How to Grow and Care for Angelica Plant

Angelica plant with brown-purple trunk and branches with green starburst-like foliage

The Spruce / Evgeniya Vlasova

In This Article

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 for you.

Common Name Angelica
Botanical Name Angelica archangelica 
Family Apiaceae
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

Angelica Care

Once you get your angelica started and placed in the right spot, it will grow on its own and be almost maintenance-free. Propagating your plants may take a bit of work, but that will be your biggest challenge, and we will help you through that.

After your plants germinate and are transplanted, it is just a matter of waiting for this biennial to come to maturation, a two-year process, 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 of your angelica will bring beautiful flowers that self sow easily, creating a nice never-ending supply of angelica in your garden for as long as you want.

Angelica plant with yellow-green starburst-like foliage on end of branches in wooded area

The Spruce / Evgeniya Vlasova

Angelica plant with green starburst-like foliage on reddish-brown branches in sunlight

The Spruce / Evgeniya Vlasova

Angelica plant with large green leaves clustered together in sunlight

The Spruce / Evgeniya Vlasova

Light

Angelica's light preference is dependent on your weather. Angelica is a native to colder climates and therefore 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 planting in a cooler climate, it would be wise to plant your herb in full sun.

Soil

Highly adaptable, the only real strict requirement regarding soil for your angelica 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.

Water

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 wet and cool to the touch but not drenched.

Temperature and Humidity

The native temperature range of angelica is, for the most part, cool. The areas where angelica has been introduced that it thrives in are, like its native range, cool with seasons. If you live in USDA Zones 4-7, your angelica should do perfectly fine.

Fertilizer

Like most herbs, there is no need to fertilize your angelica. Upon planting, you may find it beneficial to mix some compost into the site where you plan to plant your angelica, but that should be all you need to do.

How to Grow Angelica Plant from Seed

While propagation from transplants 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 requires that that 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 just before the first frost. Rake the area, removing any remaining grass or vegetation, and break up the soil. Wet the soil before spreading your angelica seed evenly over the area. 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 will soon be welcome with a new angelica patch as soon as the temperature rises to a point to allow germination.

To sow indirectly, start seeds in peat pots that can be directly planted or torn away. There are two methods to use, stratify the seeds in a plastic bag in a moist peat and sand mix in the refrigerator for 21 to 60 days or plant the seeds 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 or establish that troublesome tap root.