Growing Anise Indoors from Seed – a Full Guide

Introduction to growing Anise indoors

Anise (Pimpinella anisum) is also called as Aniseed, is a flowering plant in the Apiaceae family. Anise is an herbaceous annual plant with white flowers and feathery leaves that bloom in the summer. Anise flowers are produced in thick umbels. These umbels consist of small brown seeds that have a strong licorice flavor. The Anise seed is the part of the plant that is typically used. The leaves are used sometimes in salads and soups. In this article we also discuss below topics;

  • How do you care for potted Anise
  • How long does Anise take to grow from seed
  • How do you plant Anise
  • How long does it take Anise to grow
  • Anise plant care
  • Tips for Growing Anise in pots
  • Growing Anise problems

A step by step guide to growing Anise plants indoors

The Anise plant can reach a height of 2 feet and produces seeds in large clusters. This aromatic herb doesn’t require special attention and can be a great addition to any garden; though, it will grow up to its best potential if some ideal conditions are reached. The following growing guidelines offer valuable information about how to growing Anise at home.

Preparing the soil for growing Anise indoors

Before planting Anise, you should dig the growing area to a depth of 12 inches. Anise performs best in well-draining light sandy soil to medium loam soil. You can increase the water-holding capacity of the soil by mixing it with organic matter, such as peat moss or compost.

Growing Anise in indoors pots

Step 1) It’s a great idea to grow Anise in a container or pot for your small-scale herb garden. Anise is very well suitable to container life, as long as it has the space to grow.

Step 2) Select a garden box or pot at least one foot (25 cm) wide and deep. Anything too small might tip over in case of wind. The Anise plant has a long taproot, so it needs to be planted in a deep pot, at least 10 inches in depth.

Step 3) The pot should be at least 10 inches in diameter to provide room for one or probably two plants. Fill the container with a growing medium that is well Rich, draining, and slightly acidic. A good mixture is one part sand, one part soil, and one part peat.

Step 4) Ensure it drains well with gravel or clay pebbles on the bottom, and a drainage hole in the pot. Sow three to five seeds in three seed holes uniformly spaced out.

Step 5) When the seeds have sprouted and grown to about 4 inches, thin down to a single plant per seed hole. Note that Anise seed grows to be a bit top-heavy. If set in a windy stake, spot, and tie it or you’ll risk having it bend and topple over.

Anise seed germination period

Anise seeds will germinate in the soil in approximately 14 days when the soil temperature is at 21°C.

Anise plant propagation for growing indoors

Anise plants are grown from seed. Directly sow seeds into your garden. Sow seeds early in the season, and cover lightly with soil. Space seedlings or thin plants to 18 inches apart in rows 12 inches apart.

Method of direct sowing Anise seed

Another choice is to direct sow seed outside right after the threat of frost passes. You don’t want to wait a much longer time because Anise seeds require 120 days to mature. If you live in a colder climate, start them inside to build the most of your growing season.

Plant the seed about 1/2-inch deep into the soil. Germination takes approximately 7-14 days, so don’t be surprised if seedlings don’t pop up right away. Warmer temperatures will help to speed up germination. Once the seedlings are 6 weeks old, you can thin them to 6-12 inches apart. Doing so improves air circulation and sunlight access.

Anise seed spacing

For square foot gardeners, put 12 seeds per foot. For row gardeners, place the plants 12-inches apart with 2-feet between rows.

Growing Anise indoors from seed

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Growing Anise indoors from seed.
Growing Anise indoors from seed.

Step 1) Growing Anise from seed is best done directly in the garden or permanent containers, because the herb doesn’t transplant well.

Step 2) Select a pot and then fill it with moist, drainage holes and, sterile potting mix, up to about 3/4 inch from the top. To level the surface, press down on the soil with your hand.

Step 3) Sprinkle six to eight Anise seeds over the soil surface, at a uniform distance from each other. Cover the Anise seeds with a 1/4-inch layer of soil. Lightly compress the soil with your hand to firm it over the Anise seeds.

Step 4) Water the soil with a spray bottle to avoid disturbing the planted seeds. Stretch plastic wrap over the pot to help the soil maintain moisture. Cover the plastic wrap with sheets of newspaper to keep a constant soil temperature. Maintain the soil moist not soggy during the germination period.

Step 5) Position the pot in a warm room. Aim for a temperature of about 15 to 22°C. Expect the seeds to germinate within two weeks.

Step 6) Take away the plastic wrap and newspaper as soon as the seeds germinate. Expose the seedlings to sunlight and a temperature of about 12°C.

Step 7) Take away weak, small seedlings as soon as they’re large enough to handle. Maintain no more than one or two strong seedlings in the pot, and water them regularly to maintain the soil damp as they grow. Then, you can move the pots outside into a sunny location when all danger of frost has passed.

Watering Anise plants

Although Aniseed isn’t a very thirsty plant, it will grow best if you watering them regularly, particularly if grown in containers. Subjecting it to drought might stunt the plant a bit, and might even lead to early blooming. Since seeds are what are interesting to harvest for this plant, it isn’t much of a problem, unlike leaf veggies like escarole and lettuce. Since Anise seed loves rich soil, feel free to mulch. This will keep providing additional nutrients and also retain moisture, helping you avoid unnecessary watering.

Anise plant prefers dry, well-drained soil. However, you will want to water it regularly in hot, dry weather. When the weather is hot, it is best to water Anise in the late afternoon to prevent the plant from being scorched. Anise plant requires uniform watering, as fluctuating wet and dry periods can adversely affect yield.

Caring for potted Anise plants

Container grown Anise seed plants are somewhat easy to care for. The plants thrive in full sun and should be placed somewhere that receives at least 6 hours of light per day. Once established, the plants don’t require frequent watering, but keep in mind that containers dry out rapidly. Let the soil dry out totally between watering, but try to keep the plants from wilting. Anise plants are annuals, but their lives can be extended by bringing their containers indoors before the first frost of autumn. Before planting Anise, you must test the soil to understand its nutrient content. If the soil is very poor, you must add fertilizer. Though, if the soil is already nutrient-rich, fertilizer will not be necessary. If you do fertilize Anise plant, nitrogen fertilizer is best.

Anise plant growing problems

Diseases of Anise plants are commonly fungal. Alternaria blight is one such fungal disease that causes small concentric ringed spots that are yellow color, brown or black spots on foliage. As the disease progresses, leaves are left with a hole where the lesion has dropped out. Then, this disease is transmitted via infected seed and poor air circulation facilitates its spread. Downy mildew is mainly caused by the fungus Peronospora umbellifarum. Yellow spotting appears on the foliage but, unlike alternaria blight, has a white fluffy growth that is visible on the undersides of the leaves. As the disease progresses, the spots darken in color and this Anise plant problem primarily affects the new tender leaves and is fostered by prolonged wet foliage.

Powdery mildew is mainly caused by the fungus Erisyphe heraclei and results in a powdery growth on the leaves, petioles, and blossoms. The plant leaves become chlorotic and if the disease is allowed to progress, flowers become distorted in shape. It is spread on the wind and favored by conditions of high humidity combined with warm temperature levels. Rust is yet another fungal disease that effects light green lesions on foliage that become chlorotic. As the disease progresses, yellow-orange abscesses appear on the underside of the plant leaves, stems well, bend and distort, and the entire plant is stunted. Again, the disease is favored by high humidity.

How to treat a sick Anise plant

If you have diagnosed your Anise plant with a fungal disease, apply an appropriate systemic fungicide in the manner which the manufacturer recommends. A systemic fungicide will help plants ailing with fungal diseases except for Alternaria blight. And, always plant disease-free seed when possible. Otherwise, treat Anise seeds with hot water before planting. Remove and destroy any Anise plants infected with Alternaria blight. Remove and destroy any plant debris from the soil that can be infected with the fungi.

Tips for starting Anise plant indoors

  • Anise seedlings are delicate, so some people have trouble to transplanting them into the garden. Due to their sensitivity to transplanting, it’s best to start the Anise seeds in biodegradable pots. Doing so helps to disturb the plants and roots as small as possible.
  • The seeds need to be in a warm environment, between 15-22°C, to germinate.
  • If you’re short of outdoor space, try growing Anise in containers. Pick a pot and fill it with sterile potting mix to 3/4-inch from the top that has drainage holes and is at least 8-inches deep.
  • Sprinkle the seeds and cover them with a slight layer of soil. Lightly spray the soil with water to avoid disturbing the seeds.
  • Sow seeds outdoors in a sunny location, after the last frost date in your area. Plant them in well-drained soil with a pH value between 6.3 and 7.3. Sow the seeds in rows that are two feet apart, at a depth of about 1/4 inch. Thin them to eight inches apart.
  • Harvest Anise seeds about 1 month after the plant flowers. Harvest the leaves as needed, while the plant matures.

When and how to harvest Anise

Whether you’re picking Anise when it’s ripe or not, there’s no want to collect the tiny seeds one at a time. Instead, snip the stems below the flower heads. If the Anise seeds are still green, tie the flowers together into a bundle and hang them upside down in a cool, airy place. Make sure to put a container or a cloth beneath them to catch the seeds, which must ripen and dry out naturally. If you’ve waited until the seeds are already dry, gently shake the flowers upside down over a container, or inside a paper bag. If they’re ripe, the Anise seeds ought to fall right off.

When to harvest – Snip Anise leaves for fresh use as needed and seeds require more than 100 frost-free days to reach harvest. Harvest seeds from late summer to early autumn starting about 2 to 3 weeks after flowering when seeds have turned brown and fall easily from the head.

How to harvest leaves – Snip leaves for fresh use and leaves can be dried on a screen in a cool, dry, dark, airy place.

How to harvest seeds – Cut the flower stems and seed heads and hang the stalks upside down in a warm, dry, and shady place. Then, place a paper bag around the seed heads so seeds fall into the bag. Thresh seeds when dry or pasteurize them in an oven at 37°C for 15 minutes.

Commonly asked questions about growing Anise indoors

What is the main difference between Anise and Star Anise?     

The major difference between Anise and star Anise is that Anise seed is potent, with an almost spicy flavor, while star Anise is subtly milder. They can be used interchangeably in recipes, but amounts should be adjusted to accommodate the mildness of the Asian ingredient.

Is fennel the same as Anise?

Fennel and Anise are two different plants. The botanical name of Anise plant is Pimpinella anisum while the botanical name of fennel is Foeniculum vulgare. Both Anise and fennel plants belong to the Apiaceae family.

How tall does Anise get?

Anise is an herbaceous annual plant growing to 3 feet or taller. The leaves at the base of the plant are simple, 3⁄8 to 2 inches long and shallowly lobed, while leaves higher on the stems are feathery pinnate, divided into numerous small leaflets.

How do you germinate Anise seeds?

Space the Anise seeds in rows 2 to 3 feet apart at a rate of 12 seeds per foot. Plant the seed about ½ inches deep in well-cultivated soils. Water the plants after emergence twice a week until they are 6 to 8 inches high and then gradually reduce irrigation.

Is Anise an annual?

Anise is an annual that can grow up to about 2 feet tall.

What part of the Anise plant do you use?

The seeds are the part of the Anise plant most used for culinary purposes, but the stems and leaves can also be eaten raw or cooked.

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