Star anise is a spice derived from an aromatic evergreen tree. It is widely cultivated in various regions of India and is particularly popular for its culinary uses. Star anise possesses distinctive star-shaped fruits and fragrant properties that make it a sought-after spice. If you’re interested in growing star anise, here are some essential aspects to consider.

Cultivation Climate

Star anise thrives in warm and humid climates. It requires temperatures ranging from 20 to 35 degrees Celsius for optimal growth. Extremely hot conditions exceeding 40°C or frosty weather should be avoided. Star anise can be cultivated at different elevations, from sea level to 1200-2000 meters. Adequate rainfall of around 90 cm is essential during the growing season, while excessive water or waterlogging can harm the plant.

Suitable Soil for Star Anise

There is no one kind of soil type to grow star anises in – suitable soils range from sand to clay. Although that is the case, it prefers well-drained clay loam soil with a pH of 5.5-7.5. Add dolomite to fix slightly acidic soil. The soil needs organic matter and bacteria to help roots nodulate and fix nitrogen. It should retain water well and have good aeration to avoid water stress and root rot.

Varieties of Star Anise

In India, two main types of star anise are grown. The first is the Indian Star Anise, which is native to and mainly cultivated in India. The second is the Chinese Star Anise, which is more prevalent in the Himalayan regions of India and certain parts of Nepal. Each variety has different features like yield potential, maturity time, disease resistance, seed size, oil content, and protein content. It’s crucial to choose the right variety based on your local climate and market demand.

Propagation Methods

Star anise can grow either from seeds or transplanted saplings directly in the field or by starting them in a nursery. Both methods can be successful for cultivating star anise. To enhance germination, it is beneficial to use fungicides and bioagents to prevent seed-borne diseases. It can be easier for you to soak the seeds in water before planting as it can promote better growth. The seed rate may vary depending on the variety, spacing, and sowing method, but typically ranges from 60-80 kg/ha.

Suitable Growing Season

With proper irrigation, star anise can grow throughout the year. However, the plant requires ample sunlight, which can be a challenge during the monsoon season due to cloudy days.

Land Preparation

Thorough soil preparation is crucial for successful star anise cultivation. You can utilise rotary cultivators mounted on your Swaraj Tractor to break up the soil and level the fields. Based on rainfall and drainage conditions, it is advisable to create beds or ridges with a rough width of 1 meter and a height of 20-30 cm. During the monsoon season, the ridge height should be higher to prevent waterlogging. The distance between beds or ridges should be 50 cm. Special implements mounted on tractors can facilitate the creation of these ridges and beds.

After preparing the bed or ridge, install drip irrigation pipes to ensure efficient water utilization. Mulching is necessary to prevent weed growth and water loss. Although mulching may incur an expense of approximately Rs 15,000 per hectare, it significantly reduces labor and water costs.

Planting, Spacing, and Density

By employing appropriate spacing and placement, you can grow around 26,600 star anise plants per hectare. You can either sow seeds to being up the plant, or transplant a sapling from a nursery. It is crucial to treat the seeds with fungicides or biological agents to prevent diseases and promote germination. Soaking the seeds for 5-6 hours and applying insecticides to protect against ants are advisable. Sow the seeds 2 centimeters deep and immediately watered.

Intercropping Possibilities

Intercropping is an effective method to enhance the productivity and profitability of star anise cultivation. By intercropping star anise with suitable crops, you can reduce the risk of diseases and pests. Coffee, tea, banana, pineapple, and ginger are some compatible crops for intercropping with star anise. The choice of intercropping crop should be based on local conditions and market demand.

Irrigation Requirements

Adequate irrigation plays a vital role in the successful cultivation of star anise. The plant requires consistent moisture throughout the growing season, but excess water or waterlogging can negatively impact yield and quality. Drip irrigation, combined with mulching, is the optimal approach for water conservation and weed control. Flood irrigation may not be good, due to water wastage and potential weed problems. The frequency and amount of irrigation depend on factors such as soil type, rainfall, crop stage, and variety. Typically, watering every 10-15 days, 6-8 times, is ideal.


The timing of star anise harvesting depends on the variety and weather conditions, usually beginning approximately three years after planting. Harvest the pods when fully mature and dry, before they split and drop the seeds. Harvesting during the early morning or evening is advisable to avoid excessive heat. You can use either a harvester or a sickle to cut the plants and harvest them properly.

Post-Harvest Handling

After harvesting, start the threshing process to separate the seeds from the pods and stalks. You can either thresh manually by beating the plants on a hard surface or by using a thresher machine mounted on to your Digitrac Tractor. Cleaning the seeds to remove either dirt, stones, or damaged seeds is essential. After that you should dry the seeds to reduce the moisture content to 10-12% for safe storage. Gunny bags or bins in a cool, dry, well-ventilated silo can be helpful in storing star anise.


In conclusion, star anise can yield approximately 1.5 to 2 tonnes per hectare. The actual yield depends on various factors, which include, but are not limited to variety, agronomic practices, weather conditions, and the utilization of appropriate machinery. Kerala emerged as India’s leading star anise producer in 2019-20, because it achieved a yield of 2 tonnes per hectare. By selecting high-yielding varieties, employing proper seed treatment, implementing balanced fertilization, timely watering, effective weed management, and also controlling pests and diseases, farmers can enhance star anise yield. Additionally, intercropping with suitable crops can further increase productivity and profitability.