If you have shade, or partial shade, and are looking for an evergreen screen in your landscape, you may want to try Illicium, also called Star Anise or Anise Tree. If you break an Illicium leaf, it smells like anise, licorice, or even a gin and tonic, but while you can’t eat this plant, you can plant it in your landscape.
Illicium prefers moist or well-drained soil, and can even grow in wet soil. The dark green foliage is toxic to insects, making it a natural pest-resisting plant.
Most Anise Trees will grow large enough for a screen, reaching from 6 to 15 feet tall. The flowers are generally small, but some varieties such as Miss Scarlet have a larger bloom. Not all Illicium are green; the Florida Sunshine variety stands out with its chartreuse to yellow foliage.
Pruning your Illicium is fine if you need to do it, but choosing a variety to fit your space is always the best way to go.
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