Myrrhis Plant Growing & Care Guide for Gardeners

In this Gardener's HQ guide, we'll explore cultivating Myrrhis plants in your garden, indoor spaces, and other settings.

Cicely, Sweet Cecily, & Garden Myrrh: Cultivation & Garden Use

The Myrrhis genus has only one member - Myrrhis odorata, but goes under many common names; it is a hardy perennial and grows from between 90 cm and 1.5 m (3 to 5 feet) in heights.

Its seeds are used in culinary use. The common names are Cicely and Sweet Cicely. It is closely related toMyrrhis include Chervil and Anise.

Chervil comes into bloom in the summer and carries small white flowers; the foliage of the plant is fern like.

Myrrhis odorata
Myrrhis odorata (Sweet cecily) photograph by amandabhslater.

Sweet Cicely plants
Sweet Cicely plants picture by wallygrom.

Plant Growing and Care Guide

Common Names: Cicely, Sweet Cicely, Garden Myrrh.
Life Cycle: Hardy perennial.
Height: 36 to 78 inches (90 to 200 cm).
Native: Europe.
Growing Region: Zones 3 to 9.
Flowers: Summer.
Flower Details: White. Tiny. Umbels.
Foliage: Aromatic. Fern-like. Large (up to 20 inches (50 cm).
Sow Outside: 1/8 inch (3 mm).Three months before the last frost. Spacing 24 inches (60 cm).
Sow Inside: Germination time: 2 weeks to 2 months. Temperature: 55 to 65°F (13 to 18°C). Myrrhis seeds should be frozen for one month prior to sowing. Ten weeks in advance. Transplant outdoors in spring or autumn.
Requirements and care: Full sunlight or partial shade. Soil pH 5.5 to 6.5. Requires deep fertile soil; prepare by digging deep and mixing in manure. If seeds are not required for culinary purposes then deadhead to prevent spread. Once established do not disturb. Propagate: by self-seeding.
Family: Apiaceae.
Miscellaneous: Leaves are often used in Scandinavian and Germanic cooking for their aniseed flavor.

How to Grow Cicely and other Myrrhis Plants in the Garden

The seeds of Cicely should be sown outdoors in the winter about three months before the last frost of spring is expected.

Sow the Cicely seeds at about 3 mm (1/8 inch) deep into either a sunny or partially shaded part of the garden.

Anise likes to grow in deep soil, that is fertile. Mix in manure deeply when sowing.

If you prefer to first grow Cicely plants indoors, then sow the seeds about two months before they are due outdoors. They can be put out in the spring or autumn.

The first step of germination requires that you freeze the seeds for one month. Next sow at a temperature of 12 to 18 degrees centigrade (54 to 64°F).

It should take from two to six weeks for the Anise seeds to germinate. Once ready transplant Cicely at about 60 cm (2 feet) apart.

Caring for Myrrhis Plant

It is easy to care for Myrrhis plants as long as they have a deep soil to grow in.

If you are planning to harvest seeds for use in the kitchen, then let them set, otherwise deadhead the plants before the seeds set as Anise is likely to spread uncontrollably given a chance.

Common Questions

How many members does the Myrrhis genus contain?

The Myrrhis genus is monotypic,so thus contains only one species, which is known as Sweet cicely.

Do Myrrhis members make a good garden or landscaping plant?

Myrrhis makes for a fantastic garden plant, with its fern-like foliage, delicate white flowers, and sweet aniseed scent. It's great for woodland gardens or shady borders.

Which Myrrhis species are most frequently grown by gardeners?

As the only species in its genus, Myrrhis odorata (Sweet Cicely) is the one gardeners grow. Its aromatic leaves can be used in cooking, and it's a magnet for beneficial insects.

Are Myrrhis plants fragrant?

Yes, Myrrhis odorata is highly fragrant. Both the foliage and the flowers have a pleasant aniseed aroma when crushed.

What is the perfect location to grow Myrrhis?

Myrrhis grows best in partially shaded areas with rich, moist soil. It's a perfect addition to a woodland garden or a shaded herb garden.

Is Myrrhis invasive in the USA, if so in which states?

Myrrhis is not currently listed as invasive in any states in the USA. It prefers cooler climates and doesn't tend to spread aggressively.

How do I remove Myrrhis plants from my garden?

If you need to remove Myrrhis, dig out the entire plant, making sure to remove all the roots to prevent regrowth.


Myrrhis, known as Sweet Cicely, is a genus in the Apiaceae family. This perennial herb is appreciated for its sweet, anise-scented leaves and delicate white flowers. It's often used in cooking and herbal medicine.

Plant Myrrhis in a sunny to partially shaded spot with well-drained, fertile soil. Sow the seeds in fall or spring. Water regularly but do not overwater. With its aromatic qualities and fern-like foliage, it adds a sensory element to herb or woodland gardens.

I hope that you enjoyed this guide on how to grow Myrrhis plants. You may also enjoy the following Gardener's HQ growing guides: How to grow Astrantia, Zinnia plant, and Foeniculum plants.