Growing Anise Herb in Northeast Florida Herb Gardens

(Pimpinella Anisum L.)

Anise Herb / pimpinella anisum L. For Northeast Florida Origins:

Anise Herb / pimpinella anisum L. is a relative of parsley and originated in Egypt, Crete, Asia Minor, and Greece. Not to be confused with Florida Anise / Illicum floridanum, and Illicum parvifolium, which although they go by the same common name are large native shrub plants, are not annual herbs. 

It has been highly prized and cultivated for it’s tiny dried fruits, most commonly referred to as Anise seed. Both leaves and seeds, or fruits are edible and have been used for culinary and medicinal purposes.

Anise is a hard to find annual herb plant selection for Northeast Florida, but can easily be grown from seed.

The sweet and spicy aroma and flavor of Anise fruits make them an excellent addition to cakes, soups, and flavored drinks.

Both leaves and seeds can be used to add a spicy scent to potpourri.

Leaves of Anise herb plants can also be used to make a tea to help sooth a cough or cold.

Growing Season for Northeast Florida Anise Herb / pimpinella anisum L. :

A warm season annual herb plant, Anise can be planted from seed in early spring here in the North Florida garden. Temperatures should remain above 70 degrees for the 4-6 days that it will require for the Anise seed to germinate. From seed sowing, to leaf and fruit harvest, anise requires 120 days of warm weather.

Sun Exposure for Anise Herb / pimpinella anisum L. in Northeast Florida:

Anise Herb / pimpinella anisum L. can be planted in a full sun or shaded location. Here in the Jacksonville and St. Augustine area, it is recommended to have the plant in an area of the garden that will receive afternoon shade.

Soil Preference for Anise Herb / pimpinella anisum L. :

Moist, but well draining soils. Anise, although not particular about the soil components, is however, particular about soil moisture levels. Anise does not like variations in soil moisture. Keeping the soil consistently moist, but not wet, here in the Jacksonville and St. Augustine area garden, can be a near impossible challenge during the summer rains. It may be best to plant your Anise into a raised bed or container, where the soil will drain easily and moisture can be controlled by youth watering practices, rather than your Anise herb plants being subjected to soil drenching rains.

When planting Anise Herb / pimpinella anisum L. into the ground, amend the soil generously with compost. It acts as a sponge and helps to keep the soil moist and well drained. 

When planting Anise into a raised bed or container, consider adding a soil moisture retention granule like ‘Soil Moist’ to your potting soil mix to help keep your well draining potting soils consistently moist.

Fertilizer Requirements of Anise Herb / pimpinella anisum L. :

Anise is not fond of over fertilization. When planting in well composted soils, little if any fertilizer may be needed. If you find that your plant needs a little bit of help, fertilize with a mixture of fish emulsions and seaweed at one ounce of each per gallon of water. Put into a sprayer and water every other week or as needed with the mixed solution. If your leaves still look a bit lackluster consider a bit of blood meal fertilizer.

Or you may decide to skip the fish and seaweed fertilizers altogether as Anise does not require much help once planted. If you find your plant looks lack luster for any reason. consider making a batch of compost tea, water your anise herb generously and repeat as needed.

Size of Anise Herb / pimpinella anisum L. when Mature:

The mature size on a Anise Herb / pimpinella anisum L. should be somewhere between 18-24 inches in height. 

Sowing Anise Herb / pimpinella anisum L. Seeds into Northeast Florida Soils:

Anise herb seeds germinate easily and can be directly sown right into their final destination in the garden or planted into pots indoors during late winter and transplanted into the garden after all danger of frost has passed.

Make sure when sowing Anise seed directly into the garden in early spring, that the temperature remains above 70 degrees, as Anise needs warmth for the seeds to sprout. Sow seeds in rows 1/8 of an inch deep and keep them consistently moist. Seeds will germinate in 4-6 days.

Harvesting Anise Herb / pimpinella anisum L. in the Northeast Florida Landscape:

Anise leaves can be harvested during the growing season as needed. They are highly aromatic, and when chopped finely and sprinkled sparingly over vegetable dishes, or salads, they add a nice sweet licorice – like flavor.

Anise herbs will slower in summer, the light yellow to white flowers appear in small clusters or umbels above the foliage. The flowers will mature into little green fruits, which can be harvested and dried as anise seed. Anise seeds will be a grey brown color when dried.