Growing angelica in gardens is a centuries old tradition that gardeners keep alive today because of the herb's amazing flavor profile and its heavenly scent. Given a spot of land to grow that is cool and moist, it will grow almost effortlessly and reward you with a delightful bounty that looks pretty and can be used for whatever culinary creations you feel like adding it to.
Traditionally angelica has been an herb used to flavor several alcohols especially absinthe, Chartreuse, gin, vermouth, and various herbal bitters. The plant is also often used to flavor egg and fish dishes, or can be candied and eaten by itself.
If you are not a chef and are just looking for a sweet-smelling plant that adds some height to your garden design, this may be the plant for you. Or, if you have an area in your yard that gets a bit too much moisture, angelica could be a great fit.
|Botanical Name||Angelica archangelica|
|Plant Type||Herbaceous biennial|
|Mature Size||3 to 6 ft. tall|
|Sun Exposure||Full sun, part shade|
|Soil Type||Rich, moist soil|
|Soil pH||Slightly acidic|
|Bloom Time||June to August|
|Flower Color||Green, White|
|Hardiness Zones||Zones 4-7, USDA|
|Native Area||Europe, Greenland, West Siberia|
Once you get your angelica started and placed in the right spot, it will grow on its own and be almost maintenance free. This herb is biennial which means it will take 2 years or longer for the plant to come into bloom and produce seeds.
Expect to see a rosette of leaves with a short center stalk in the first growing season. The second year the plant will send up a stalk 4 to 6 feet tall with an abundance of green or white flowers. Angelica is one of those plants that needs a gardener's patience but it is well worth the wait. Luckily, even during the first year, you can harvest leaves from your plants to use before your angelica plant flowers.
The second year the plant produces seeds that self sow easily, creating a nice never-ending supply of angelica in your garden for as long as you want.
Angelica's light preference is dependent on your weather. Angelica is native to colder climates and prefers cooler, moister soils. If you live in an area that tends to be warm, it is a good idea to place your angelica in a location that receives partial shade. When grown in a cooler climates, this herb will need full sun.
Since angelica is highly adaptable, the only strict requirement regarding soil is moisture; it must be moist. Other than that, almost any conditions will do, but it will thrive in slightly acidic soil, with a pH no higher than 7.0. You can test the soil pH easily with a simple test, then amend as needed, but your plant should not suffer unless the soil is greatly alkaline.
If your angelica patch is not located in a place that receives consistent moisture from sufficient rainfall or run off, it is vital that you water the plant often. Your herb's soil should always be damp and cool to the touch but not drenched.
Temperature and Humidity
The native temperature range of angelica is, for the most part, cool. If you live in USDA Zones 4-7, your angelica should do perfectly fine.
Like most herbs, there is no need to fertilize your angelica. You may find it beneficial to mix some compost into the site where you intend to plant, but that should be all you need to do.
How to Grow Angelica Plant from Seed
While propagation using mature plants is possible, angelica has a very deep taproot that can become easily damaged, so starting from seed is the easiest and most successful method. To propagate angelica from seed, the easiest method is to you start in early fall by locating a usually moist area where the plant can grow. Place a sheet of lightproof black plastic over the area to kill any vegetation, then remove the plastic just before the first frost. Rake the area, removing any remaining grass or vegetation, and break up the soil. Wet the soil before pressing your angelica seed evenly about 1/4 inch into the soil. Angelica needs to stratify or have a period of cold or warmth before germination, so let it go over the winter. As the spring thaw occurs, begin applying regular moisture to the seedbed. You should see signs of germination as soon as the soil temperature begins to warm.
To sow indirectly, start seeds in peat pots that can be directly planted or torn away. You can stratify the seeds before planting by placing them in a plastic bag with moist peat and sand and refrigerating for 21 to 60 days. Or you can plant in peat pots in the fall and leave the pots out over the winter uncovered. Your planting medium is going to be a mix of peat moss, perlite, and sand. Keep this moist and remove the seedlings before they reach 4 inches and begin to establish that troublesome tap root.