Anise is a warm-season annual herb. Sow anise in the garden as early as 2 weeks after the average last frost date in spring. Anise requires a long, frost-free growing season of about 120 days.
Anise is grown for its seeds and leaves.
Anise is a low spreading bright green bushy plant that grows 12 to 24 inches tall and almost as wide. Lower leaves are broad and lobed; upper leaves are feathery with an airy habit. Anise flowers in midsummer, small yellowish-white flowers in umbrella-shaped clusters. The flowers are similar to Queen-Anne’s lace.
Where to Grow Anise
- Plant anise in full sun.
- Anise grows best in well-drained soil rich in organic matter. Anise will grow in poor soil.
- Add aged compost and commercial organic planting mix to the soil before planting anise.
- Anise prefers a soil pH of 6.0 to 6.7.
Anise Planting Time
- Sow anise in the garden as early as 2 weeks after the average last frost date in spring.
- Anise requires a long, frost-free growing season of about 120 days.
- Plants can be started indoors in plantable pots 8 weeks before the last spring frost. Transplant to the garden after all danger of frost is past.
Planting and Spacing Anise
- Sow anise seeds ¼ inch deep.
- When seedlings are 6 weeks old thin to 12 inches apart.
- Space rows 12 to 18 inches apart.
- Stake plants at planting time or plant in groups of 3 to 5 so that plants support one another.
- Grow one anise plant per household.
- Anise will self-seed in most gardens.
Container Growing Anise
- Anise grows easily in containers. Select a container at least 8 inches deep and wide.
Companion Plants for Anise
- Plant anise with cabbage, grapes; avoid planting with carrots, radishes.
Watering and Feeding Anise
- Keep anise regularly and evenly watered throughout the growing season and particularly just before harvest.
- Anise requires no special feeding; side dress plants with aged compost at midseason.
Caring for Anise
- Anise may require staking in windy gardens.
- Keep planting beds free of weeds.
- Anise has no serious pest problems. Anise oil is said to repel insects.
- Anise has no serious disease problems.
- Snip anise leaves for fresh use as needed. Pick leaves in summer before plants bloom.
- Harvest leaves in the morning; strip leaves for drying
- Seeds require more than 100 frost-free days to reach harvest. Collect seed heads while they are still green. Hang them in a warm, dry place to dry; enclose seedheads in a paper sack; thresh when dry or pasteurize them in an oven at 100°F (38°F) for 15 minutes.
- Complete the harvest before the first frost in fall.
How to Use Anise in the Kitchen
- Use fresh leaves in salads. Dried, frozen, or fresh leaves can be used with chicken, fish, and vegetables. Use seeds in baked good and salads.
- Leaves have fragrant, sweet, licorice notes, with mild peppery undertones.
- Seeds are subtly flavored sweet, licorice-like, and fruity.
Storing and Preserving Anise
- Hang stems to air dry leaves or strip leaves and dry them on a screen.
- Chopped leaves can be frozen.
- Dried anise seeds can be stored for several months in an airtight container.
Botanical name. Pimpinella anisum