Galium odoratum

Phonetic Spelling GAL-ee-um oh-dor-AY-tum Description

Low maintenance, herbaceous perennial groundcover blooms in the spring.

Useful in herb gardens, rock gardens, naturalized areas, shady borders or as a ground cover or edging plant. They tolerate heavy shade and even being planted near black walnuts. Can be somewhat aggressive under optimal growing conditions. Plants can be mowed with a rotary mower set high if necessary to maintain growth.

Lance-shaped dark green leaves form whorls of 6-8 around, squarish stems. The foliage smells of freshly mowed hay when crushed. The aromatic properties increase when the leaves are dried so they are often used in potpourri or sachets. This plant has been used commercially in perfumes. The white flowers are showy, fragrant and edible. They have a sweet, nutty, vanilla flavor. Flowers can have a blood-thinning effect if eaten in large amounts.

Play Value: Wildlife Enhancement

Notes: Potentially invasive

Covered in hooked bristles in summer

Seed: Capsule

Cultivars / Varieties: Tags: #fragrant#showy flowers#fragrant flowers#white flowers#herbs#fragrant leaves#edible flowers#playground#culinary herb#children’s garden#edible garden#edible leaves

This perennial dies back to below ground level each year in autumn, then fresh new growth appears again in spring.

  • Position: full sun or partial shade
  • Soil: tolerates most but prefers moist, humus-rich soil
  • Rate of growth: average
  • Flowering period: May to July
  • Hardiness: fully hardy
    Some galiums have a reputation for being invasive, but is one of the well behaved ones. Once established it will spread by underground rhizomes to make large clumps, which are invaluable for providing very pretty groundcover in a woodland or naturalised planting scheme. From late spring, small clusters of star-like, white flowers appear above the attractive, emerald green foliage. These flowers have a delicious scent and will attract lots of local bees looking for a treat. It will thrive in sun or dappled shade, however the foliage may become scorched in strong sun, especially if the soils are dry. After it has had a chance to settle in it will develop some tolerance to drought.
  • Garden care: Lift and divide large clumps in autumn or early spring.

Sweet Woodruff Seeds – Our Lady’s Lace Herb Seed

Herb Specifications

Season: Perennial

USDA Zones: 4 – 8

Height: 8 inches

Bloom Season: Late spring to early summer

Bloom Color: White

Environment: Partial shade

Soil Type: Rich, porous, moist soil, pH 5.6 – 7.5

Deer Resistant: Yes

Planting Directions

Temperature: 34F for 30 days, then 60F for 35 days

Average Germ Time: 30 – 65 days

Light Required: Yes

Depth: 1/4 inch

Sowing Rate: 4 – 5 seeds per plant

Moisture: Keep seeds moist until germination

Plant Spacing: 9 – 12 inches

Sweet Woodruff (Asperula Odorata or Galium Odoratum) – Also known as Our Lady’s Lace, this low-growing perennial is versatile and grows well from Sweet Woodruff seeds. Often used as a ground cover, Sweet Woodruff herb plants have whorled leaves and small vanilla-scented white flowers in spring. It does make an excellent ground cover plant due to its low-growing nature and spreading habit. Historically, the herb seeds were grown for an aromatic plant that was used as an air freshener and placed in linen closets. Sweet Woodruff herb plants are also natural insect repellents and gardeners often grow them around ornamentals like roses to keep the pests away. As a medicinal herb, Sweet Woodruff was used to treat numerous ailments and was often used for the treatment of wounds.

Sweet Woodruff prefers a semi-shady spot that’s protected from the sun during the hottest part of the day. Shallow rooted and preferring rich, porous soil, it is a good choice near trees, or in problem areas where there are tree roots or other obstructions, like rocks, close to the soil surface. It likes moist conditions, and given enough water will grow to a nice low height of about 8 inches. If it starts to wilt, provide mulch and additional water. Unfortunately, for the indoor herb gardener, Sweet Woodruff is not well suited for growing indoors.

How To Grow Sweet Woodruff From Herb Seeds: Sweet Woodruff seeds germinate best after a period of cold temperatures. Some gardeners will dampen peat moss, mix the herb seeds into the peat moss and then place the peat moss/seed mixture in the refrigerator for 2 to 4 weeks before sowing. Others will sow the herb seeds in a starter tray, water, seal the tray, and place it in the refrigerator. Finally, the last method of sowing would be to directly sow the Sweet Woodruff seeds outdoors in a prepared seedbed in late winter or first of spring while frosts are still expected.

Growing Sweet Woodruff: Tips To Grow Sweet Woodruff Herb

An often forgotten herb, sweet woodruff (Galium odoratum) can be a valuable addition to the garden, particularly shade gardens. Sweet woodruff herb was originally grown for the fresh smell the leaves give off and was used as a type of air freshener. It also has some medicinal uses, though as always you should check with a doctor before using any medical herb. It is also an edible plant that is said to taste somewhat of vanilla.

Today, sweet woodruff is most commonly used as a ground cover in shady areas. Sweet woodruff ground cover, with its star-shaped whorls of leaves and lacy white flowers, can add interesting texture and spark to a deeply shaded part of the garden. Sweet woodruff care is easy and taking the time to plant sweet woodruff is well worth the effort.

How to Grow Sweet Woodruff Herb

Sweet woodruff herb should be planted in a shady area. They like moist but well draining soil that is rich in organic material from things like decomposing leaves and branches, but will also grow in dry soils. It grows in USDA Zones 4-8.

Sweet woodruff spreads by runners. In moist soil, it can spread very quickly and can become invasive in the right conditions. It is often recommended that you plant sweet woodruff ground cover in an area that you would not mind seeing naturalized by sweet woodruff. You can also keep sweet woodruff under control by spade edging around the bed yearly. Spade edging is done by driving a spade into the soil on the edge of the flower bed where you are growing sweet woodruff. This will sever the runners. Remove any sweet woodruff plants growing outside the bed.

After the plants are established, growing sweet woodruff is very simple. It doesn’t need to be fertilized and should only be watered in times of drought. Sweet woodruff care is just that easy.

Sweet Woodruff Propagation

Sweet woodruff is most often propagated by division. You can dig up clumps from an established patch and transplant them.

Sweet woodruff can also be propagated by seed. Sweet woodruff seeds can be planted directly into the soil in the spring or can be started indoors up to 10 weeks before your area’s last frost date.

To direct sow sweet woodruff, in early spring simply spread the seeds over the area that you wish to grow them and lightly cover the area with sifted soil or peat moss. Then water the area.

To start sweet woodruff indoors, spread the seeds evenly in the growing container and lightly cover the top with peat moss. Water the container and then place it into your refrigerator for two weeks. After you have chilled the sweet woodruff seeds, place them in a cool, lighted area (50 F. (10 C.), such as a basement or an unheated, attached garage to germinate. Once they have germinated, you can move the sweet woodruff seedlings to a warmer location.

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