Chervil is a cool season annual and grows anywhere between 12 inches and 24 inches tall. Its appearance resembles parsley. Chervil blooms in small white flowers that form umbels, May through July. The leaves have a mild aniseed taste. Chervil has medicinal and culinary uses. In French cuisine, it is one of the four herbs, along with chives, tarragon, and parsley, which make up the delicate bouquet “fines herbs”.
Chervil serves as an excellent companion plant for carrots and radishes and is reported to make radishes hotter and crisper when grown near one another. It also grows well with cilantro/coriander and dill, making them an ideal grouping for containers. It has also been reported to protect lettuces from aphids and other insects when companion planted.
Growing the Herb Chervil
The seeds of chervil can be sown in spring and fall, or in successive sowings every 2 to 3 weeks up to 6 weeks before the first frost. Chervil is great for growing in containers or large tubs. The seedlings are too fragile to transplant, so they should be planted in their permanent location. Sow a group of 5 seeds just below the surface of the soil, each group 12 inches apart, cover with soil and firm down. Keep chervil watered at all times. When the seedlings reach approximately 2 inches tall, thin to 4 inches between plants. The ideal location for chervil is partial shade in summer and sun in the winter, in a somewhat sheltered area, such as under a deciduous tree. Chervil can be picked any time of the year.
Chervil usually grows to a height of 12 to 24 inches (30 - 60cm).
Space Chervil plants 12 inches (30 cm) apart.
Preferred pH Range
Chervil will grow in a wide pH range between 5.0 (strongly acidic) and 8.2 (alkaline) with an ideal range between 5.5 and 7.0.
Chervil is most commonly propagated by seed. Chervil seed should be planted outdoors about 2 weeks before the last frost. The seeds need light to germinate and should therefore be planted in uncovered 1/2-1 inch deep furrows outdoors.
Seed Germination Period
Chervil seeds will germinate in soil between approximately 7 and 14 days. New seeds should be planted every few weeks for a continuous harvest throughout the season.