An Angel of a Plant

Submitted a year ago
Created by
Henry Homeyer

Angelica is a beauty!

This spring I bought a nice biennial flower, Angelica, from Edgewater Farm in Plainfield, NH. I understood that I would only get one season out of this plant because biennials bloom in their second year, and then die. This was already a big plant when I bought it, and I asked if it would bloom this year. Yes, I was told.  It has, and it's fabulous.

There are 50 or more species of angelica, and all that I have seen are big. I mean BIG. Mine is almost 6 feet tall right now with leaves a foot long and 9 inches wide, vaguely shaped like maple leaves on steroids. (But unlike maples, the angelica leaves have separated lobes).

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But it is the flowers that I love. These are wine-red, dome-shaped umbels (umbrella-shaped clusters of small flowers) up to 5 inches across with hundreds of tiny flowers. The best part? Bumblebees go crazy over the flowers. Often there are 2 or 3 bumblebees on the flower at a time.

Bumblebees LOVE Angelica

There is an all green one called Angelica archangelica, and a purple-flowered one called Angelica gigas. A. gigas often has purple stems and leaves, too. I think mine is a hybrid as the flowers are purple but the leaves and stems are green.

I called Anne Sprague at Edgewater  Farm to ask about growing them. She said they are very hard to get to germinate, so they buy second year plants. She suggested I plant seeds outdoors this summer or fall and let the winter vernalize them. Then, of course, it's an entire year before they'll be ready to bloom. I'll give it a try and let you know if I can make it work. And if you know how to get them to grow from seed, please let me know. Thanks!

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