While not a conventionally beautiful plant, angelica attracts attention in the garden because of its imposing nature. The individual purple or flowers are quite small, but they bloom in large clusters similar to Queen Anne’s lace, creating a striking display. Propagating angelica plants is a great way to enjoy them in the garden. Angelica is best grown in groups with other large plants. It combines well with ornamental grasses, large dahlias and giant alliums.
When attempting angelica propagation, you should be aware that growing angelica cuttings is difficult because the stems usually fail to root. Instead, start new plants from angelica seeds or divisions of two- or three-year-old plants. The plants bloom every other year, so plant angelica in two consecutive years for a constant supply of flowers.
Starting Angelica Seeds
Angelica seeds grow best when planted as soon as they mature. When they are nearly ripe, fasten a paper bag over the flower head to catch the seeds before they fall to the ground.
Use peat or fiber pots so that you won’t have to disturb the sensitive roots when you transplant the seedlings into the garden.
Press the seeds gently onto the surface of the soil. They need light to germinate, so don’t cover them with soil. Place the pots in a bright location with temperatures between 60 and 65 degrees F. (15-18 C.) and keep the soil moist.
If you are propagating angelica plants from dried seeds, they need some special treatment. Sow several seeds on the surface of each peat pot. They have a low germination rate and using several seeds in each pot helps insure that seedlings will germinate.
After sowing angelica seeds, place the peat pots in a plastic bag and refrigerate them for two to three weeks. Once you bring them out of the refrigerator, treat them as you would fresh seeds. If more than one seedling germinates in a pot, clip out the weakest seedlings with scissors.
How to Propagate Angelica from Divisions
Divide angelica plants when they are two or three years old. Cut the plants back to about a foot from the ground to make them easy to handle.
Drive a sharp spade in to the center of the plant or lift the entire plant and divide the roots with a sharp knife. Replant the divisions immediately, spacing them 18 to 24 inches apart.
An easier method of angelica propagation is to allow the plants to self-seed. If you have mulched around the plant, pull the mulch back so that the seeds that fall will come in direct contact with the soil. Leave the spent flower heads on the plant so that the seeds can mature. When growing conditions are ideal, the seeds will germinate in spring.
Now that you know how to propagate angelica, you can continue to enjoy these plants each year.