Calamagrostis x acutiflora 'Overdam' - Variegated Reed Grass

This Variegated reed grass shares the versatile qualities of the larger green form (C. 'Karl Foerster'), with the additional attribute of shade tolerance. It is very useful in Japanese gardens where a sense of scale is essential.

The white and green leaves of 'Overdam' and its smaller size make it more refined than 'Karl Foerster' which in some ways it is more pleasing than its big brother, Karl. With ample moisture it will do well in full sun, but likes a little shade in hot climates. Particularly attractive along a woodland edge.

Excellent cut flower.

Says C.B. in Anchorage, Alaska: "This plant thrives here in my Zone 3/4 garden!"

Description: cool season; clump forming
Foliage - variegated green/white; medium blade width; 50-75 cm (20-30") tall
Flowers - June through July at 125-150 cm (50-60"); will most likely remain upright throughout the winter

Ideal conditions: full sun to part shade (particularly in hot climates); moist to wet fertile soil; tolerates a wide range of soil types including dry sandy soil; thrives in clay soil.

Coldest zone: 3 (find your zone; further info on plant hardiness)

Landscape uses: works well as a specimen or incorporated into a border; makes a good low screen, especially in somewhat shady areas. Use as a backdrop for roses and other perennials. Wonderful dried, either on its own or in arrangements.

Partner with: Veronicastrum, Aster, Rudbeckia, Sedum, Eupatorium, Monarda, Boltonia asteroides 'Snowbank', Sorghastrum nutans 'Indian Steel', Crambe cordifolia, taller Alliums

Season of interest: May to winter

When to plant: early to late spring and early fall

When to cut down: in early spring, just before the new growth starts

Drought tolerance rating: 2 (water to root depth once every 2 weeks); further info

Recommended spacing between plants: 50-100 cm (16-36") why such a difference?

Pronunciation: Calamagrostis (kal-ah-mah-GROS-tis) acutiflora (ah-KYOO-tih-flor-ah)


More ornamental grasses

Compare Calamagrostis acutiflora 'Overdam' to our other grasses in this handy chart.

Calamagrostis acutiflora 'Overdam' - Variegated Reed Grass
Calamagrostis acutiflora 'Overdam'


Photo with house in background is credited to
Free Spirit Nursery, Langley, BC