Anise is an annual herbaceous plant in the Umbelliferae family that is primarily grown for its fruits, which are used as a spice.

The plant has alternately arranged leaves and a grooved stalk. The petioles on the lower leaves can range in length from 4 to 10 cm (1.6 to 3.9 in), and they are rounded with a serrated edge. As the plant grows taller, the upper leaves get increasingly shorter and feathery.

The aniseed plant produces umbels of white flowers as well as an oval, hairy fruit with one seed that is flattened and hairy. An annual plant, anise has a height range of 45 to 60 cm (17.7 to 23.6 in) and only has one growing season. Anise may also be referred to as aniseed and originates from the Mediterranean

Crop Details

Scientific name: Pimpinella anisum


Uses & Benefits

Aniseed is widely used to flavor pastries; it is the characteristic ingredient of a German bread called anisbrod, Aniseed is also widely used in meat and vegetables throughout the Mediterranean and Asia. It is widely used as an herbal tea and has been used medicinally since ancient times. Absinthe, anisette, and Pernod liqueurs are flavored with the essential oil.

The leaves are used as an alcohol flavour in drinks like raki. Salads can also contain leaves

Preserving and Storing Anise

Drying: Dry anise seeds on trays of paper for several warm days outdoors. After drying, pasteurize the seeds in the oven at 100°F for 15 minutes.

Storing: Store leaves and seeds in an airtight container.


Basic prerequisites Temperatures between 6 and 24°C (42.8-75.2°F) and 12 to 18°C (53.6-64.4°F) are ideal for anise growth in temperate and subtropical climates. Frost won't be tolerated by the plants.

Anise can be grown successfully in a range of soil types, although it thrives best in soils with a pH of 5.0 to 8.0. The plants grow poorly in sandy or heavy clay-based soils and thrive best in well-draining loam.

Since they are sensitive to transplanting, seedlings grow best when planted directly outside. The seeds benefit from being soaked overnight before planting to speed up germination, and they should only be sown after all threat of frost has passed. Before planting the seeds, the planting area should be ready by tilling the soil to a fine tilth.

If multiple plants are being grown, allow 2.5-15 cm (1.0-6.0 in) between individuals within the row and a further 15-90 cm (6.0-35.4 in) between rows. The seeds should be sown between 1 and 3 cm (0.4-1.2 in) deep. Keep the seedbed moist as the seeds germinate by not letting the soil entirely dry out.

Where to Plant Anise

Anise seeds should be planted in a sunny, wind-free location in the garden. Due to its thin stems, this herb may require staking if the wind picks up. Finding the ideal location in your garden for anise may need some trial and error because it is usually very sensitive to the hot sun and chilly northern winds.

For a sweet licorice aroma just feet from the kitchen, you may also grow anise in pots right outside your back door. Try planting anise alongside coriander in a colorful collection of pots with other herbs that have similar growing requirements.

How and When to Plant Anise

The anise plant is sensitive to cold weather. Plant anise outdoors in warm climates with a long growing season after the final spring frost and after the soil has warmed up.

Anise seeds should be sown indoors in biodegradable pots eight weeks prior to transferring the seedlings outside once all threat of frost has gone in colder locations with a shorter growing season.

Anise seeds take a while to sprout. In actuality, it could take up to four weeks until the first seedlings poke their heads from the soil.

Anise seeds should be sown at a depth of 1/4 inch; germination takes 20 days or so.

Plant spacing should be between 6 and 18 inches. Plants should be spaced at least 18 inches apart once they are 6 weeks old.

Grow six anise plants for fresh leaves and cooking, and twelve for seeds and preservation.

Planting a companion anise

Companion planting: Anise is said to promote the growth of cilantro. Aphids and fleas are believed to be repelled by the strong scent of anise. Never grow anise near carrots or radishes. Grow creeping thyme beneath the foot of anise.


Full sun is ideal for anise growth. Aim to place your anise plants where they will receive at least 6 hours of daily direct sunlight.

Water and Soil.

Plant anise in loamy, well-drained soil. Add several inches of compost to very heavy soil to give plants the light-textured soil they prefer. When the ground starts drying up, water anise, but do not overwater it.


Around your anise plants, spread a layer of compost to help with fertilizer supply during the growing season. Around midsummer, you can also give your plants a dose of all-purpose fertilizer.

Harvesting of the seeds.

Cut the flower stalks and seed heads, then hang the stalks upside down in a warm, dry, shaded area. Wrap the seed heads in a paper bag so that the seeds will fall into the bag. Thresh the seeds after drying, or pasteurize them for 15 minutes in a 100°F oven. Before the first fall frost, finish the harvest.


Penn State Extension (2014). Anise. College of Agricultural Sciences. Available at: [Accessed 05 November 14]. Free to access

West Virginia University Extension Service (2014) Anise (Pimpinella anisum). Available at: [Accessed 05 November 2014, but link dead when checked November 2nd 2018]. Free to access

Common Pests and Diseases


Category : Fungal

Alternaria blights Alternaria spp.


Small round yellow, brown or black spots on leaves; concentric ringed pattern; holes in leaves where lesion has dropped out




Spread by seed; poor air circulation favors spread


Treat seeds with hot water prior to planting; prevent disease by keeping plants well watered; if disease emerges remove and destroy plant; remove all plant debris from soil as fungi can survive on pieces of plant

Downy mildew Peronospora umbellifarum
Plasmopara nivea

Yellow spots on upper surface of leaves; white fluffy growth on underside of leaves; lesions become darker as the mature.
Disease affects young, tender leaves; disease emergence and spread is favored by prolonged leaf wetness.
Plant pathogen-free seed; do not overcrowd plants; rotate crops with non-umbelliferous varieties.

Powdery mildew Erisyphe heraclei

Powdery growth on leaves, petioles flowers stalks and bracts; leaves becoming chlorotic; severe infections can cause flowers to become distorted.
Fungus can spread long distances in air; disease emergence is favored by high humidity and moderate temperatures; infection is most severe in shaded areas.
Plant tolerant varieties; avoid excess fertilization; protective fungicide applications provide adequate protection; sulfur application can be used in infection occurs early in season.

Rust Puccinia spp.
Uromyces spp.
Nyssopsora spp.

Light green discolored lesions on leaves which become chlorotic; yellow-orange pustules on underside of leaves; stems bend and become swollen or distorted; plants may be stunted.
Some species infect only parsley while others have alternative hosts which may provide a reservoir for the disease; disease emergence is favored by high humidity.
Plant in well-draining soils to reduce humidity around plants; apply appropriate systemic fungicide.


Category : Insects

Aphids (Willow-carrot aphid) Cavariella aegopodii

Small soft bodied insects on underside of leaves and/or stems of plant; usually green or yellow in color; if aphid infestation is heavy it may cause leaves to yellow and/or distorted, necrotic spots on leaves and/or stunted shoots; aphids secrete a sticky, sugary substance called honeydew which encourages the growth of sooty mold on the plants.
Distinguishing features include the presence of cornicles (tubular structures) which project backwards from the body of the aphid; will generally not move very quickly when disturbed; willow-carrot aphid will also attack parnip, carrot and celery.
If aphid population is limited to just a few leaves or shoots then the infestation can be pruned out to provide control; check transplants for aphids before planting; use tolerant varieties if available; reflective mulches such as silver colored plastic can deter aphids from feeding on plants; sturdy plants can be sprayed with a strong jet of water to knock aphids from leaves; insecticides are generally only required to treat aphids if the infestation is very high - plants generally tolerate low and medium level infestation; insecticidal soaps or oils such as neem or canola oil are usually the best method of control; always check the labels of the products for specific usage guidelines prior to use.

Armyworm Pseudaletia unipuncta


Singular, or closely grouped circular to irregularly shaped holes in foliage; heavy feeding by young larvae leads to skeletonized leaves; shallow, dry wounds on fruit; egg clusters of 50-150 eggs may be present on the leaves; egg clusters are covered in a whitish scale which gives the cluster a cottony or fuzzy appearance; young larvae are pale green to yellow in color while older larvae are generally darker green with a dark and light line running along the side of their body and a pink or yellow underside.




The armyworm, Pseudaletia unipuncta, is sometimes called "true armyworm" to distinguish it from other species that include "armyworm" in the common name. In Florida, Fall armyworm, Spodoptera frugiperda is often called armyworm, and occurs frequently; in contrast, Pseudaletia unipuncta is not found frequently in Florida.

This insect can go through 3–5 generations a year.


Organic methods of controlling armyworms include biological control by natural enemies which parasitize the larvae and the application of Bacillus thuringiensis; there are chemicals available for commercial control but many that are available for the home garden do not provide adequate control of the larvae.

Cutworms Agrotis spp.
Peridroma saucia
Nephelodes minians
and others

Stems of young transplants or seedlings may be severed at soil line; if infection occurs later, irregular holes are eaten into the surface of fruits; larvae causing the damage are usually active at night and hide during the day in the soil at the base of the plants or in plant debris of toppled plant; larvae are 2.5–5.0 cm (1–2 in) in length; larvae may exhibit a variety of patterns and coloration but will usually curl up into a C-shape when disturbed.
Cutworms have a wide host range and attack vegetables including asparagus, bean, cabbage and other crucifers, carrot, celery, corn, lettuce, pea, pepper, potato and tomato.
Remove all plant residue from soil after harvest or at least two weeks before planting, this is especially important if the previous crop was another host such as alfalfa, beans or a leguminous cover crop; plastic or foil collars fitted around plant stems to cover the bottom 3 inches above the soil line and extending a couple of inches into the soil can prevent larvae severing plants; hand-pick larvae after dark; spread diatomaceous earth around the base of the plants (this creates a sharp barrier that will cut the insects if they try and crawl over it); apply appropriate insecticides to infested areas of garden or field if not growing organically.

Category : Nematodes

Root knot nematode Meloidogyne spp.

Galls on roots which can be up to 3.3 cm (1 in) in diameter but are usually smaller; reduction in plant vigor; yellowing plants which wilt in hot weather.
Galls can appear as quickly as a month prior to planting; nematodes prefer sandy soils and damage in areas of field or garden with this type of soil is most likely.
Plant resistant varieties if nematodes are known to be present in the soil ;check roots of plants mid-season or sooner if symptoms indicate nematodes; solarizing soil can reduce nematode populations in the soil and levels of inoculum of many other pathogens.
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