Chervil is cultivated as a salad plant, especially in France. It can supply fresh leaves all year round from successional sowings, especially if given some protection in winter.
Although a biennial, it is usually cultivated as an annual. It often self-sows when grown in a suitable position.
Chervil is an aromatic plant with pleasantly scented leaves. It is said to be a good companion plant for growing with carrots and radishes, the radishes becoming hotter and crisper. It also grows well with dill and coriander. When grown with lettuces it is said to protect them from aphids and ants, the plant is also said to repel slugs.
Chervil is not widely used as a medicinal herb, though it is sometimes employed as a 'spring tonic' for cleansing the liver and kidneys, is a good remedy for settling the digestion and is said to be of value in treating poor memory and mental depression.
Prefers a well-drained moisture retentive soil. Plants dislike hot dry summers, it is best to give summer crops a cool shady position but winter crops require a sunny position. Tolerates a pH in the range 5.8 to 7.6.
Plants are hardy to about -10°c. Sow in situ in succession from February to October. The seed usually germinates in 2 - 3 weeks. The February, September and October sowings should be made in a very sheltered warm and sunny position outdoors or under some protection such as a frame. Other sowings can be made in a position that has at least some shade from the midday sun since the plant runs to seed quickly if it gets too hot or the soil is dry.
Edible leaves - raw in salads or used as a flavouring in cooked foods such as soups and stews. A mild aromatic flavour that is suggestive of aniseed. The leaves are often used as a flavouring, they form the basis of the seasoning 'fines herbes' and are an essential ingredient of 'bouquet garni'. The leaves should always be used fresh because the delicate flavour does not withstand drying or prolonged cooking. The leaves are ready for harvesting in about 8 weeks from sowing, the plant responds well to cut and come again harvesting.
The flowers are used as a seasoning.
The root is said to be edible.