Anthriscus cerefolium. A delicate parsley-like plant with a hint of licorice aroma, its delicate flavour disappears in cooking so add it just prior to serving or add raw leaves fresh to salads. Chervil likes to grow in a cool season, and it actually thrives in partial shade. Direct-sow chervil seeds in spring or late summer. Harvest the flowers just before they open, and make the most of the foliage before flowering begins. If allowed to flower and go to seed, it may self sow. This is an underrated herb, and remains a stranger to many North American gardeners. We love it.
A delicate, annual, parsley-like plant with a hint of liquorice, chervil is one of the traditional fines herbes. Chervil is an excellent companion for Brassicas, lettuce, and radishes, but does best in part shade. Try growing some between rows of tall cabbages and kale. Chervil helps to repel slugs. Continue reading below for some tips on how to grow chervil from seed.
Season & Zone
Season: Cool season
Exposure: Sun or part-shade
Start seeds indoors or direct sow in spring. Direct sow in summer and protect plants from midday sun for a winter crop – chervil is quite hardy. Keep transplanting to a minimum, as chervil develops a delicate taproot that does not respond well to disturbance.
Sow seeds 5mm-1cm (¼-½”) deep, and space plants 23-30cm (9-12″) apart.
Chervil plants will be ready for cutting 6-8 weeks after sowing. It’s probably best to grow chervil in relatively damp soil in partial shade, as plants will bolt in hot mid-summer weather. Transplanting may also trigger bolting. Cover with a cloche in winter, and it will just keep growing until it blooms the following spring.
Begin harvesting as needed 6-8 weeks after sowing, or when plants are 10cm (4″) tall. Drying kills nearly all the flavour of chervil leaves, so freezing is best for long term storage.
Chervil is an excellent companion for Brassicas, lettuce, and radishes, but does best in part shade. Try growing some between rows of tall cabbages and kale. Chervil helps to repel slugs.
More on Companion Planting.