How to Grow Star Anise

Updated April 17, 2017

Star anise, or illicium verum, is the fruit of an evergreen tree. Star anise fruit grows to be about 1 1/4 inches in diameter, with five to 10 points, giving it a star-shaped appearance. The fruit is picked unripe and is always dried and never eaten fresh. Once dried, star anise is ground into a powder that is used as a spice in many dishes. China is the main exporter of star anise, but it can be grown in any warmer climate.

Verify your climate. Star Anise, though an evergreen, is frost tender. It only does well in areas where the temperature does not fall below -6.67 degrees C. If you live in a colder area, you can begin your Star Anise in a greenhouse.

Purchase star anise seeds. These will need to be purchased online as these are speciality seeds not typically found in local stores.

Choose a spot. Keep in mind the tree will grow to 5m (16 feet) by 3m (9 feet). This plant also prefers light (sandy) to medium (loamy) soils. Also choose a semi-shaded area.

Plant your seeds. The seeds propagate better when started in pots and kept inside, or in a greenhouse, for their first few winters. If planting outside, leave about 9 to 16 feet in between each seed, so they have plenty of room to root.

Water frequently. Star anise needs well-drained, but moist soil. If you will be starting your star anise in a pot, make sure the pot has drainage holes in the bottom for excess water.

Things You'll Need

  • Star anise seeds
  • Planters
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About the Author

Jessica Johnson began her writing career in 2010, writing for eHow and LIVESTRONG.COM. She graduated from Savannah State University with a Bachelor of Arts in journalism. She then earned a Bachelor of Science in health from Georgia State University and is now working on her Master of Science in public health from the University of Massachusetts.