National Licorice Day is April 12th! Licorice is a perennial plant with spiked blue feathery leaves and a root with a sweet flavor. It is a mound-forming or trailing shrub. When grown annually, it bears stems that can reach around 20 inches long. Covered in silver, furry, heart-shaped leaves, they vary in color from cream to yellow and in rare cases even orange to red. It can grow flowers if it blooms late in the season. Licorice is a very hearty and versatile plant with many uses for the root. Not only a yummy candy, licorice root can treat many ailments, from sore throats and tummy aches to arthritis and ulcers. This year licorice lovers throughout the nation will enjoy their favorite herb or root as a candy, cooking ingredient, scent or health elixir.
Fun Fact: Licorice comes from the arid lands in South Africa, however, it is grown all around the world. The real question is, how do you grow your own licorice? This article will explain step-by-step just how to become a real licorice farmer.
How to grow a licorice plant
Grow in well-drained soil of average fertility, or in an ordinary peat-based potting mix. Seedlings should be located in an area where sunlight is filtered. Follow the steps below:
- Scratch a section on each of the licorice seeds using a nail file or a piece of sandpaper.
- Set the licorice seeds into a bowl of water to soak for 24 hours.
- Fill up 4-inch plastic pots with potting mix. Pack the potting mix down in each of the 4-inch pots.
- Saturate the soil in the pots by pouring water into the tray.
- Pierce two to three 1/4-inch deep holes in the center of each 4-inch pot. Each hole should be about 1 inch apart from the next. Place one licorice root seed into each hole. Use your fingertip to push the licorice root seeds down into the soil to make sure fertilization occurs.
- Put no more than 1/4 inch of the potting mix atop each of the licorice root seeds. Place the tray of 4-inch pots into a spot in your house where the temperature will remain around 60 to 70 degrees F. Find a place in your home where there is filtered light for about 8 to 10 hours a day. Germination of licorice root seeds can begin as soon as seven days after planting and can sometimes take longer than two weeks.
- Make sure that you water the seedlings of the licorice root. To prevent root rot, make sure that you are careful not to oversaturate the soil. When the weather is warmer and the soil in your garden outside is ready for transplanting the seedlings, you can then complete your planting.
Now that you have the low-down on how to grow licorice you can roll up your sleeves and get to work. Cheers to sweeter days ahead!