When planted right and in the right spot, Anise trees are very easy to grow and care for. That said, when growing any type of plant, a little good advice from the experts can go a long way to ensure the best success. 


Here's a breakdown of what you need to know...


Anise Cultural Preferences



Soil

Anise will grow in a wide range of soils that are consistently moist but well-drained and of average fertility. They do not like constantly dry soils. 


How To Test Soil Drainage  

If you are uncertain about soil drainage in the area you intend to plant your Anise, it's well worth taking the time to test the drainage before planting. To test soil drainage, dig a hole 12" wide by 12" deep in the planting area. Fill the hole with water and let it drain. Then, after it drains, fill it with water again, but this time clock how long it takes to drain. In well-drained soil the water level will go down at a rate of about 1 inch an hour. A faster rate, such as in loose, sandy soil, may signal potentially dry site conditions. A slower rate indicates poor draining soil and is a caution you need to improve drainage, plant in a raised mound or bed, or look for plants that are more tolerant of wet or boggy soil conditions.



Soil pH

Anise grow best in an acid to slightly acid soil ranging from around 5.0 to 6.5 on the pH scale. Most average garden soils fall between a pH range of 6.0 to 7.0.


Testing Soil pH 

Soil pH is a measurement of the alkalinity or acidity of soil and is measured on a scale of 1-14, with 7 as the neutral mark. Any measurement below 7 indicates acid soil conditions, and anything above 7 indicates alkaline. If you're unsure about the pH of your soil, and whether or not it's suitable for growing Anise, it's a good idea to test the pH in the planting area. You can quickly test soil pH with an inexpensive soil pH tester probe. To raise the pH (make more alkaline) you can add pelletized limestone to the soil. To lower the pH (make more acid) you can apply Soil SulfurAluminum Sulfate, or Chelated Iron. Adding organic compost to the soil or using compost as mulch can also help to increase acidity and maintain acid soil conditions.




Light Needs

Though Anise will tolerate full sun with consistently moist soil, most varieties will prefer shade or part shade. Morning sun with afternoon shade or all day filtered sun is fine.




How To Plant An Anise In The Ground

Scroll down for care tips and container planting instructions


Step 1

Start by digging your planting hole at least two to three times as wide and as deep or not much deeper than the root ball of your Anise plant. The wider the hole the better. Place native soil removed from planting hole around the perimeter of the hole, in a wheel barrow, or on a tarp.


Step 2

Depending on the type, fertility and porosity of the soil in the planting area, it might be beneficial to amend the native soil. When planting in heavy clay or poor soil it is beneficial to thoroughly mix in a good soil conditioner, planting mix, or composted organic matter at a 50/50 ratio with the soil removed from the planting hole. When planting in very sandy, quick-draining soil it's beneficial to add some top soil, organic compost, or peat moss to enhance moisture retention. When planting in fertile, loamy, well-drained moist soil there may not be a need to amend soil.


Step 3

To remove your Anise from the nursery pot it was growing in, firmly grasp the base of the plant and try to very gently lift and remove the plant from the pot. Be careful not to pull so hard you damage the plant. If the root ball is stuck it is best to cut the container away. After having removed the plant from the container, loosen some feeder roots around the surface of the root ball. If root bound, you can spray the sides and bottom surfaces of the root ball with a stream of water from a garden hose. This can help to wash away some soil from the exterior of the root ball making it easier to loosen roots. 


Step 4

Place your Anise in the planting hole so that the top edge of the rootball is at or slightly above ground level to allow for settling. It may be necessary to place some of your soil mixture in the bottom of the hole to achieve proper planting height. 





Step 5

After setting the Anise in the planting hole, use one hand to hold the plant straight while using your other hand to begin backfilling the soil mixture around the root ball, tamping as you go to remove air pockets. When you have filled the hole to the halfway point you can soak the soil. Then continue backfilling to the top edge of the root ball. To avoid suffocating your plant, avoid placing any soil on top of the root ball.


Step 6 (Optional)

When planting your Anise far away from a water source you can use remaining soil mixture to build a water retaining berm (catch basin/dougnut) around the perimeter of the planting hole. This basin will help to collect water from rainfall reducing the need for manual irrigation. The berm can be removed after a year or so when the plant has established itself.


Step 7 

Next, deeply water the planting area, including the root ball, to a depth equal to the height of the root ball. For an extra boost, you can water your newly planted Anise with a solution of Root Stimulator, which stimulates early root formation and stronger root development. Root Stimulator reduces plant shock and promotes greener, more vigorous plants. 


Step 8

Apply a 1 to 2" layer of aged, shredded or chipped wood mulch or pine straw around the planting area to conserve moisture and to suppress weed growth. As the mulch decomposes it will add vital nutrients to the soil that your plants will appreciate. Do not use freshly chipped or shredded wood for mulch until it has cured in a pile for at least 6 months, a year is better. Avoid placing or piling mulch directly against the base of your plant as this could cause the bark to rot.




How To Plant An Anise In A Pot


Anise growing in pots appreciate a moist but well-drained soil. Constantly soggy soil can cause root rot or other harmful or deadly plant diseases. Therefore, when planting an Anise in a container or pot, we recommend using a pot with a drainage hole(s) and a quality potting soil or potting mix, or a 50/50 combination thereof for planting.

Choose a container that is large enough to allow for 2 to 3 years of growth before shifting up to a larger size container. This might mean your planting pot would be 8 inches or more in diameter than the root ball of your plant. 

Container color will matter as well. Not only will you want to pick a color of container that goes well with the flower and foliage color of your Anise, you'll also want to pick a container that matches the style of your home or other structures and other plants in the surrounding environment. 

Many nursery & garden centers offer a wide variety of containers to choose from. Before heading out to buy a container take pictures of your home and the surrounding environment. Doing so will help you to choose just the right color and style.


Container Planting Instructions


Step 1

Before filling your container with the soil mix, we recommend lining the bottom with shade cloth or a porous landscape fabric. This will keep the drain holes from becoming stopped up with soil. 


Step 2

To remove your Anise from the nursery pot it was growing in, firmly grasp the base of the plant and try to very gently lift and remove the rootball from the pot. Be careful not to pull so hard you damage the plant. If the rootball is stuck it is best to cut the container away. After having removed the plant from the container, loosen some feeder roots around the surface of the rootball. If root bound, you can spray the sides and bottom surfaces of the rootball with a stream of water from a garden hose. This can help to wash away some soil from the exterior of the rootball making it easier to loosen roots. 


Step 3

Pour a small amount of your soil mixture in the bottom of the container. Set the rootball of your plant in the container and make necessary adjustments by adding or removing some soil so that the top edge of the rootball will sit 1/2 to 1" below the rim of the container.




Step 4

Backfill around the rootball with your soil mixture, tamping as you go until the level of potting soil is even with the top edge of rootball.


Step 5

Water thoroughly until water starts to drain from the holes in the bottom of the container. Add more potting mix if settling occurs during watering.


Step 6 (Optional)

Apply a 1/2" layer of wood chips or sphagnum moss to soil surface to help conserve moisture.





How To Care For Anise



How To Fertilize Anise


At Planting Time

If you use organic matter as a soil amendment at planting time there is usually no need to apply fertilizer. That said, you can always apply a slow-release shrub & tree food or organic plant food as directed on the product label. Spread fertilizer on top of and around the rootball.


Thereafter

Fertilize Anise in late winter or early spring with a slow-release shrub & tree food, preferably one that contains Sulfur and/or Iron. Alternatively, you can feed with a natural organic plant food. A second application can be done in mid to late summer.

Note:  To avoid stimulating new growth that could be damaged by an early frost, cease fertilization two weeks prior to the average first frost date in your area.


Fertilizing Anise In Containers

Feed Anise growing in containers as direct on the product label with a granular or water soluble plant fertilizer designed for use in containers. 



How To Water Anise


Anise prefer a consistently moist but well-drained soil. That said, they will tolerate short periods of dry weather.


At Planting Time

Immediately after planting deep soak the soil in the planting area, including the rootball, to a depth equal to the height of the root ball. For an extra boost, to stimulate early root formation and stronger root development you can also water with a solution of Root Stimulator, which reduces transplant shock and promotes greener, more vigorous plants. 


During the First Active Growth Season

In average garden soil you should not have to water your newly planted Anise every day. More often than not, this causes soggy soil conditions which can lead to root rot and other plant diseases. In the absence of sufficient rainfall, water only as needed to keep the rootball and surrounding soil damp to moist. Keep in mind that deep soaking less frequently is much better than splashing just a little water on the plants every day. 


Thereafter
Anise prefer a consistently moist soil but will tolerate short periods of drought without the need for supplemental irrigation. If the leaves of your Anise are drooping this is an indicator that your plants could use a good deep soaking.


Note:  When watering with an automated irrigation system it's best to set your timer to water during the early morning hours and not in the late evening or at night, which can lead to the onset of fungus and other foliage diseases. During the first few weeks after planting, check soil moisture often and adjust irrigation time if necessary to keep the soil moist, not wet. 



How To Prune Anise Tree

Anise Trees do not require pruning and can be left to grow naturally. That said, they respond well pruning for shaping, as espalier (training to grow flat against a wall), and tree forming.


When to Prune

A stray or broken branch can and should be pruned any time of year. Heavier pruning to reduce size or tree form your Anise should be performed in late winter, before new growth begins to emerge. Cease any pruning 2 months prior to the average first-frost date in your area. 


How To Prune


Shaping: Before new growth begins to emerge, in late winter or very early spring you can use sharp bypass hand pruners to cut back stray branches that are spoiling the shape of your shrub or tree. Also remove dead or damaged branches. Cut dead branches off at their origin. Cut broken branches back to a point just beyond the break and preferably an inch or two above a leaf. 


Tree Forming: If a tree form is desired, your anise shrub can be pruned in late winter to form an attractive small tree by removing some of the lower branches. It's best to wait until your Anise is 5 feet or so in height before tree forming. Before removing a branch make sure its removal won't spoil the shape of the canopy. Start by removing one or two of the lowest branches. Then step back to observe your tree. Continue removing lower branches until you have reached the desired height.


Espalier:  This is the art of training a shrub or tree to grow flat against an open wall. Rather than go into details here, see How To Espalier A Shrub or Tree





Plant Long & Prosper!

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