Growing Crops: Angelica

Angelica can be grown as either a biennial or a perennial – although its existence as a perennial is short-lived, lasting only 3 or 4 years. It does not bloom the first year, and will die after flowering the second year. If you are unconcerned with the flowers and are growing it for the stems and leaves, clip the stems before the flowers bloom each year until it finally dies on its own.

Be sure to read Growing Herbs 101 in conjunction with this post.

Best Climate to Grow: Any temperate climate in an area protected from strong winds.

Light Requirements: Angelica prefers partial shade.

Soil Requirements: Angelica thrives in moist soil that is rich in organic matter, with a slightly acidic pH. Amend as needed before planting.

Feeding and Water Requirements: Annual compost application should take care of any feeding needs. If you live in a dry climate, you will need to give your angelica plants extra water. Drip irrigation is strongly recommended, as the soil must remain moist. Mulching will also retain moisture and keep weeds at bay.

When to Plant: If sowing directly into the ground outside, plant in late summer or early Fall. If starting the seeds indoors, plant in early Spring and make sure to harden off and transplant into your garden before the seedlings have developed a taproot.

Planting Depth and Spacing: If planting from seed, plant the seeds on inch deep. Thin the seedlings to 6 inches apart, then as they grow larger to 2 feet apart, and finally about 5 feet apart, as the plants can get as tall as 8 feet. If planting seedlings or young plants, plant them at 5-foot intervals so that they have plenty of room to fill in.

Container Requirements: You will need to take extra care when growing angelica in a container. The container should be large and fairly deep if it is to support a plant that gets up to 8 feet tall.
Drip irrigation
specifically for containers is highly recommended, and regular additions of compost to the soil will help ensure that it is getting enough nutrients to survive.

Harvesting and Storage: You will harvest nothing the first year. During the second year and beyond you can snip the leaves for tea or sachet pillows or to cook with certain tart fruits to help reduce the acidity, and cut the stems to use in salads or for crystallizing and decorating frosted cakes.

Harvesting Seeds: You will have to allow your angelica plant to flower if you want to harvest seeds, so it might be a good idea to plant several of them. One or two for using leaves and stems, one or two for self-seeding, one or two for harvesting seeds, etc. The seeds need to be collected during the late Summer when they are ripe. They can be used to make tea or to flavor various liqueurs. If you intend to replant the seeds, they must dry first, and they do not last long in storage – no more than 3 months.

Pests to Monitor: Leaf-borers. Visit our pest control beneficials, barriers, scare tactics, homemade organic pesticide, and commercial organic pesticide pages to see your options and choose your weapons.

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