A group of perennials, herbs and shrubs, grown
mainly for their attractive and decorative foliage
(the flowers are often tiny and insignificant). They
make a good foil for other flowering plants and most
forms are useful in flower arrangements.
Family: Asteraceae (daisy)
Botanical Name: Artemisia
Common Names: Wormwood, old man, old woman, lad's love, dusty miller, mugwort
Foliage: Evergreen or deciduous. Finely textured and often aromatic. Usually in tones of white, silver and grey but variegated forms are also available.
Flowers: Clusters of tiny insignificant white or yellow flowers.
Flowering Period: Summer (July-September)
Soil: Any light, well-drained, reasonably fertile soil. Chalk, sand or loam. Drought tolerant. Avoid heavy, poorly-drained soils.
Conditions: Best in full sun.
Type: Herbaceous perennial or hardy shrub.
Origin: Asia, Canada, Americas and Europe.
Hardiness: Hardy in most areas of the UK.
Plant in an open sunny location. Dwarf forms make excellent rock garden plants. Silver leaf forms are perfect for a silver and white colour scheme. This plant's drought tolerance makes it a good choice for low maintenance gardens.
Remove faded flowers from shrubs.
Cut back herbaceous perennials to ground level in October. Remove any leggy stems from shrubs.
Large leaf perennials are susceptible to attack by aphids. May also be affected by rust disease.
Divided established perennials when the plants are dormant, between October and April.
Propagate shrubs by taking 3-4in (7.5-10cm) long heel cuttings in later summer and root in a light sandy compost, in a cold frame.
A. abrotanum (lad's love, old man, southern-wood) an upright, bushy shrub, with semi-evergreen grey-green, finely divided leaves. Small yellow flowers appear in summer. Height 2-4ft (0.6-1.2m), spread 4ft (1.2m).
A. absinthium (common wormwood) a sub-shrub, with silver feathery foliage and yellow flowers in early summer. 'Lambrook Silver' is a good variety. Height and spread 3ft (90cm).
A. dracunculus (French tarragon) has aromatic dark-green, shiny leaves. Height 1.5 to 2ft (45-60cm), spread 1ft (30cm). For further details see Herbs.
A. lactiflora (white mugwort) a tall perennial form with lobed green leaves. Plumes of creamy-white flowers appear in late summer. Height 4 to 5ft (1.2-1.5m), spread 1.5ft (45cm). Excellent for fresh and dried flower arrangements.
A. Lanata (syn. A. nitida) a dwarf shrubby evergreen with grey green leaves and yellow flowers from mid-summer. Height 2in (5cm), spread 9in (23cm).
A. stelleriana (dusty miller, old woman) a tall perennial with silver, deeply lobed leaves. Clusters of yellow flowers appear in late summer. Height 1.5 to 2ft (45-60cm), spread 1ft 30cm).