Angelica Herb: How To Grow Angelica
By: Bonnie L. Grant, Certified Urban Agriculturist
Next time you have a martini, savor the flavor and remind yourself it comes from the Angelica root. Angelica herb is a European plant that has been a flavoring agent in many popular types of liquor, including gin and vermouth. The Angelica plant has a long history of use as a seasoning, medicinal and tea. Although not commonly cultivated, growing Angelica will increase the variety and interest of flavors in your herb garden.
Angelica plant (Angelica archangelica) is closely related to carrots and a member of the parsley family. The leaves of the plant are simple and uninteresting but may be dried and used in teas or as a seasoning. The umbrella-like flowers are particularly showy but only occur every two years and after bloom the plant often dies. The umbels are white and each spoke of the flower bears a dangling seed after the blooms are spent. Angelica herb has a pungent musky scent and sweet flavor that is recognizable in some of your favorite spirits. The root, leaves and seeds are all useful.
Angelica is a simple rosette in its first year with a small stalk that may grow 1 to 3 feet (30 to 91 cm.) tall. In the second year the plant abandons the rosette form and grows larger three sectioned leaves and a 4- to 6-foot (1 to 2 m.) stalk. The often used root is a thick fleshy piece of vegetation that reminds one of a huge pale carrot. Provide Angelica with plenty of room in the garden as it can spread 2 to 4 feet (61 cm. to 1 m.) wide.
Angelica is easy to propagate by seeds or division.
How to Plant Angelica
You should plant Angelica annually to ensure a continued supply of the herb. Angelica plant is considered a short-lived perennial or biennial. It flowers after two years and then either dies or may hang on for another year or two.
Growing Angelica indoors is optimum in cooler climates. Set the plants out before they get taller than 4 inches (10 cm.) , as they grow a long taproot and transplant is difficult if they get larger. Angelica herb can also be started from division of the roots in spring.
The herb prefers cool climates and a semi-shady to sunny location. If planted in a zone with hot summers, a dappled shade location will provide protection for the heat sensitive plant. Angelica herb thrives in moist fertile soils rich in organic matter. For best results, plant Angelica in slightly acidic soil. The plant is not drought tolerant and should not be allowed to dry out.
Angelica herb is easy to care for as long as it is in well drained soil with proper light exposure. Keep weeds away from the plant and maintain moderately moist soil. Water the plant from the base to prevent fungal diseases. Cut the stalk at the end of the first year to promote flowering in the second.
Watch for aphids, leaf miners and spider mites. Control the pests with blasts of water or insecticidal soap.
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How to grow angelica
Discover how to grow, harvest and store angelica in this useful Grow Guide.
Do not Plant in September
Plant does not flower in January
Plant does not flower in February
Plant does not flower in March
Plant does not flower in April
Plant does not flower in May
Plant does not flower in June
Plant does not flower in July
Plant does flower in August
Plant does not flower in September
Plant does not flower in October
Plant does not flower in November
Plant does not flower in December
Most ornamental angelicas are tall biennials with huge, domed umbelliferous flowerheads followed by delicate seed pods.
The ribbed, hollow stems are flushed pink and are traditionally candied for use in baking. As a plant, angelica makes a strong architectural statement, and works at the back of a border or in a wild part of the garden, alongside grasses and flowering perennials. All parts of angelica are highly aromatic and it has traditionally been used for medicinal as well as culinary purposes.
It’s good for including in wildlife planting as the flowers are attractive to pollinators and the seeds are eaten by birds.
Find out how to grow gorgeous angelicas in this handy Grow Guide.
Where to grow angelica
Grow angelica in moist soil in partial shade. Mulch annually with well-rotted manure or compost.
Sow seeds in autumn or late spring in modules or directly into the soil. Sow onto the surface of the soil or compost as the seeds need light to germinate. Cut back the stems and dig up the plant in the autumn of its second year, dividing the roots with a sharp knife. Repot these divisions into compost or directly into the soil where they are to grow.
If you want to make your own candied angelica, pick the tender young stems in spring, before June.
Storing, preparing and using angelica
There are various recipes for candying angelica, but essentially, stems need to be cut into small lengths around 4cm long and blanched in a sugar syrup. After drying they can be stored in air tight jars.
Fresh stems also make a tasty addition to stewed fruit and angelica seeds can be used to flavour liqueurs.
Young seedlings and plants are good fodder for slugs and snails so they should be protected accordingly. Plants may be susceptible to powdery mildew in dry weather, so keep them well watered. Aphids often cluster around the flowerheads and can be blasted off with a hose, as long as any beneficial predators like ladybirds or their larvae aren’t present.
While there has been some research investigating the potential effects that angelica may have on health, strong scientific evidence supporting the use of Angelica is lacking.
For instance, one study published in 2019 explored the use of angelica archangelica as an antitumor agent in the treatment of breast cancer. But the research so far has been limited to rodent and in vitro studies (test tubes). There is no way to know if there may be a benefit for humans.
Here's a look at what existing research says about angelica.
Scientific evidence supporting the use of angelic for any digestive issues is scant. Furthermore, the dated and limited evidence that is available suggesting that angelica may help calm digestive issues investigates the use of angelica in combination with other herbal treatments.
While there is a possibility that angelica may help to calm stomach issues like dyspepsia, more research needs to be done to understand its benefits.
In some countries, alternative medicine practitioners have used angelica in combination with other herbs for the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome.
In a review published in the World Journal of Gastroenterology, researchers only suggested that angelica and other herbal preparations "could be studied" for their role in the treatment of IBS.
Nocturia is a condition defined as the need to wake from sleep one or more times to urinate. A 2017 study published in the Scandanavian Journal of Urology investigated angelica's potential use as a treatment for the condition.
Researchers used a specific product derived from the Angelica archangelica leaf to treat 69 men age 45 and over. The patients were randomized to receive the herbal treatment or placebo in a double-blind design for eight weeks. Voiding diaries were assessed before and after the treatment.
Researchers concluded that the herbal treatment was safe, but that it did not improve nocturia overall compared to placebo.
Growing Angelica - Tips For Angelica Care In The Herb Garden - garden
Biennial, Angelica atropurpurea
Angelica as an aromatic herb, best known for its medicinal uses. It is also used in cooking and teas.
Native to eastern North America, Angelica plants prefer cool, moist woodlands, streambeds, and shaded areas. This easy to grow ornamental plant is a biennial, and can grow to 4-6 feet.
Angelica flowers begin to bloom in July, with small but numerous flowers. Flower colors are white, greenish white and yellow. The flowers give way to oblong fruit, up to 10 inches n diameter.
Medicinal Uses: Primary applications are for fever, coughs, colds, as a gargle for sore throats, flatulence and stomach disorders. It is believed to be good for heart health. Angelica is often used in teas.
Important Note: Angelica should not be taken, if you are pregnant.
Other Names: Alexanders, Archangel, Purple-stem Angelica, American Angelica, Wild Archangel, Masterwort.
Move over Garlic. Angelica is believed to ward off evil spirits, ghosts and witchcraft.
Try growing Angelica plants in your back yard shade garden.
Angelica plants are started from seed. Seeds do not store well, or for long. You can prolong viability, by storing them in the freezer.
How to Grow Angelica Plants:
Angelica is easy to grow. They grow best in light to moderate shade. They do not like full sun. Plants do best in cooler regions.
The soil should be rich and deep. Keep soil moist all season. They do not do well in droughts.
Fertilize once a month in poorer soils.
Established plants should do well with little maintenance.
Insect and disease problems are uncommon.
Angelica is used in a variety of recipes and teas. Young shoots spice up salads, with a taste somewhat like celery.