All About Artemisias

Most Artemisias are from the Mediterranean or Europe. Certainly, that is where Wormwood, Southernwood and French Tarragon hail from. But, we have Artemisias native to our United States also. Important artemisias like A. tridentata cover vast areas of Utah, Wyoming and Montana and varieties of A. vulgaris are found throughout the west. A. tridentata is such an important ground cover in vast wilderness areas that, after major fires, its seeds are broadcast to keep noxious weeds from forming in burnt areas.

But, for home gardeners, it is none of these we choose for our landscape. Silver Southernwood and the larger Powis Castle are beautiful drought tolerant plants that can be used in mass or as specimens in smaller gardens.

A. afra (African wormwood), A. palmeri, (San Diego Sage Brush) and A. arborescens (Tree Wormwood) are large plants that require a bit more space and effort to look good.

Not all Artemisias are lovely. In fact, the one true culinary Artemisia, French Tarragon, is quite the dog. Ah, but the flavor.

Ugly or undtidy Artemisias we have banned from landscaping are A. pontica (Roman Wormwood), A. frigida (Fringed Wormwood), A. vulgaris (Mugwort), and A. ludoviciana (Silver King).

Both Roman Wormwood and Fringed Wormwood are scroungy looking for most of the season. Although Mugwort is an important medicinal herb, it can be terribly invasive. And, although Silver King is prized by crafters, it too can wander invasively by underground runners. Our Powis Castle that we use in our fresh Herbal Wreaths smells great and is a welcome and carefree plant in the garden.

Artemisias are named after Artemis, the goddess of hunting, Artemesia was the daughter of a Greek Father and a Cretan Mother. She became a Queen and a great naval captain. She was so successful and respected that for centuries the wives of the Kings of Halicarnassus were named after her until well into the fourth century. Kind of like a continual circle of Artemisias. Now there is a planting idea!

Many of our Artemisias are often available in plug trays. These trays hold 128 of all the same plant. They are a great low cost way to fill a lot of space. Each cell is 3/4 of inch by an inch. Check here to see which Artemesia Plug Traysare available.