Are you looking for a touch of classic beauty to add to your garden or landscape? You might consider Queen Anne’s Lace (Daucus Carota). This delicate, timeless biennial brings a vintage feel that can only be described as genteel.
Named after the exquisite embroidering virtuosity of Queen Anne of England, this plant lives up to its name. With wide, lacey, clustered flowers and ferny green foliage, the plant, and especially the flowers, have the dainty appearance of lace. It grows to be about 6 feet tall and 6 feet wide. Queen Anne’s Lace is the darling of the garden.
As a distinguishing feature, most of the clusters of the light colored flowers have a deep red or black flower in the center. According to legend, this single dark flower represents a drop of blood shed by Queen Anne herself when she pricked her finger on a needle. This tiny distinctive flower is a fascinating feature for the young and old!
Queen Anne’s Lace is native to temperate portions of Europe and southwestern Asia. It hasn’t always been revered only for its looks. It is also known as wild carrot, and its fragrance and flavor resembles that of your garden variety carrot. High in Vitamin A, beta carotene and sugar, the roots, flowers and foliage have all been used throughout history as a source of food and medicine. Even today, some use the roots as a flavoring for tea and the flowers for tossed salads.
How to Grow and Care for Queen Anne’s Lace
Queen Anne’s Lace behaves a lot like a wildflower. It is easily grown from seed. It enjoys full sun and average quality but well draining soil. It will not tolerate freezing temperatures, so wait until the last frost of the season has passed to plant your Queen Anne’s Lace seeds. Or plant them in the fall where the seeds will lie dormant until things warm up in the spring.
Simply spread your seeds over the ground where you’d like your Queen Anne’s Lace to grow. Then, leave them alone. This low maintenance plant will produce a lot of foliage during its first year. Its second year will be the year for the flowers. These flowers will attract beneficial insects to your garden.
During its second growing season, as your Queen Anne’s Lace matures, the plant will produce flowers in all of their varying stages- new and old- at the same time. As the flower clusters die off and turn to seed, the cluster will curl upward. It will look like a little basket.
The self made basket holds the seeds. The seeds will eventually drop to the ground, and if they land on watered soil, they will begin a new life cycle. You can also harvest the seeds yourself from the little basket. You can plan on enjoying your Queen Anne’s Lace for years with its self seeding abilities.
If you would like to prevent the spread of your Queen Anne’s Lace, remove the baskets of seeds and dispose of them thoughtfully.
Queen Anne’s Lace Pests and Problems
Queen Anne’s Lace is a prolific self seeder. So, before you grow Queen Anne’s Lace, check with your local extension office. In many areas here in the U.S., Queen Anne’s Lace is considered a noxious weed or an invasive species. It spreads very quickly and prefers the warm, humid conditions of its native lands. So, if you live in a warm and muggy region, be extra careful.
Also, if you are considering ingesting your Queen Anne’s Lace, be doubly certain that you have grown Queen Anne’s Lace and not it’s evil look alike- poison hemlock. The difference between the two plants is that Queen Anne’s Lace has a hairy stem whereas poison hemlock has a smooth stem. Poison hemlock smells bad, too. Queen Anne’s Lace smells sweet. The video below gives more detail on how to identify Queen Anne’s Lace.
In general, Queen Anne’s lace is a tough plant that isn’t often affected by bugs or disease. However, you might have to look out for some of the pests and diseases that are common to plants growing in hot and humid conditions. Give your Queen Anne’s Lace enough elbow room to ensure plenty of sunshine and good circulation. Your plant will likely remain healthy and stout in spite of a few bugs.
Want to learn more about growing Queen Anne’s Lace?
Check out these resources:
Queen Anne’s Lace from University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture: Research and Extension
Queen Anne’s Lace, Daucus carota from University of Wisconsin-Extension Master Gardener Program
Would this be the Queen Anne from King Henry’s court?
Lana Kilpatrick says
Can you dry or preserve Queen Anne’s Lace?
My mother pressed Queen Anne’s Lace between 2 pieces of wax paper, in middle of a big, heavy book, for several weeks to ensure they were fully dried. She left the stems & leaves on as well. She then (lightlu) glued them into place on a rectangular piece of felt (olive), and then placed a small piece of bark over the bottom of the stems to cover them up. Finally, she framed it in a simple frame. Hope this helps!
I have collected flowers in Oregon at my son’s home and placed them between sheets of wax paper and pressed them in books. We put them on the ends of our Christmas tree to remind us of our son who lives in another state. They are really beautiful.
Jill Auerbach says
What is the white powder like specks that fall of of the Queen Anne’s Lace flower?
What do the seeds look like?
michael e weiss says
jan wellman says
can you replant queen anne”s lace from the wild or do have to have seeds?
You can harvest seeds from the flower after it dries up.
drake koefoed says
this stuff is pretty but an awful weed. it will drop hundreds of thousands of little burry seeds and bury anything in your veg garden. long haired cats will suffer terribly. consider yarrow instead. there are multi color mixes of it now, not just the old achillia millifolium.
Pamela Wilson says
If I pick the flowers for a vase will more flowers grow to replace them this season?
Typo for email address on last comment
I don’t have the answer for your question but you can color your cuttings to put in your vase. Put some food coloring in the water and it will seep up into the lacy flowers. It’s really quite beautiful.
Sellie Jefferson says
You have to plant the seeds. It won’t work if you try to replant them. Harvesting dried seeds works really well.
Not true. I dug one out on a walk and replanted it no problem
Flowering beautifully this year. I’m going to have to be careful now after reading this as if it grows 6ft wide an 6ft tall it’s too big for my garden
Sellie Jefferson says
You have to have seeds to get new plants. Leave a few so the flowers can dry into seeds and self-spread or harvest the seeds after they’ve dried on the stems. Hopefully, you can have some in a vase and some outside to save until the seeds present.
Carol Pongetti Leggett says
Could I buy some packs of Queen Anne lace?
Peter Marx says
Can you transplant first year plants to get flowers for the next Summer?
Does anyone ship first year plants?
I’m old and want to see them in my zone 9 yard again asap.
Jim Case says
Have the seeds ever been used as a form of birth control?
Yes! The plant is normally made into a tincture and used as “morning after” treatment. Its a bit more complicated than just taking a dropper full after seggs, so learn how to use it correctly for that purpose if you need it.