About Wild Licorice: Though not the source of the licorice flavor used in candy, this wild plant has a natural sweetness because of an organic substance called “glycyrrhizin” that tastes about fifty times sweeter than table sugar. Early settlers and Native Americans often used the roots of wild licorice for both medicinal and culinary purposes. On their expedition to the western United States, Lewis and Clark gathered many plant specimens previously unknown to science, including this native species. In their diary of the journey, they record finding wild licorice near the banks of the Missouri River on May 8, 1805.
Wild Licorice Germination: Before planting, pour 180 degrees F water over the seed and let it soak overnight. In late fall or early spring, direct sow the treated seed ¼” deep. To start the seed indoors, sow seeds in a flat or individual peat pots 6-8 weeks before the last frost; keep the soil lightly moist and at a temperature of 70 degrees F until germination, which usually occurs within two weeks. When the weather has warmed and the seedlings are well established, transplant outdoors. This plant prefers moist, sandy soil.
Growing Wild Licorice Seeds: Keep the soil moist as the seedlings develop. This plant grows rather slowly at first because of its extensive root system, which takes much of its energy in the first stages of growth. Mature plants self-seed and may spread by rhizomes in good growing conditions; these plants can also be divided in spring or fall. Since this plant has low drought tolerance, it may need watering in dry weather. We cannot sell this seed to customers in WY.
Harvesting Wild Licorice: These blossoms do not perform well as cut flowers, and are best enjoyed in the garden.
Saving Wild Licorice Seeds: After flowering, this plant will produce clusters of ½-1” brown pods covered with hooked barbs. Remove the pods as soon as they have turned brown, and split them to harvest the reddish-brown seeds inside. Store the cleaned seed in a cool, dry place.
Detailed Wild Licorice Info: Origin: US Native Other Common Names: American Licorice, Licorice Root Duration: Perennial Bloom Time: Summer Height: 24-36 inches Spacing: 15-18 inches Light: Full Sun to Part Shade Soil Moisture: Medium USDA Zone: 3a-10b Seeds Per Oz: 4,500 Produces a branching plant with pointed compound leaves and elongated clusters of fragrant, creamy white flowers.