Grow Your Own Architectural Angel: sow Angelica archangelica seeds now!

A favourite with garden designers, every year Angelica archangelica is one of the most admired and coveted plants at the Royal Horticultural Society’s Chelsea Flower Show in May.  This is the perfect time to sow Angelica archangelica seeds; don’t miss out on this opportunity to introduce this glamorous and statuesque plant to your garden or allotment!

I took this picture of Digitalis purpurea and Angelica archangelica on The Wedgwood Garden, which was designed by Jo Thompson for the RHS Chelsea Flower Show in 2019.

There’s no need to mess around with pots or compost, as Angelica archangelica become rather resentful if their roots are disturbed; therefore, sowing seeds directly where you want your plants to grow is both the easiest and most successful option.  Use new, fresh seeds, as Angelica seed loses its viability rapidly and old seeds won’t grow.  Angelica archangelica seeds won’t keep, so why not share a seed packet with your neighbours?  These seeds need light to germinate, so don’t make the mistake of covering Angelica archangelica seed with compost – just scatter the seeds over the soil.

Angelica archangelica makes a fantastic cut flower and can be used fresh or as a dried flower.

Angelica archangelica is an easy-going and rather charming plant that flourishes on sandy, silty soils, chalk, loam, and clay and is happy in alkaline, acid, or neutral soils.  I find Angelica archangelica’s height varies considerably depending on the plant’s growing conditions; plants can range from 1.5 – 2.5m (5 – 8.2ft) tall and spread 1.2m (4ft) wide.  I have grown Angelica archangelica in almost all aspects, from bright, sunny areas on allotments to dappled shade; wherever it has grown Angelica archangelica has been an absolute delight!

Angelica archangelica is a superb plant for the back of a border. I’ve found this short-lived perennial grows well on almost any soil and in any situation – from an area that basks in bright sunshine to dappled shade and shade. I’d advise sowing many more Angelica archangelica seeds than you think you need, as not all the seeds will germinate and any unwanted plants can be removed.

I adore Angelica archangelica’s glorious enlivening green flowers which last for an absolute age and attract a vast array of pollinating insects.  Plants flower from May to July but the seed heads add extra interest in the months that follow.

This is a throw back picture I took of The QVC Garden, which was designed by Sarah Price for the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2008. I loved Sarah Price’s planting using Angelica archangelica, the fluffy green foliage of fennel (Foeniculum vulgare), lilac flowers of Sweet Rocket (Hesperis matronalis), white Foxgloves (Digitalis purpurea f. albiflora), Aquilegia chrysantha ‘Yellow Queen’, and the zing of Euphorbia palustris.

In the garden, Angelica archangelica stand gracefully alone but they can be teamed up to compliment any colour scheme.  The stems vary, they can be pink or deep purple, reddish, or green.  Angelica archangelica’s green flowers bring a welcome freshness and zing to the garden.  My favourite combination is Angelica archangelica and Digitalis purpurea.

Angelica archangelica produces gorgeous green toned umbellifer flowers with purple stems that combine well with other colours. My favourite combination is Angelica archangelica and Digitalis purpurea.

Angelica archangelica is worth growing for its beauty and value to pollinators, but Angelica archangelica’s young leaves enhance salads and sweeten rhubarb.  The stems can be made into jams, sorbets, or used to decorate cakes, and Angelica archangelica roots are used to flavour gin.  Every part of this plant, including Angelica archangelica’s roots, stems, leaves, and seeds are edible.  However, there are poisonous plants, including Poison Hemlock (Conium) and other plants from the Apiaceae family that closely resemble Angelica archangelica in their appearance.  If you are intending to eat Angelica archangelica, sow seeds away from other similar looking plants and add labels in the areas where you sow your seeds.  Please only consume plants you’re certain are safe to eat; abstain from eating any plant you’re unsure of.

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