Rising chervil, one of many most interesting herbs in France

Chervil (Anthriscus cerefolium) is parsley's more refined, refined cousin! It has a mild, sweet pepper taste with hints of parsley and aniseed. Its delicate, perishable leaves make it a very elusive herb, which is why it makes perfect sense to grow chervil at home.

Herb chervil is an important ingredient in French cuisine and in the “Fines Herbes” herb bouquet, which combines fresh chervil, chives, parsley and tarragon. It's best used in dishes that are cooked quickly or added towards the end to ensure that the flavor is retained. It tastes particularly good in sauces such as beurre blanc and is used as a condiment for chicken, fish and egg dishes. Alternatively, you can add chervil as a side dish or mix it with other salads to refine the whole thing.

This is a great herb to grow in cooler climates or as a wintering plant in hotter locations. It will even arouse a tender interest in shady garden spots where little else will grow. It's very easy to grow and works well in containers and even indoors on a windowsill. If you're looking to recreate your own fabulous French cuisine using chervil as the main ingredient, read on to learn how to grow it!

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Brief instructions for care

Growing chervil is a rewarding and enjoyable task. Source: Edsel L.

Common Name (s) French parsley, chervil, garden chervil
Scientific name Anthriscus cerefolium
Days to harvest 40-60 days
light Partial shade in spring / summer, full sun in winter
Water: Regular watering, keeping the soil moist
ground Rich clay
fertilizer Organic mulching or liquid fertilizer rich in nitrogen
Pests Aphids, snails and slugs
Diseases mildew

Everything about chervil

Chervil flowersChervil flowers are small, white, and pretty. Source: Gerald Davison

The botanical name for chervil is Anthriscus cerefolium. It belongs to the Apiaceae (carrot) family like parsley, coriander, fennel, and anise. Other common names include French parsley, common chervil, and garden chervil, but it's often confused with sweet cicely and wild chervil (cow parsley), which are completely different types. When in doubt, look for Anthriscus cerefolium to make sure you are getting the right plant. The chervil is native to Russia, Central Asia and Southern Europe and, due to its self-sowing, grows wild in many places, but not to be confused with the wild chervil (Anthriscus sylvestris), which reproduces itself and has an aggressive habit of growing and competes with surrounding plants. Self-sowing chervil is less aggressive and easy to sort out.

Chervil is an upright, bushy plant that can grow up to 60 cm high and 60 cm wide when ripe. Stems, stems and leaves are light to medium green. The leaves are opposite, triple pinnate with finely serrated leaflets, 3 to 5 cm long, sometimes curly and with slightly hairy undersides. In summer, tiny white flowers are carried in umbels on flowering stems that rise above the foliage. The seeds are brown, an inch long, and ribbed, similar to other seeds in the carrot family. Chervil also has a long tap root that does not transplant well.

In its native habitat, the chervil grows as a biennial, produces leaves in the first year and flowers and sows in the second. Cultivated chervil is grown as a hardy annual herb. Chervil prefers cool, moist, shady growing conditions and tends to screw up in hot, dry weather. As soon as a plant flowers, its foliage loses its characteristic taste of sweet pepper and light aniseed. To ensure a continuous supply of chervil to the kitchen, sow the chervil seeds one after the other from spring to summer and then again in autumn and harvest the leaves 8 weeks after sowing.

Chervil is grown for its leaves, which must be eaten fresh as they do not dry well or retain flavor when cooked for long periods. Flowers can be added as a garnish, and while roots are edible, they should not be confused with root chervil or chervil with beet root, which is a different species and grown specifically for root production.

If you don't have enough room to grow, you're in luck because chervil is the perfect container herb. Choose a pot with a depth of at least 30 cm to hold the taproot. Keep it near your kitchen door too! That way, you'll enjoy the freshest chervil every time!

Here are some types of chervil to look out for:

  • Brussels winter – Ready in 40 days. Withstands colder temperatures than ordinary chervil.
  • Crispum – also called curly chervil. It has dark curly leaves and a milder taste than the usual variety. Ready in 40-50 days.
  • Vertissimo – dense clumping plant with dark leaves.


As a cool season plant, chervil can be started at different times depending on the local climate. In cool climates, sow the chervil seeds from early spring to midsummer and then again in autumn one after the other every 3-4 weeks. In hotter climates, sow when the daytime temperatures drop below 18 ° C, otherwise the plants will slip shortly after the start (go to sowing).

Grow the penumbra of the chervil in moisture-resistant, loamy soils. Chervil also grows well in containers or on a windowsill indoors.

Chervil does not transplant well, so it is best to sow it directly in the soil, which is enriched with rich organic matter. If you are sowing indoors, start seeds 4-6 weeks before the last frost in deep root trainers or long biodegradable coconut pots that will reduce transplant shock. The seeds can take anywhere from 14 to 28 days to germinate. Cure the seedlings for a few days before planting the chervil outdoors between plants and rows 30 cm (15 inches) apart outdoors.

Take care of the chervil

Chervil in the potChervil grows well in containers. Source: The Croft

Growing chervil at home is easy with the right location, soil and irrigation regime. Here are some tips to keep in mind while caring for the chervil.

Sun and temperature

Chervil needs 4 hours of direct light per day. As a plant of the cool season, the chervil grows happiest in partial shade and at temperatures below 18 ° C. At temperatures of 18 ° C and above, the chervil can wither or slip, causing the leaves to lose their taste. When temperatures are high and the sun is at its strongest, protect the plants with shade. Chervil grows in USDA zones 3-7 from spring onwards. Chervils grow in late autumn in zones 8-10 and overwinter in full sun to light shade. Although herb chervil is frost tolerant, plants in very cold areas can be protected under a dome or in containers stored indoors.

Water and moisture

Keep the soil moist, but never soaking wet, and don't let the soil dry out completely. If possible, water the plants in the morning with timed watering hoses or water them by hand directly at ground level. Avoid watering the delicate foliage as it can weigh down and cause damage. Chervil grown in containers needs more watering as the pots dry out quickly. Water less in cooler climates and in the winter months.


Chervil grows well in humus-rich, moisture-resistant, freely draining clay soils with an ideal pH range of 6.5 to 7.0. A good organic mulch will keep the soil moist during the growing season and the roots cool while adding nutrients.


Soil rich in organic matter should provide adequate nutrients throughout the season. Chervil grown in containers requires more watering and so can benefit from a nitrogen-rich liquid feed every 4 weeks.


Pruning flower buds as soon as they appear and harvesting them regularly will encourage the production of new leaves and keep the plant in shape.


For best results, chervil seeds should be sown directly outdoors or in containers in their final growing positions. Grow chervil in soil enriched with organic matter and sow the seeds thinly in shallow, pre-watered drills. Gently plant solid seeds into the soil, but don't cover them as chervil seeds need light to germinate. Thin seedlings up to 6 inches (15 cm) apart once they are about 4 inches tall and kept well watered.

If growing in containers, sow groups of 2-3 seeds 6 inches (15 cm) apart and thin them down to the strongest seedling.

Seeds can also be sown indoors in large root trainers, tall pots, or coconut pots to minimize root disturbances when transplanting. Plant out after the last frost.

Harvesting and storing

Chervil herbsThe herb chervil is usually part of the French combination called fine herbs. Source: Edsel L.

The chervil is ready for harvest 6 to 8 weeks after sowing. Read on for tips on how to enjoy your local chervil at its best.


Harvest the chervil leaves in the morning when they have reached optimal hydration so that they stay fresh longer. You can use scissors or garden trimmers, or just break the leaves off by hand, being careful not to pull the whole plant.


Herb chervil can be kept in the refrigerator for a few days if it is wrapped in damp kitchen paper or with stalks in a glass of water. For long-term storage and to maintain the taste, finely chop the leaves and freeze them in ice cube trays with a little water. The frozen chervil cubes can be added straight to soups and sauces to unleash that wonderful chervil flavor!


Chervil in winterYour chervil can tolerate a bit of winter cold. Source: Alexandre Dulaunoy

Chervil is an easy plant to grow with few pests and diseases. Just in case, here are some potential issues to watch out for.

Growing problems

The most common problem with growing chervil is Screw. Bolting is caused when growing conditions get too hot or too dry and stimulate the plants to reproduce through flowering and seeding. Avoid this by growing chervil at the right time of year for the climate you live in. For example, in USDA zone 9, chervil should be grown over the winter. If your chervil plants show signs of screwing, provide shade, water, and remove the flowering stalk.


Aphids (Aphidoidea) are small, sticky, yellow, green, and black insects that feed on the sap of new growth. To treat organically, grow companion plants like cilantro, which attract beneficial insects that feed on aphids like ladybug larvae, lacewings, and hoverflies. Alternatively, spray with an organic insecticidal soap or neem oil. Squeezing aphids with your fingers or a quick jet of water can also help reduce their numbers.

Snails and snails Attack young chervil seedlings, gobble them up completely, leaving holes in stems and a glistening trail of slime as evidence. The shady, moist environment preferred by chervil is also the perfect habitat for snails and slugs to feed all day. Reduce the populations by removing their hiding places and breeding grounds such as damp, wet wood and weed mats during the day. Remove by hand on sight (best results at night) or leave behind beer or oatmeal traps that can be collected and discarded in the morning. As a last resort, use organic snail / auger pellets. Read the label carefully to make sure it does not harm other wildlife or pets.


Chervil enjoys a shady location, but when this is combined with high humidity, plants can develop mildew, a thick white fungus growth on leaves that inhibits photosynthesis and hinders growth. The foliage eventually turns yellow and dies. Maintain good garden hygiene and remove infected leaves to prevent the disease from spreading and re-infecting. Make sure there is sufficient sunlight and good air circulation. Treat affected plants with an organic fungicide such as liquid copper, sulfur, or potassium bicarbonate before or at first sight.

frequently asked Questions

Chervil fieldFor a big harvest, grow several chervil plants. Source: jonny.hunter

Q: is chervil annual or perennial?

A: Chervil is grown primarily as a hardy annual herb as it is prone to slipping in hot weather. In its natural environment, it grows every six months.

Q: is chervil easy to grow?

A: Chervil is a cool season plant that grows well in shade with regular watering. If you can provide this growing environment, chervil is pretty easy to grow.

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