What you're learning
Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra) is a pretty unique plant. It has a distinctive appearance because of its long and gnarled roots. What adds to its uniqueness is its flavor.
It has a sweet flavor used in Europe, Egypt, China, India, and the Middle East for centuries to make candy, medicines, and even beverages.
This sweet, fragrant herb will make a great addition to your garden.
Quick Facts About Licorice
- Common and botanical names: Licorice, liquorice; Glycyrrhiza glabra
- Type of plant: perennial herb
- Native areas: Europe, south-western Asia, and the Mediterranean region
- Sun exposure: part shade to full sun
- Size upon maturity: 3.3 – 5 feet tall
- Type of soil and pH level: light, loamy, well-drained soil; between 6.1-7.8 pH
- Hardiness zones: 6-11 USDA zones
- Best time to plant: spring
- Best time to harvest: fall; three years after planting
- Toxicity: non-toxic to humans and animals when consumed in a moderate amount
- Vulnerable to: spider mites, powdery mildew, slugs and snails, caterpillars, rust
Planting your own licorice or liquorice is easy, but there are some things you should know if you want to get the most out of your crop. Here are some important factors you need to consider for your licorice plant care:
Licorice likes full sun but can also be grown in partial shade. It will grow taller and produce more leaves if it has plenty of light.
The licorice plant likes light, loamy, and well-drained soil with pH levels between 6.1-7.8. You must keep your soil moist but not compacted to ensure the roots grow well. To retain moisture, add some compost or mulch before planting.
When you grow licorice plants, you must remember that they need plenty of water. They will not grow well in dry soil and wither if they are not kept moist. During the growing season, ensure that it is thoroughly moistened at least once a week to ensure proper growth. You can do this by deep-watering, especially when the temperature in the area is too hot.
Humidity and Temperature
When growing licorice, ensure the environment is humid, but not too humid. They thrive in temperatures between 60° and 85° F. The plants will not grow well if the temperature is too hot or too cold.
Remember that licorice is related to the legumes family, which means they fix nitrogen in the soil. You will not need to fertilize them with high nitrogen fertilizer unless your soil is deficient in nitrogen or phosphorus. To fertilize your plants, mix compost or mulch because these products contain minerals and nutrients.
Unlike other plants, the licorice shrub grows slowly. It may take several years for your shrub to be tall enough to produce flowers and fruit. It takes three to five years for the plant to reach maturity.
There are several ways to grow licorice. If you are planning to grow a licorice shrub in your garden, here are some options:
Growing Licorice from Cutting
You can propagate a new plant by taking cuttings from the shrub. Place the cuttings in water until they begin to root. Once they are rooted, put them in pots filled with potting mix. Water the cuttings regularly until they begin growing new leaves.
Growing Licorice from Seeds
Licorice can be grown from seeds, but it is not the easiest way to propagate this shrub. To grow new plants from seeds, you must first soak them in water overnight. Then, place them on a paper towel, and leave them in a cool place for three to four weeks.
Sow seeds 1/4 inch deep in the ground. Keep them moist, and the licorice seedlings should germinate within two weeks. Once they have sprouted, give them plenty of sunlight and warmth.
Growing Licorice from Divison
If you are propagating from division, dig up the plant and cut the licorice roots into pieces. Cut the horizontal roots and be careful not to damage the main tap root. Place each piece in a pot filled with soil, and water it regularly. New sprouts will begin growing from the root piece in a few weeks. There should be at least one growth bud on each piece of licorice root. If you have at least one growth bud, it will grow new sprouts.
The licorice root is a taproot that grows deep into the soil. For this reason, you should grow licorice roots in raised beds or containers to help prevent them from growing too close together. The plant will spread out over time and fill up the space available.
It takes three years for a licorice plant to produce its first harvest.
To harvest your licorice plant, loosen the soil around the roots. You can do this by hand or using a shovel if necessary. Use caution when doing so, as you don’t want to damage any of the roots. Once you have loosened up some of the dirt around the roots, you can pull up the plant. You should be able to get a few pieces of root out of this process.
After the first harvest, your licorice plant should continue to produce more roots. You can reap it again in the spring, but you may want to wait a few months so that it has a chance to regrow. If you choose to do this, leave some good-sized pieces of the root so it can continue growing.
Pests and Diseases
There are few pests or diseases that can attack your licorice plant. If you notice any signs of infection, it is best to remove the affected parts, so they do not spread.
These are tiny insects that can infest your shrub. They are usually found on the underside of leaves and can be identified by their red color. You may also see webbing around stalks or on the leaves themselves. If you notice these signs, spray the leaves with water and soap to kill them off.
Slugs and Snails
These pests like to nibble on your houseplants and can make a mess. They leave behind holes in leaves, stems, and roots, which will cause your shrub to die if left untreated. If you notice slugs or snails on your plant, you can pick them off and dispose of them. You can also use an environmentally friendly snail poison to get rid of them.
Caterpillars are the larval stage of moths and butterflies. They can cause damage to your shrub by chewing holes in leaves and causing them to fall off. If you notice caterpillars on your houseplant, you should try to remove them as soon as possible. This will help prevent further damage from occurring to your plant.
This is a fungal infection that feeds on the leaves of your liquorice. It can be identified by its white powdery appearance and causes some leaves to turn yellow or brown. If you notice this, removing those leaves immediately is essential, so they do not spread to other parts of the plant.
Rust is a fungus that causes yellow or orange spots on your plant. It can be hard to see at first, but it will cause leaves and stems to fall off if left untreated. If you notice rust on your houseplant, cut off the affected parts and dispose of them immediately.
Uses of Licorice
The sweet root of licorice is a popular flavoring for candies and sweets. It is also used to make a natural sweetener several times sweeter than sugar. The roots can also be used to make tea.
Licorice extract has been used for centuries to make dyes, perfumes, and medicines.
In traditional and herbal medicine, it is used to treat stomach ulcers, sore throats, and coughs. It has also been used to manage high blood pressure as a natural laxative.
How long does licorice take to grow?
It can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to mature.
Is licorice hard to grow?
It’s not hard to grow, but it does take some time.
How do you grow licorice?
You can grow licorice in several ways. You can grow it from seed, cutting, or division.
How tall does the licorice grow?
It can grow up to 5 feet tall.
Licorice is a very sweet and tasty plant that anyone can grow. It can take some time to mature, but the wait will be worth it. Licorice is an excellent addition to any garden because of its unique flavor and appearance.