Artemisia vulgaris

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.

Habit: Bushy.

Type: Herbaceous perennial or hardy shrub.

Origin: Asia, Canada, Americas and Europe.

Hardiness: Hardy in most areas of the UK.

Planting and Growing Artemisia

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.

Taking Care of Artemisia

Remove faded flowers from shrubs.

Pruning Artemisia

Cut back herbaceous perennials to ground level in October. Remove any leggy stems from shrubs.

Pests and Diseases

Large leaf perennials are susceptible to attack by aphids. May also be affected by rust disease.

Propagating Artemisia

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.

Popular Varieties of Artemisia Grown in the UK

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).

A. schmidtiana 'Nana' is a low growing form with aromatic evergreen silver filigree foliage. Tiny yellow flowers appear at the tips of the foliage in early to late Summer. Height 4in (10cm), spread 12in (30cm).