From Seed to Spice: How to Grow Anise at Home (in Containers)

Anise, with its sweet licorice flavor, is a versatile spice that can be used in cooking, baking, and herbal remedies. Growing anise at home in containers is a rewarding way to ensure a fresh supply of this aromatic spice. Here’s a step-by-step guide to growing anise from seed to spice in containers.

Materials Needed:

  • Anise seeds
  • Containers (12 inches deep)
  • Potting soil
  • Watering can
  • Fertilizer (optional)

Steps to Grow Anise at Home:

  1. Choose the Right Container:
    • Select a container that is at least 12 inches deep to accommodate the deep root system of anise.
    • Ensure the container has drainage holes to prevent waterlogging.
  2. Prepare the Soil:
    • Fill the container with a well-draining potting mix.
    • Anise prefers slightly acidic to neutral soil (pH 6.0-7.0).
  3. Sow the Seeds:
    • Plant anise seeds about 1/4 inch deep in the soil.
    • Space the seeds about 6 inches apart.
    • Lightly cover the seeds with soil and water gently.
  4. Place in a Sunny Location:
    • Anise requires full sun to thrive. Place the container in a location that receives at least 6-8 hours of sunlight daily.
  5. Watering:
    • Keep the soil consistently moist but not waterlogged.
    • Water the plants regularly, allowing the top inch of soil to dry out between waterings.
  6. Thin the Seedlings:
    • Once the seedlings are a few inches tall, thin them out to one plant every 6 inches to prevent overcrowding and ensure healthy growth.
  7. Fertilizing (Optional):
    • Use a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer every 4-6 weeks during the growing season to promote robust growth.
    • Alternatively, mix compost into the soil before planting for a natural nutrient boost.
  8. Provide Support:
    • Anise plants can grow up to 2 feet tall. Use stakes or a trellis to support the plants as they grow to prevent them from falling over.
  9. Harvesting:
    • Anise seeds are ready for harvest when the flower heads turn brown and the seeds are fully developed, usually in late summer or early fall.
    • Cut the flower heads and place them in a paper bag to dry for a few days.
    • Once dry, gently shake the bag to release the seeds from the flower heads.
  10. Storing the Seeds:
    • Store the harvested seeds in an airtight container in a cool, dark place.
    • Properly stored anise seeds can last up to three years.

Tips for Successful Anise Growth:

  • Temperature: Anise prefers warm temperatures and grows best in USDA zones 4-9.
  • Pest Control: Watch for common pests like aphids and caterpillars. Use natural insecticidal soap if necessary.
  • Companion Planting: Anise grows well with coriander, which can help deter pests.


Growing anise at home in containers is a simple and satisfying way to have a fresh supply of this delightful spice. By following these steps and providing the right care, you can enjoy the process from seed to spice, adding a flavorful and aromatic touch to your culinary creations.

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