Best Tips To Grow Licorice In Containers

Best Tips To Grow Licorice In Containers

Best Tips To Grow Licorice In Containers

Best Tips To Grow Licorice In Containers

Growing licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra) in containers is a delightful venture for gardeners who aim to cultivate their own sweet, medicinal herbs without needing an expansive garden.

Licorice, renowned for its sweet root, is used in culinary delights and various herbal remedies. It adapts well to container gardening, offering a practical solution for those with limited space.

With its deep roots and attractive foliage, this versatile plant requires careful consideration regarding pot size, soil composition, and watering practices to thrive.

This article aims to guide enthusiasts through the essentials of growing licorice in containers, from the initial setup to the joy of harvesting.

Follow these essential tips to grow licorice in containers and experience the rewarding journey from setup to harvest, revelling in the unique satisfaction of cultivating this versatile plant with a rich history and diverse uses.

History Of Licorice Plants

The history of the licorice plant Glycyrrhiza glabra spans several millennia, intertwining with various cultures around the globe.

Originating in Southern Europe and parts of Asia, licorice has been esteemed since ancient times for its distinctive flavour and medicinal properties.

Historical documents reveal that licorice was well-known in ancient Egypt, where it was included in a mix of medicinal concoctions and served as a thirst-quencher for pharaohs; notably, King Tutankhamun‘s tomb was found to contain licorice roots, indicating its value in the afterlife.

The plant's reputation spread through the Middle East and into China, becoming a cornerstone of traditional Chinese medicine, referred to as “gan zao.”

It was used to harmonize other herbs' properties and treat various ailments, from coughs and colds to digestive issues.

The Greeks, Romans, and later Europeans recognized licorice for its health benefits, and its use as a remedy and a sweetener increased throughout the medieval period.

By the 15th century, licorice cultivation had spread throughout Europe, with monasteries cultivating the plant for use in medicines.

In the 19th and 20th centuries, licorice entered the modern confectionery industry, becoming a popular ingredient in candies and sweets.

Despite its long history, the cultivation and consumption of licorice have remained relatively unchanged. Its sweet roots are still cherished for their flavour and healing properties.

Today, licorice remains a significant plant in herbal medicine and confectionery and as a flavouring agent, a testament to its enduring appeal and versatility.

Health Benefits Of Consuming Licorice

Since ancient times, traditional medicine has utilized licorice derived from the roots of the Glycyrrhiza glabra plant for its numerous health advantages.

Taking licorice may have the following possible health benefits:

1. Gastrointestinal Health

Licorice root contains glycyrrhizin, which has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties that may help soothe gastrointestinal inflammation associated with conditions such as gastritis and peptic ulcers.

Additionally, licorice root may stimulate mucus production in the stomach, providing a protective barrier against stomach acid and promoting healing.

2. Adrenal Support

Traditionally, licorice root has been utilized to support adrenal function and alleviate stress.

Licorice compounds help regulate cortisol levels and improve the body's response to stress, potentially enhancing resilience and reducing fatigue.

3. Anti-Diabetic Effects

One of the compounds in licorice root, glabridin, has been linked in certain studies to improved insulin sensitivity and blood sugar regulation. This may benefit people who currently have diabetes or are at risk of developing it.

4. Liver Protection

Licorice root has hepatoprotective properties, which may help protect the liver from damage caused by toxins or inflammation.

Studies have shown that licorice extract can reduce markers of liver damage and improve liver function in animal models.

5. Anti-Cancer Potential

According to a preliminary study, licorice root may have anti-cancer effects due to its capacity to stop tumour growth, cause cancer cells to undergo apoptosis, and prevent angiogenesis—the process of forming new blood vessels that aid in the growth of tumours.

However, more studies are needed to fully understand its potential in cancer prevention and treatment.

6. Dental Health

Licorice root's antibacterial qualities may help prevent the growth of bacteria that cause gum disease and dental cavities.

Licorice extract is sometimes included in oral care products such as toothpaste and mouthwash to promote oral hygiene.

7. Hormone Regulation In Women

Licorice root contains phytoestrogens, which may exert estrogen-like effects in the body. These compounds have been studied for their potential to alleviate symptoms of hormonal imbalances in women, such as hot flashes, menstrual irregularities, and menopausal symptoms.

8. Anti-Inflammatory Effects On Skin

Licorice extract's anti-inflammatory qualities make it a popular ingredient in topical skincare products.

Certain characteristics of skin diseases, such as eczema, rosacea, and acne, can help reduce redness, irritation, and inflammation.

Licorice extract may also help inhibit melanin synthesis, which can help treat hyperpigmentation and encourage a more uniform skin tone.

Licorice has several possible health benefits, but as it may interfere with some medications, it's best to consume it in moderation and speak with a healthcare provider if you have any underlying medical conditions or are currently taking medication.

Types Of Licorice Plants

The licorice plant Glycyrrhiza glabra is the most commonly known and utilized species for extracting the sweet-tasting compound glycyrrhizin.

Still, it is just one member of the broader Glycyrrhiza genus. This genus comprises several species with unique characteristics and adaptations to different environments.

Here are some notable types of licorice plants:

1. Common Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra)

The most widely cultivated species is known for its use in making licorice confectionery and for its medicinal properties. It thrives in the warm climates of Europe and Asia.

2. Chinese Licorice (Glycyrrhiza uralensis)

This species is native to Asia, particularly China, and is predominantly used in traditional Chinese medicine.

It is considered less sweet than the common licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra) but is highly valued for its therapeutic benefits.

3. American Licorice (Glycyrrhiza lepidota)

Native to North America, this species is adapted to the continent's varied climates. In contrast, it is used similarly to the common licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra) but is less commonly cultivated commercially.

4. Inflated Licorice (Glycyrrhiza inflata)

This species is another important plant in Chinese medicine known for its distinctive inflated pods. It contains different flavonoids and has been studied for its potential health benefits.

5. Himalayan Licorice (Glycyrrhiza aspera)

This species is found in the Himalayan regions and is adapted to high altitudes. It shares many of the medicinal qualities of its relatives but is less commonly used in the confectionery industry.

Each of these species has adapted to specific environmental conditions, offering a variety of uses in both the culinary and medicinal fields.

While the common licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra) remains the primary source of commercial licorice, the other species contribute valuable diversity to the genus and offer additional options for cultivation and research in herbal medicine.

Exploring The Tips To Grow Licorice In Containers

Growing licorice in containers can be a rewarding experience, allowing you to cultivate this herb even if you have limited space.

Here are some tips to help you successfully grow licorice in containers:

Choose The Right Container To Grow Licorice Plants

1. Choose The Right Container To Grow Licorice Plants

When selecting a container for growing licorice, opt for a large, deep vessel with ample space to accommodate its extensive root system.

A container measuring between 12 and 18 inches in depth and width is ideal, providing sufficient room for the plant to develop robust roots.

Additionally, ensure the container has adequate drainage holes to prevent waterlogging, which can lead to root rot and other moisture-related issues.

Licorice plants thrive in well-draining soil; proper drainage is crucial for their health and vigour.

The depth of the container is particularly important because licorice roots grow deep into the soil, so a deep container allows them to spread and develop fully.

By selecting the right container size and ensuring proper drainage, you create an optimal growing environment for licorice, maximizing its growth potential and ensuring successful cultivation in a container garden setting.

Use Well-Draining Soil To Grow Licorice In Containers

2. Use Well-Draining Soil To Grow Licorice In Containers

One crucial tip for growing licorice plants in containers is to use a high-quality, well-draining potting mix formulated for herbs or vegetables. This mix promotes healthy root development and overall plant vitality.

Select a potting mix designed especially for herbs or vegetables. These mixtures usually have the ideal ratio of organic matter to nutrients for licorice plants.

The soil should be rich in organic matter for optimal root development and to supply vital nutrients.

To help roots effectively establish themselves, make sure the potting mix is loose and friable, allowing air to permeate the soil.

To avoid waterlogging, which can cause root rot and other problems, adequate drainage is essential.

A well-draining soil mix facilitates water penetration, allowing excess moisture to drain away efficiently.

By using a well-draining potting mix rich in organic matter and ensuring it is loose and friable, you create an optimal environment for container licorice, supporting its growth and overall health throughout the growing season.

Select A Sunny Location To Grow Licorice Plants

3. Select A Sunny Location To Grow Licorice Plants

Selecting a sunny location for your container-grown licorice is crucial for optimal growth and development. The plant should get at least six to eight hours of sunlight daily.

Photosynthesis depends on sunlight, the process through which plants transform light into chemical energy to support their growth and development.

When growing licorice indoors, position the container close to a south-facing window to get as much sunlight exposure as possible.

Light-loving plants, such as licorice, thrive in windows facing south, as these windows usually receive the most sunlight during the day.

Alternatively, you can add grow lights to the mix if natural light isn't enough to give the plant enough light for healthy growth.

Proper light exposure promotes robust foliage and enhances the plant's flavour and medicinal properties.

Selecting a sunny location and providing ample sunlight creates an ideal environment for growing container licorice, ensuring vitality and productivity.

Planting Depth For Licorice Plants

4. Planting Depth For Licorice Plants

When planting licorice in containers, paying careful attention to the depth at which you bury the roots is essential.

When planting licorice in containers, ensure optimal growth by burying the roots horizontally at a depth of 2 to 4 inches in well-draining soil, with upward-facing buds, adhering to essential tips to grow licorice in containers.

This horizontal planting method allows the roots to spread out more effectively, maximizing their access to nutrients and moisture. Additionally, ensure that the buds, known as eyes, face upwards on the roots.

This orientation encourages proper growth and development, as the emerging shoots will naturally grow towards the surface to establish the plant's above-ground foliage.

Planting licorice roots at the correct depth and orientation creates favourable conditions for root establishment and plant growth.

This ensures the licorice plant thrives in its container environment, producing healthy foliage and a bountiful harvest of flavourful and beneficial roots.

Spacing Of Licorice Plants

5. Spacing Of Licorice Plants

When planting multiple licorice plants in a single container, it's crucial to provide adequate spacing to ensure each plant has sufficient room to grow and develop fully.

Space the licorice plants within the container 12 to 18 inches apart. This spacing allows each plant's root system to spread without competing for water, nutrients, and space.

Enough space between objects also reduces the likelihood of overcrowding, which raises the danger of illness and poor ventilation.

Additionally, adequate spacing promotes better light penetration and air circulation around each plant, contributing to overall plant health and vigour.

By spacing licorice plants appropriately within the container, you create an optimal growing environment that supports healthy growth and development, maximizing your yield of flavourful and medicinal licorice roots.

Watering Of Licorice Plants

6. Watering Of Licorice Plants

Maintaining proper moisture levels by watering thoroughly and allowing excess water to drain is crucial among the essential tips to grow licorice in containers, ensuring the health and vitality of the plants while preventing waterlogging and root rot.

While it's important to maintain a constant moisture level in the soil, overwatering can result in waterlogging and root damage.

Regularly check the top inch of soil with your finger to determine the moisture content; if it seems dry, water.

When watering, fully wet the soil, getting the water down to the roots in the container. To avoid waterlogging, let extra water flow out of the drainage holes in the container.

This ensures the roots can access water and oxygen, promoting healthy growth and preventing root rot.

During hot weather or periods of rapid growth, licorice plants may require more frequent watering, so monitor soil moisture closely and adjust your watering schedule accordingly.

Proper watering practices create an optimal growing environment for container licorice, supporting its overall health and productivity.

Support For Licorice Plants

7. Support For Licorice Plants

Among the tips for growing licorice in containers is installing a sturdy trellis or stake early in the growing season. This supports tall, sprawling stems and prevents toppling while avoiding root damage.

Consider installing a sturdy trellis or stake in the container to provide adequate support. Choose a support structure that is tall enough to accommodate the plant's eventual height and strong enough to withstand the weight of the growing foliage.

Place the trellis or stake in the container early in the growing season, ideally at the planting time, to avoid damaging the roots later.

As the licorice plant grows, gently tie the stems to the trellis or stake using soft plant ties or twine, ensuring they are securely supported without constricting their growth.

Check the ties regularly and adjust them as needed to accommodate the plant's growth and prevent damage to the stems.

Proper support for licorice plants in containers helps maintain their upright growth habit, reduces the risk of breakage or damage, and ensures a more aesthetically pleasing appearance in your garden or patio space.

Fertilization Of Licorice Plants

8. Fertilization Of Licorice Plants

Fertilization is crucial for ensuring the healthy growth and productivity of licorice plants grown in containers, as they may deplete nutrients more quickly than those grown in the ground.

Use a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer that provides essential macronutrients and micronutrients to meet the plant's nutritional needs.

To prevent overfertilizing, which can result in nutrient imbalances or fertilizer burn, dilute the fertilizer to half its strength.

During the growing season, beginning in early spring and continuing until late summer or early fall, apply the diluted fertilizer solution to the soil surrounding the licorice plants every 4 to 6 weeks.

Frequent fertilization restores vital nutrients in the soil, promoting healthy growth, vigorous root development, and abundant supplies of tasty and therapeutic roots.

To maintain the best possible plant health and productivity throughout the growing season, look for any nutritional deficiencies in the licorice plants, such as yellowing leaves or stunted development, and modify the fertilization schedule or nutrient levels accordingly.

Harvesting Licorice Roots

9. Harvesting Licorice Roots

Harvesting licorice roots requires patience. It typically occurs after three to four years of growth, allowing the roots to develop fully.

However, you can also harvest the leaves and stems for culinary or medicinal purposes throughout the growing season.

When harvesting licorice roots from containers, exercise patience and care. Ensure roots are fully matured by digging around the base of the plant and lifting it gently to avoid damage. Adhere to essential tips for growing licorice in containers.

Begin by carefully digging around the base of the plant to loosen the soil and expose the roots. Then, gently lift the entire plant from the container, being mindful not to break or damage the delicate roots.

Shake off excess soil and inspect the roots for maturity; mature roots will be firm, plump, and have a characteristic licorice aroma.

Trim off any excess stems and foliage, and wash the roots thoroughly to remove soil. Store harvested roots in a cool, dry place for future use, or use them fresh in teas, tinctures, or culinary recipes.

Proper harvesting techniques ensure a bountiful and sustainable harvest of licorice roots while preserving the plant's health for future growth and propagation.


In conclusion, growing licorice in containers offers a fulfilling experience, providing a unique opportunity to connect with the plant's growth and harvest while benefiting from various culinary and medicinal uses, guided by essential tips to grow licorice in containers.

Through the seasons, indulge in the joy of harvesting licorice roots, patiently waiting for their full maturity while relishing the opportunity to utilize leaves and stems for various culinary and medicinal delights.

With each tender care, you forge a unique connection with your licorice plant, witnessing its growth and vitality flourish within the confines of your container garden.

Ultimately, growing licorice in containers transcends mere cultivation; it becomes a journey of discovery, innovation, and celebrating nature's bounty in the most unexpected spaces.

With attention to detail and proper care, container-grown licorice can thrive and provide a steady supply of flavourful and beneficial roots, enhancing your garden and well-being.

Whether you're a seasoned gardener or new to container gardening, growing licorice in containers offers a delightful and rewarding experience for herb enthusiasts of all levels.

I trust you enjoyed this article on the Best Tips To Grow Licorice In Containers. Please stay tuned for more blog posts soon. Take care!



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