time during the main growing season.


The Asian marsh plants can not cope with minus temperatures. If the thermometer drops below 5° C, calmus stops growing, the resting phase begins. If you have the opportunity, you should move the perennials in the fall to a frost-proof, bright room.
  • The winter quarters should have a temperature between 5° - 10° C.
  • Avoid sources of heat and direct sunlight.
  • The root ball should not dry out even in winter.
In the bed you can apply a thick layer of bark mulch and a warming fleece to protect the plants from complete freezing. The leaves are loosely tied together.


In Asia, Kalmus is grown not only as an ornamental plant but also as a useful medicinal herb. The plant is said to help with stomach and digestive complaints, anti-inflammatory and stimulate the appetite. The essential oils are used as tea and tincture. In China, the perennial has been used since 3700 BC as a life extension.These are the underground shoots, colloquially referred to as rhizome roots, which are used in the kitchen. The plant parts are cut into small pieces, peeled and dried.
The enjoyment of Kalmus in any form is to be treated with caution. A few ingredients have a slightly hallucinogenic effect. For this reason, the entire plant was classified as slightly toxic. Who wants to process the greenhouse for his pantry, should, in the interest of their own health, deal with the exact amount and application thoroughly. For pond owners, the function of Kalmus as a filter is interesting. The marsh plants not only look fancy in the shore area, but also reduce the harmful substances in the water. In this way, the pond is enriched with oxygen and minimizes the risk of algae.

Fight diseases and pests

If the requirements in terms of care and location are met, defective insects and diseases play no special role in Acorus calamus. Even snails avoid the grassy leaves of the perennial. Dryness and a full sun are the only factors that can cause the Asian plant. In a warm winter habitat, the likelihood of calamus being affected by spider mites increases. A spiky, fine web and a sticky surface reveal the pests, even before you get to see them. The following countermeasures have proven to combat:
  • Increase humidity.
  • Apply adhesive traps.
  • Wash off heavily soiled areas with soapy water.
  • Completely remove shoots in case of overpopulation.
The parts of plants should be disposed of with household waste, where the pests can not spread. The complete pruning of the foliage does no harm to the plant itself.
Kalmus is a versatile and robust plant that visually brings accents to the garden. Versatile and healthy, the bitter-rich marsh plant forgives many care mistakes. In addition to its culinary advantages, the aromatic perennial can be used as a decorative screen and to the border of ornamental beds and ponds.

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