The Q&A Archives: Angelica Growing Too Large

Question: Last year I planted an angelica. So far this year, the plant has become so large that I'm not sure what to do about it. I don't want to damage it by cutting off too much of it, but it's invading some of my other established plants. Can I take off a lot of the lower stems without a problem? Is there anything else I should be doing with it? The plant is gorgeous, but it's only the beginning of May!

Answer: I assume you're referring to Angelica archangelica, which can reach 6 feet. As a general guideline, it's best to trim off no more than 1/3 of a plant during one season. However, angelica leaves are edible and leafstalks can be cooked like celery, so you could just eat the plant down to size! Your dilemma points out the importance of finding out the mature size of a plant and then planting it where it will have room to reach that size without excessive pruning, which can be detrimental, or overcrowding other plants, which is stressful. Research shows that stressed plants invite pests and disease. So, if possible, you might want to move the plant elsewhere to allow it to expand. Good luck!

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