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Regional Picks: Plants for Dry Shade – Midwest

Fine Gardening – Issue 158

Sweet Cicely

Name: Myrrhis odorata

USDA Hardiness Zones: 3 to 7

Size: Up to 5 feet tall and 6 feet wide

Conditions: Partial shade; moist, fertile, well-drained soil

I’m always on the lookout for herbs that can fill in the shady spots of my kitchen garden; Sweet Cicely is one such plant. I’ve placed it in a large, partly sunny area close to a footpath; this location allows me to enjoy the anise-like scent of its leaves and flowers, which emerge as large white umbels in late spring. Give this vigorous plant lots of room. It will require minimal care and effort, and you can prune it back hard once it’s done blooming for renewed foliage or let it seed all over for an anise-scented forest the following spring.

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