Sweet Woodruff – Galium odoratum

The delightfully fragrant Sweet Woodruff prefers a woodland-type habitat and soil.

In the days before chemical deodorants and air fresheners. Householders used Sweet Woodruff to freshen the air. They would strew it on the floor, hang it on walls and in cupboards. Fold it among the linen in drawers and chests, and even stuff it into mattresses. Its sweet fragrance would pervade the house, helping to disguise bad odours.

Today Sweet Woodruff is mainly used as a decorative plant, but its sweet scent can still be used about the house. It is a small carpeting plant with small, brilliant white flowers, each comprising four petals in the shape of a cross.

Deutsch: Galium odoratum - Waldmeister Nederla...

Image via Wikipedia

The leaves are decoratively held in whorls about the square stems. These, when dried, give off the sweet odour that is characteristic of the plant.

This is not a difficult plant to grow as long as the soil is not too dry. It does spread quite rapidly, but is not generally a nuisance, as it can easily be removed if necessary. It does make a good ground cover while in leaf.

There is only the one form of G. odoratum, but there are several Galium species that are of interest to the gardener. G. verum is the native Lady’s Bed-straw that was used, as its name implies, for stuffing ladies’ mattresses. This is a small yellow flower and is well worth growing in a wild flower garden among the grass. The American White Bedstraw. G. mollugo is a larger plant with white flowers. G. aparine, on the other hand, is a plant to avoid. Known as Goosegrass or Cleavers, it is nothing but a nuisance in the garden.

Set out the young plants in Autumn or Spring. They will spread quite rapidly, so don’t plant them too closely together, 30cm (12m) will do.

Sweet Woodruff likes a lightly-shaded position. In full sun, its leaves are likely to become limp and die back early, even if the soil is quite moist.

This woodland plant likes a cool, moist. Woodland-type soil containing plenty of humus.

G. odoratum is a completely hardy plant that will come through all Winters without any special needs. It is not so happy in a hot, sunny position.

Sweet Woodruff requires little attention once it has been planted, especially if it can roam free. Elsewhere, it will need pulling out regularly to keep it in check.

This plant is easily propagated by digging up rooted clumps and transplanting them.

You may still find this plant listed as Asperula odorata.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Sorry, comments are closed for this post.