With its bright green, fern-like leaves and masses of creamy-white flowers in huge umbel-like clusters, sweet cicely deserves a place in the flower border or decorative herb garden. It can grow up to 3 feet tall and spread up to 3 feet. It's hard to find a perennial with a longer season than sweet cicely--it's in full leaf from early spring until mid-winter with flowers in May and June. The large seedheads are attractive, too, and work well in dried arrangements. It has a pleasant fragrance resembling that of aniseed and is attractive to bees. The plant is currently being studied for use as an artificial sweetener for diabetics.
Seeds should be sown in the fall in a partially shaded area. They can also be cold-stratified in the fridge for 2-4 months to simulate winter. The plant prefers cool, moist soil, and is not suitable for humid climates. Plants self-sow readily. Move seedlings to a permanent location in the spring.