Growing Galium Odoratum

Galium is a plant genus comprising over 600 species of herbs that are native to several regions including Europe, Asia, and Africa. One species that is particularly popular among gardeners and landscapers is Galium odoratum. This perennial flowering herb is commonly known as sweet woodruff due to its strong fragrance. It grows between 6 and 12 inches in height and spreads up to 4 feet. Its foliage consists of bright green, lanced shaped leaves that serve as the backdrop for clusters of star-shaped flowers. Its creeping habit makes it an ideal ground cover for large empty areas or narrow edges.

There are several things to consider when planting and growing sweet woodruff. The condition of the soil, the climate, and certain pests or diseases can affect the health of Galium odoratum.


The sweet woodruff is acclimated to hardiness zones 4 to 8. It doesn’t tolerate direct sunlight, so it is recommended to place this herb in a location that is partially to fully shaded from the sun. Hot, dry summers can cause dieback.

Soil Requirements

The ideal soil for this plant is fertile, well-draining, but moist. It can tolerate different types of soil composition, and it can grow well in both acidic or basic soil pH.

Watering and Fertilizers

This plant requires a regular watering schedule to maintain foliage color, especially during the summer months. It spreads rather efficiently, so it doesn’t require fertilizers.


There are two ways to propagate this plant, either through division or through seeds. Dividing the crown or separating the rooted stems are viable options. Sowing seeds is an easier method, but slower.

Pests and Diseases

This herb isn’t known to be damaged by pests or diseases.

Galium odoratum (Sweet woodruff) – Shoot Gardening.
Galium odoratum – Horticulture & Crop Science at The Ohio State University.

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