How To Grow Artemisia

How To Grow Artemisia

Artemisia which is also known as sagebrush, wormwood or mugwort is a plant that is grown more for its beautiful and delicate foliage more than for its blooms. 

The artemisia genus contains hundreds of varieties which belong to the asteraceae (daisy) family. This guide will show you how to grow and care for artemisias in your garden and some of the varieties that are available.

Are Artemisia Annual or Perennial?

Artemisia are mostly perennial shrubs that can be woody. There are tender perennial varieties as well as some annual varieties of Artemisia.

Perennial artemisia also consist of evergreen and deciduous varieties. Being a plant that is prized for its foliage it is good to check if the variety is evergreen which will provide year-round interest even in the depths of winter.

Popular Varieties of Artemisia

Artemisia absinthium or wormwood is a upright perennial artemisia with greyish green foliage that is fragrant and aromatic. The flowers of absinthium are yellow but rather small and insignificant in late summer.

Artemisia lactiflora (white mugwort) are perennial that grow up to 1.5 meters high and is one of the few green leaved varieties of artemisia. It is also a variety that has more significant flowers that form in late summer. The blooms form large plumes of cream flowers in late summer into autumn.

Artemisia ludoviciana also called “silver queen” are a perennial that grow up to 1 meter high. The foliage is silvery grey, deeply divided toothed. Blooms are rather small in late summer.

Artemisia “powis castle” is an evergreen perennial that grows to around 60cm. The foliage is silvery grey and the plant takes a rounded shrub-like form. 

Artemisia Flower

How To Plant Artemisia

It is best to plant artemisia divisions or young plants in spring or autumn. If sowing artemisia seeds it is easy to plant seeds in trays and then pot on seedlings when they have 1 or 2 sets of true leaves. Transplant seedlings well after the last frost.

Position For Artemisia

The silvery foliage of many varieties of artemisia is best when they are situated in a sunny and light position. 

In shade the white and silvery foliage tends to turn green and you lose some of the impact of the foliage.


Artemisia needs really well drained, poor soil. Like many herbs, they thrive in really poor soil that is full of grit and holds very little water.

If the soil is too wet or you have a lot of clay in the soil it is really important to add plenty of grit around the roots so water can drain as quickly as possible. If the roots stay wet the leaves tend to wilt and the artemisia will struggle to thrive.

Maintaining Artemisia

Artemisia is very easy to care for one it is established. They need very little watering and prefer poor, well-drained soil. 

Once established you will find artemisia has a habit of spreading and bullying other plants. It is a good idea to divide plants every 2 to 3 years to keep the plant healthy and manage the spread.

Pruning Artemisia

Artemisia needs a little pruning to keep looking tidy and is best managed by dividing every couple of years. 

The best time to prune is in early spring before any vigorous growth begins. You can prune artemisia back hard at this time and almost to the ground> leave a couple of buds above ground and then prune above this and new vigorous growth will emerge in the spring.

In established plants artemisia has a habit of look a bit leggy at certain points in the year. If this is the case you can prune back about a third of the old growth and this will encourage a bushier habit and keep the shrub nice and rounded.

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