Family: Asteraceae | Genus: ARTEMISIA
type : Evergreen, Perennials, Shrubs
sun exposure : Full Sun
water : Drought Tolerant, Moderate Water
Plant Details

Chiefly valued for their ornamental foliage, artemisias offer lacy leaf patterns and aromatic, silvery gray or white leaves. Most of the plants described here have woody stems; however, Artemisia dracunculus, Artemisia lactiflora, Artemisia ludoviciana albula, and Artemisia stellerana are herbaceous. Most need excellent drainage. Not the best choice for high-rainfall areas, particularly along the Gulf Coast and in Florida. Plants are seldom browsed by deer.

Most artemisias are excellent in mixed borders, where their white or silvery leaves soften harsh reds and oranges and blend with blues, lavenders, pinks. Flowers are usually insignificant. Divide plants in spring or autumn.

southernwood, old man

artemisia abrotanum

  • Woody perennial.
  • Zones US, MS, LS, CS; USDA 6-9.
  • To 35 feet tall and wide.
  • Native to southern Europe.
  • Beautiful green, feathery, lemon-scented foliage; yellowish white flowers.
  • Use in shrub border for its fragrant foliage.
  • Hang sprigs in closets to discourage moths.
  • Burn a few leaves in the kitchen to kill cooking odors.

common wormwood

artemisia absinthium

  • Woody perennial.
  • Zones US, MS, LS, CS; USDA 6-9.
  • To 24 feet tall, 2 feet wide.
  • Native to Europe, temperate Asia.
  • Used to flavor the liqueur absinthe.
  • Silvery gray, finely divided leaves with a pungent odor; tiny yellow flowers.
  • Prune for better shape.
  • Divide every 3 years.
  • Use as background shrub; makes a good gray feature in a flower border.
  • Looks particularly fine with delphiniums.
  • Lambrook Silver is a 112 feet-tall form with silvery white, especially finely cut leaves.

artemisia arborescens

  • Evergreen shrub or woody perennial.
  • Zone CS; USDA 9.
  • Highly attractive.
  • Mediterranean native to 3 feet or a little taller, 2 feet wide, with silvery white, very finely cut leaves.

silver spreader

artemisia caucasica

  • Evergreen shrublet.
  • Zones US, MS, LS; USDA 6-8.
  • Caucasus native grows just 36 inches tall, spreading to 2 feet wide.
  • Silky foliage in silvery green; small yellow flowers.
  • Use as bank or ground cover; plant 12 feet apart.
  • Needs good drainage.
  • Takes extremes of heat and cold.

french tarragon, true tarragon

artemisia dracunculus

  • Perennial.
  • Zones US, MS; USDA 6-7.
  • Native to central and eastern Europe and southern Russia.
  • To 12 feet tall; spreads slowly by creeping rhizomes.
  • Shiny, dark green, narrow, very aromatic leaves; greenish white flowers in branched clusters.
  • Attractive container plant.
  • Cut sprigs in early summer to use for seasoning vinegar.
  • Use fresh or dried leaves to season salads, cooked dishes.
  • Divide every 3 or 4 years.
  • Propagate by divisions or cuttings; plants grown from seed are not true culinary tarragon.
  • For warmer areas, Mexican mint marigold (Tagetes lucida) is a good substitute.

artemisia 'Huntington

  • Woody perennial.
  • Zones US, MS, LS; USDA 6-8.
  • To 3 feet tall and 4 feet wide, with spreading stems covered by a thick dome of very silvery foliage.
  • Resembles Artemisia 'Powis Castle' but has bigger, softer leaves.

white mugwort

artemisia lactiflora

  • Perennial.
  • Zones US, MS, LS; USDA 6-8.
  • Tall, straight column to 4-5 feet tall, 2 feet wide.
  • This native of western China is one of the few artemisias with attractive flowers: in late summer, it bears creamy white blooms in branching, 112 feet sprays.
  • Dark green leaves with broad, tooth-edged lobes.
  • Members of the Guizhou group have purple stems and young leaves.

western mugwort

artemisia ludoviciana mexicana albula

  • Perennial.
  • Zones US, MS, LS, CS; USDA 6-9.
  • Native to Southwest deserts, adjacent areas of Mexico.
  • Bushy growth to 2312 feet tall, 2 feet wide, with slender, spreading branches and silvery white, 2 inches leaves.
  • The lower leaves have three to five lobes; the upper ones are narrow and unlobed.
  • Spreads rapidly by rhizomes.
  • Cut foliage is useful in arrangements.
  • Two popular selections are 'Silver Queen', a compact form that grows to 112212 feet tall with larger foliage; and 'Valerie Finnis', which reaches 2 feet and has even broader silver leaves that are slightly lobed toward the tips.

roman wormwood

artemisia pontica

  • Evergreen shrub or woody perennial.
  • Zones US, LS, MS, CS; USDA 6-9.
  • Native to southeastern and central Europe; naturalized in eastern North America.
  • Grows 24 feet tall and spreads by rhizomes; makes a good ground cover if given ample room.
  • Silvery gray, feathery leaves can be used in sachets.
  • Heads of nodding, whitish yellow flowers are carried in long, open, branched clusters.

artemisia 'Powis Castle

  • Woody perennial.
  • Zones US, MS, LS; USDA 6-8.
  • Most likely a hybrid of Artemisia absinthium and Artemisia arborescens.
  • Hybrid grows in a silvery, lacy mound to 3 feet tall and 6 feet wide.
  • Unlike most artemisias, does not melt during hot, humid summers.
  • It retains its dense shape and is not invasive.
  • Don't prune in fall; instead, wait to cut back until new growth begins to sprout near crown in spring.

angel's hair

artemisia schmidtiana

  • Woody perennial.
  • Zones US, MS, LS; USDA 6-8.
  • Japanese native forms a 1- to 2 feet-high, 1 feet-wide dome of silvery white, woolly, finely cut leaves.
  • Dies back in winter.
  • Selection 'Silver Mound' is compact, usually under 1 feet high and wide.
  • Silverado is somewhat more open and upright than the species; tolerates heat and humidity well.

beach wormwood, old woman, dusty miller

artemisia stellerana

  • Perennial.
  • Zones US, MS, LS; USDA 6-8.
  • Native to northeastern Asia; naturalized in eastern North America.
  • Dense, silvery gray plant to 212 feet tall and 3 feet wide, with lobed leaves 14 inches long.
  • Hardier than Senecio cineraria (another dusty miller) and often used in its place in colder climates.
  • Yellow flowers in spikelike clusters.
  • Broughton Silver ('Silver Brocade') is a superior, dense-growing selection.

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