Pimpernelle, small meadow button - sowing, care and propagation

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Pimpernelle, small meadow button - sowing, care and propagation: meadow

Pimpernelle, Pimpinelle, Bibernelle or Kleiner Wiesebnopf - Sanguisorba minor, as the herb is botanically correct, can be used very versatile for soups, salads and other dishes. It is also one of the traditional herbs of the famous Frankfurt Green Sauce, which is eaten with boiled potatoes. The Pimpernelle is very undemanding and can easily cultivate both in the garden and in the pot.

The Pimpernelle in the clear profile

Name: Little meadow button

Botanical name: Sanguisorba minor

Common names: Pimpernelle, Pimpinelle, Bibernelle, Braunelle

Genus: Meadow Button (Sanguisorba)

Family: Rose Family (Rosaceae)

Origin and distribution: originally from the Mediterranean, Eurasia

Growth: herbaceous with upright stems and leaf rosette

Growth height: between 20 and 100 centimeters

Blossom: spherical, up to three inches tall

Flowering period: May to August

Leaves: small, ovate leaflets with up to nine teeth

Fruits: small nutlets

Fruit ripe: July to October

Single or perennial: perennial, hardy

Use: kitchen seasoning

Special features: The popular names "Pimpinelle" or "Pimpernelle" suggest a relationship with the genus of the Bibernellen (Latin Pimpinella). However, these belong to the umbelliferae and have no relationship with the rose plant Pimpernelle.

Location and ground

Pimpernelle - small meadow button - Sanguisorba minor

Basically, the undemanding pimpernelle thrives in almost every location and on almost every floor. Optimal, however, is a sunny and warm place in the garden, at best, with a permeable, humus and calcareous soil. Waterlogging gets the plant - like so many others - not at all and should therefore be avoided. Rain protection is not necessary, on the contrary: a lot of rain and warm weather make for a particularly intense taste.
Sowing in the garden
Since the Pimpernelle developed long, strong taproots, it is difficult to implement. For this reason you should sow them immediately to the later location in the garden. A preference on the windowsill is not necessary and also not useful, after all, the herb is relatively insensitive to cold and can therefore be applied directly from March directly into the field. In the thoroughly prepared and loosened ground, draw even rows at intervals of 30 centimeters. In there you sow the seeds, which are separated only after emergence to 20 centimeters. Cover the small grains only lightly with screened soil or sand, as the pimpernelle belongs to the light germs. Until the seedlings emerge, the substrate should be kept slightly moist.
Tip: The Pimpernelle can be beautifully cultivated together with other herbs in a herbal spiral. It is best to place it in the upper center, where it is as sunny as possible, but the substrate is nutrient-rich and rather dry.
Sowing in pots
If you do not have a garden, you can cultivate the pimpernelle in pots, pots or even in the balcony box. It is only important that the planter is chosen rather deep because of the long root rather than wide. Use a loose herb soil that mixes with mature compost and a handful of horn shavings. Alternatively, a good container potting soil can be used. Since not all seeds germinate, bring several seeds directly into the planter. These are warped and separated as soon as the young plants have formed at least one more pair of leaves in addition to the two cotyledons.
Tip: Instead of sowing out the pimpernelle, you can buy already grown seedlings from some nurseries and plant them. Inquire about a garden nursery specialized in herbs, here you will usually find what you are looking for.
Care of the seedlings
After sowing, the seedlings will emerge after 10 to 14 days depending on the weather, sometimes even faster. Once the plantlets have four leaf pairs, they are to be separated from a distance of 20 centimeters, so that the later horstartig growing herbs have enough space. This distance also ensures that the Pimpernellen are airy and reduces the risk of infection with the downy mildew to a minimum.

Maintain the pimpernelle properly

Pimpernelle - small meadow button - Sanguisorba minor

Regarding their care, the Pimpernelle is very undemanding. All you have to do is keep the plant from blooming: on the one hand, a blooming pimpernelle can no longer be used in the kitchen, on the other hand, the plants quickly self-emerge and then have to be painstakingly removed, even in the more remote areas of the garden, because the spreading of the small nutlets happens by the wind.
to water
The pimpernelle needs as much moisture as possible for the formation of its typical aroma and for this reason must not dry out.Especially in very sunny locations, in a pot culture and during a warm, dry period you should therefore water the plants. Always water the pimpernelle from below so as not to wet the leaves. Water droplets on the leaves look like small glasses in the sun and can cause sunburn, which manifests itself as brown spots and reduces the quality of the herb. In addition, moist leaves are highly endangered by infection with downy mildew.
Pimpernelles cultivated in pots and other planters are best supplied with liquid herbal fertilizer between March and August. Garden specimens are fertilized twice a year - once in March and once again in June - with mature compost and horn shavings that are easily incorporated into the soil around the root area. Pour directly after fertilization to allow the nutrients to reach the roots more quickly.
To cut
The inflorescences of the pimpernel must be regularly cut off before flowering to prevent the plant from blooming. Only then will the delicate leaves remain aromatic and continue to be used in the kitchen. Only later in the summer can you bloom and let some flower heads stand still - they will self-seed themselves and thus provide the necessary offspring.
Once you have seeded the pimpernelle in the garden, you do not need to worry about further propagation. On the contrary: Make sure that only a few flowers can form seeds, otherwise your garden will soon be overgrown with the very prolific plant.
To harvest
Unless the pimpernelle blooms (because then the leaves lose a lot of aroma), you can harvest the delicate leaves until the fall into it. However, pick only the newly formed, young leaves, as the older ones become hard and bitter in taste after a while. The leaflets are either used fresh or can be preserved by soaking in vinegar or oil and freezing. Drying as a preservation method, however, is not recommended because the spice then loses much of its aroma.

Diseases and pests

Pimpernelle - small meadow button - Sanguisorba minor

The Pimpernelle is very robust and rather prone to infestation by pests or pathogens. Above all, if the plant is too dense or due to frequent pouring from above or a constantly moist and warm weather (without possibility of drying the leaves in between) is moist, it can be affected by the downy mildew. This helps only a pruning or a treatment with fungicides, however, the plant can then no longer use in the kitchen. An aphid attack occurs more often, but can be treated well.
How to avoid diseases and pest infestation:
  • Ensure a sufficient planting distance
  • Avoid waterlogging, plant should be on well drained soil
  • fertilize regularly
  • Water plant only from below, do not wet leaves
  • choose airy, warm location - here leaves can dry faster
  • install rain protection in continuous rain or in rainy summers


Since the Pimpernelle is sufficiently hardy, no special instructions for a healthy hibernation must be observed.

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