Anise Shrub Gardening Ideas

The Anise shrub, perfect for creating a garden that is full of beauty and aroma.  This beautiful shrub has exotic creature-like blossoms that appear in late spring.  In addition to its attractive flowers, the tree’s reddish petioles or leafstalks add additional interest to its overall appearance.The leaves are 2-6 inches long and about 1-3 inches wide.

The native straight species is best known for its display of thin straps of maroon petals that radiate from the center.  However, other colors, including a creamy white and pink, also grow in the wild.

When the leaves of the anise shrub are crushed, they exude an odor that is a combination of root beer and licorice.

Placed in a small gardens or a high-profile area such as doorways, decks, and patios, both you and guests will enjoy the pleasant fragrance as you walk by.

This shrub is not fussy.

It does well in a shaded natural setting and can be expected to grow 10 to 15 feet tall with a spread of 6 to 10 feet and is best left alone to create a nice drooping effect.  If placed in a sunny location, it can be used as a beautiful dense hedge.  The anise shrub does well in dry or wet shady spots so you are sure to find a perfect spot in your home garden. Plus it will not fail to please and sure to become one of your favorites.

Popular Uses

The anise shrub is very low maintenance and easy to grow. Some of its great features and uses are:

For a mixed shrub border, try planting the anise shrub with abelia, beautybush, buckeye, dogwood, oakleaf hydrangea, mountain laurel, nandina, pieris, serviceberry, rhododendron, viburnum, or witch hazel.

One member of the genus, I. verum is the source of a spice called star anise that is traditionally used in many Chinese dishes and to flavor bakery goods, liqueurs and other foods.

This shrub is seldom bothered by pests.

Makes a great tropical looking shrub for a shady location.

For a natural woodland setting, try combining the Anise shrub with great companions like the Azaleas, Camelias, Nandinas, Mahonias, Hydrangeas, Laurels, Cleyera, and other plants that prefer afternoon shade.

It Can Take the Heat

The Florida anise tree is native to parts of Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana and is cold hardy through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Hardiness Zone 6 (10 below 0 to 0 degrees). In addition to its resistance to pests and diseases, it scoffs at hot and humid conditions.

For those who prefer maroon, ‘Halley’s Comet’ (sometimes spelled Haley) is probably the most popular cultivar. It also blooms slightly longer than other varieties. A white-flower form, ‘Semmes,’ offers a heavier bloom set, and ‘Alba’ also is available. Pink selections often are available, and one, ‘Shady Lady,’ has yellow and green variegated leaves.

The Anise shrub makes a great landscape choice for your home. The bold foliage combines nicely with most all other shade loving plants so it makes an adaptable planting companion for your established garden and is also a good choice for a new garden. The wonderful root beer and licorice scent will not disappoint you!