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.
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Things you need
- Star anise seeds
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.
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