How To Grow Sassafras

Written by: Lars Nyman

Growing Sassafras

Growing Sassafras

Growing the plant Sassafras is a rewarding experience because of its unique and delicious taste as well as its many potential uses. It has a slightly spicy flavor, often compared to root beer, that makes it popular as a drink, addition to sauces, or as a flavoring for food. With its interesting aroma, useful medicinal properties, and its ability to perfume the air around it, Sassafras is a great addition to the garden and can bring the sweet smell of summer indoors.

Cheatsheet: Growing Sassafras

1. Soil Requirements:

Sassafras thrives in well-drained soil with a pH level between 6.0-7.5.

2. Sunlight:

Plant in an area that receives full or partial sunlight for optimal growth.

3. Planting:

Sow seeds in early spring or late fall, keeping a distance of 15-20 feet between each tree.

4. Watering:

Ensure consistent watering, providing 1 inch of water per week during dry periods.

5. Growth Rate:

Sassafras is a fast-growing tree, reaching a height of 40-60 feet within 20-30 years.

6. Harvesting:

Harvest the roots in winter after the leaves have fallen, while the sap is concentrated.

7. Culinary Uses:

Sassafras leaves can be dried and used to flavor soups, stews, and beverages.

8. Medicinal Qualities:

Sassafras has been used for its diuretic, anti-inflammatory, and fever-reducing properties.

9. Health Benefits:

Contains antioxidants, aids digestion, and may help relieve symptoms of arthritis.

10. Sustainability:

An abundant source for sustainable timber and a valuable addition to diverse ecosystems.

How To Grow Sassafras

So, you want to grow sassafras in your garden? Great choice! Let me share with you all the tips and tricks I've learned over the years as an experienced gardener. Trust me, this fascinating tree will not only add beauty to your landscape but also offer a range of benefits.

1. Finding the Right Spot

Sassafras loves sunlight, so make sure to choose a spot in your garden that receives at least 4-6 hours of direct sunlight each day. Additionally, make sure the soil is well-draining and rich in organic matter. This will ensure healthy growth and development of your sassafras tree.

2. Starting from Seeds

One of the best ways to grow sassafras is by starting from seeds. The seeds are usually found in the tree's fruit, which resembles a blueberry. Collect these fruits in autumn, and remove the seeds. Soak the seeds in warm water for 24 hours to enhance germination.

Afterward, fill small pots with a well-draining potting mix and plant the seeds about 1/4 inch deep. Keep the soil consistently moist, and within a few weeks, you should start seeing tiny sassafras seedlings emerging!

3. Propagation via Root Cuttings

If you already have a sassafras tree in your garden, you can easily propagate it through root cuttings. During the dormant season, dig out young suckers from the base of the tree and cut them into 4-6 inch sections. Plant these root cuttings in a well-draining potting mix, burying about half of each cutting. Keep the soil moist, and new shoots will start appearing in a few weeks.

4. Providing Care and Maintenance

Sassafras trees are relatively low-maintenance, but they still need some care and attention to thrive. Make sure to water them regularly, especially during dry spells. Mulching around the base of the tree will not only help retain moisture but also suppress weeds. Additionally, a light application of organic fertilizer in early spring will give your sassafras a healthy boost.

Did you know that sassafras not only smells incredible but also offers medicinal properties? Native Americans have used this tree for centuries to treat various ailments, including fevers and rheumatism.

5. Pruning and Shaping

To maintain a desired shape and size, prune your sassafras tree during the dormant season when the leaves have fallen. Remove any dead or damaged branches, as well as any suckers that emerge from the base of the tree. Remember, sassafras has a unique mitten-shaped leaf, so pruning should be done selectively to preserve its natural beauty.

6. Enjoy the Beauty and Benefits

Once your sassafras tree has matured, sit back, relax, and enjoy its beauty. The mitten-shaped leaves will provide an eye-catching display of colors in the fall, ranging from yellow to deep red. And if you're feeling adventurous, you can even use the fragrant roots and leaves to make your own delicious sassafras tea!

I hope these tips help you successfully grow sassafras in your garden. Remember to be patient, as these trees take time to mature, but the rewards are definitely worth it. Happy gardening!


1. Can I grow sassafras in my garden?

Yes, you can grow sassafras in your garden.

2. When is the best time to plant sassafras?

Plant sassafras in the spring or fall.

3. What type of soil does sassafras prefer?

Sassafras thrives in well-draining soil.

4. Does sassafras require full sun or shade?

Sassafras prefers partial shade.

5. How often should I water my sassafras?

Water sassafras regularly, keeping the soil evenly moist.

6. How tall and wide does sassafras typically grow?

Sassafras can reach heights of 30 to 60 feet and can spread up to 25 feet wide.

7. Does sassafras require any special care?

Sassafras is a low-maintenance tree, requiring minimal care.

8. How long does it take for sassafras to grow?

Sassafras trees can take several years to reach maturity.

9. Can I use sassafras leaves for cooking or medicinal purposes?

Sassafras leaves can be used for cooking and have traditional medicinal uses.

10. Are there any pests or diseases that affect sassafras?

Sassafras may be susceptible to pests such as aphids and scales, as well as fungal diseases.

Growinng Sassafras can add beauty, flavor and fragrance to your garden. Aromatic Sassafras leaves and bark are used to make teas, sauces and other dishes and the plant's attractive leaves make a lovely backdrop for any garden. Sassafras is also rich in vitamins A, C and B and other minerals beneficial to your health. Growing Sassafras can provide a health boost, with all of its healthful properties, and it can enhance the beauty of your garden like nothing else!

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