Sweet Cicely

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Sweet Cicely Sweet Cicely

Sweet Cecily, also known as garden myrrh is a tall perennial herb that is worth growing both for its sweet Anise scent as it is for its delightfully ornamental growing habit.

It is native to Europe and is therefore easy to grow on the British isles. In the Lake District it was once used both to sweeten pies, but also for rubbing on oak panels to both scent and shine the wood, and in Wales it is often seen growing near gravestones to commemorate a loved one.

The boiled roots were once recommended by John Gerard in the 16th century as beneficial for those who are “dull and without courage.” Whilst I have not tried this myself I’m also told it makes an interesting wine – perhaps a better tonic than a soup of boiled roots?

Growing Sweet Cicely

Sweet Cecily is a hardy perennial, and will produce a good crop year after year. It is one of the earliest crops to start growing in spring (and is great for providing nectar to bees if you have any!) and will retain its foliage right through until late autumn. It grows to a height of around 1.2m so bear this in mind when choosing a spot.

Sweet Cecily likes moist, fertile soil in a cool position, and preferably in partial shade – at least out of the sun for the hottest parts of the day. Dig in plenty of well-rotted manure before planting.


Sweet Cicely can be grown from seed, divided, or propagated by root cuttings.

Using Sweet Cicely

The long taproot can be boiled as a vegetable, and the leaves can be added as a natural sugar free sweetener to pies and crumbles – perfect for use with Gooseberries and Rhubarb.

Phyl @ The Allotment Gardener

Lifelong gardener and allotment enthusiast. Now have 3 allotments!

Website: allotment.uk.com
More in this category: « Lemon Balm Myrtle »
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