Have you ever heard of the chervil plant? If you haven’t, it is a plant that tastes like licorice and parsley combined. Due to its rather unique taste, the leaves of the plant are often used in drinks and desserts. Quite interesting plant, isn’t it? Here, we have a brief guide that will help you plant the plant yourself.
What Is Chervil Plant?
Anthriscus cerefolium, more popularly known as chervil, French Parsley, or gourmet parsley, is an annual herb that is well-known for its “sweet” taste. Many described its taste to be a combination of licorice and parsley. Not surprisingly, lots of people grow this plant to be used in drinks and desserts.
The plant is a cool-season annual. It can grow anywhere between 12 inches and 12 inches in height. Its taste is not the only thing that resembles parsley. It looks like one, too. During May through July, the plant blooms small white flowers.
How to Sow Chervil Seeds
1. Sowing Indoors
- Use a seed starting kit and sow the chervil seeds indoors for 4 to 8 weeks before the last frost in spring.
- Sow the seeds about 1/8 inches deep in the seed-starting mix. The seeds need light to germinate so press them lightly.
- To ensure the best growth, keep the soil moist at 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Chervil seedlings should emerge in 14 to 28 days.
- As soon as seedlings emerge, provide them with lots of light on a sunny windowsill. Alternatively, you can grow them 3 to 4 inches under fluorescent plant lights for about 16 hours a day. At night, turn off the light for 9 hours.
- Chervil seedlings don’t need much fertilizer. If you want to feed them, feed the seedlings when they are 3 to 4 weeks old. Use a starter solution (follow the manufacturer’s directions for this).
- If you are planting seedlings in small cells, you should transplant them to 3- or 4-inch pots when they have at least 3 pairs of leaves before you transplant them to the garden. Doing this will allow them to develop strong roots.
- Before you plant them in the garden, make sure the seedling plants are hardened off first. The hardening off process is necessary as it toughens the chervil plant’s cell structure as well as reduces the likelihood of transplant shock and scalding.
- To harden them off, move them to a sheltered place outside for about a week.
- Finally, transplant the plants carefully.
2. Sowing in the Garden
- Sow the seeds in average soil about 2 to 3 weeks before the last frost date. If you live in a frost-free area, sow the seeds from fall to early spring. Choose a spot where the plants will get light shade to full sun.
- Remove any weeds from the designated spot. Work organic matter into the top 6 to 8 inches of the soil. After that, level and smooth the soil.
- Sow the seeds evenly. Cover the seeds with 1/8 inches of fine soil.
- Keep the soil evenly moist and firm it lightly.
- Seedlings should emerge in 14 to 28 days.
- Thin the seedlings to 10 inches apart when they are 1 to 2 inches tall.
How to Grow Chervil Plant
- The plant grows optimally with even soil temperature and moist soil. To maintain the temperature and retain the moisture of the soil, you can try mulching.
- The best mulch for the chervil plant is shredded leaves or aged bark. Not only they will improve the soil over time, but they also look more natural. Just keep the mulch away from the plant’s stem to prevent possible rot.
- During the growing season keep the plants well-watered, especially during dry spells. During its growing season, chervil requires about 1 inch of rain per week. The best way to water these plants is by using a trickle system or drip.
- In cooler weather, chervil will produce more foliage.
- These plants develop a taproot. They don’t like to be disturbed.
- You can encourage better growth by pinching plants and deadheads.
- To ensure the best growth, always keep an eye on pests and diseases. Deal with the problem as soon as possible if you find them.
Harvesting Chervil Plant
To get the best chervil taste, harvest the leaves when they are young. You can snip off an entire branch of the plant as needed. Try to harvest when their leaves are still small.
What if you miss some leaves and they reach their full size? Well, there’s nothing to worry about. Full-size leaves taste delicious too although not as flavorful as their younger counterparts. On the other hand, if the leaves turn purple or bronze, they turn bitter and lose their flavor.
You can keep the leaves fresh for about 3 days if you put them in a sealed plastic bag or container in the fridge. Don’t wash and make them wet before storing them as the leaves may rot if they are wet.
Chervil Companion Plants
You can plant chervil plant with other plants, too. For example, broccoli and lettuce. Chervil is beneficial for these two plants if it is planted nearby as it repels aphids.
Other chervil companion plants are dill and coriander. Chervil and these plants make an ideal grouping if you are planting them in containers.
Chervil plant is not the only plant for your kitchen needs, of course. Want to plant more herbs for your kitchen needs? Consider planting the savory herb. Don’t know how to do it? No worries. Our guide here can help you.
Where to Buy Chervil?
Chervil plant is quite common, so you can find it in your local plant shops easily. If you want to plant chervil seeds, make sure to get the appropriate pots or containers (for example, bio-degradable pots) so the planting process will be easier.
Overall, planting chervil is not difficult as the plant doesn’t demand much. That being said, proper care and maintenance are, of course, required, just like as you would with other plants. If you want a richer taste in the kitchen, planting a chervil plant is definitely a good idea.