Artemisia - Absinthe (Artemisia absinthium) Absinthe Wormwood Mugwort Wermout Heirloom Herb
Height 1.5 M
Wormwood, is also known as Absintalsem, Absinth Sagewort, Absinth Wormwood, Absinthe, Absinth Ajenjo, Ajenjo Oficial, Common Wormwood, Feuilles Ameres, Niga-Yomogi, Old Woman, Oldman, Pelin, Wormswood, wermuth, wermud, and Green Ginger and stems from the (Saxon), Wor-mod (Old English), and is a moderately poisonous Artemisia species as it contains thujone compounds.
Wormwood is a very attractive and hardy perennial; in its first year, plants produce a small mound of deeply cut lacy composite leaves. Each leaf stem is light green (almost white) and it develops pairs of leaflets that are deeply cut or lobed; leaflets can be up to 3 in and the whole leaf can be about 12 in long. Leaves are gray-green or silver-green on both sides, and covered in fine silvery hairs. The leaves and flowers have a bitter odour which some report as similar to sage with bitter overtones.
Plants put up tall upright flowering stems that can reach 3 feet in height in the second year. These have grooved stems with spirally arranged silvery leaves topped with cascading panicles of small (1/8 in wide) yellow flowers on dangling stalks; flowers are tiny composite flowers, almost globular in shape, and flower from mid summer to mid fall.
Wormwood forms large clumps spreading by underground rhizomes and sends up new shoots which aid to increase its size. Plants can reach 2-3 feet wide and make an impressive display of silver green foliage. Drought tolerant. A bitter taste and sharp aroma is disliked by most wildlife making it idea for gardens with deer and rabbits. Dont plant wormwood too close to plants you treasure; it contains large amounts of absinthin which is a water soluble growth inhibiting toxin. It is secreted through the roots and can wash off to plants around it, causing them to become stunted and may die.
If wormwood is planted as a hedge around the vegetable garden it can act as a barrier helping to prevent soil organisms from travelling into the vegetables and may even confuse pests such as carrot fly!
- full sun to partial shade
- not fussy; poor soils
- Seeds are very small - starting seeds indoors is recommended. Plant in good potting soil; sow seeds on the soil surface and press in. Seeds need some light to germinate or cover lightly. Keep moist until seedlings appear, seedlings are very small and delicate and take quite a while to grow to any size.
- When large enough to handle, pot into individual pots - grow on until large enough to transplant to their final location. This can take several weeks as they grow very slowly to begin with. Harden off gradually and plant outdoors.
- Spacing: Plant at least 2 ft apart as plants can become quite large once established.
- OR Direct sow seeds from spring through early fall. Mark the area and keep weed free until seedlings are established.
- Does not mind being transplanted but is however a fairly short lived perennial, usually living about 3 to 5 years.
- Reseeds easily. Once established, wormwood is easy to care for and typically does not need much watering, however, in hotter areas plants may need some additional watering if there is insufficient rainfall.
- Plants die down in the winter, surface material can then either be cut to the ground or left until spring to provide winter interest in the garden.
- Harvesting: seeds are windblown and it can seed itself in unwanted areas; cutting down seed heads before they have chance to spread the seeds may be desirable, especially if you want to reseed where you want.
- Note: prune back flowers if plant is being grown for leaf harvest as flowers inhibit good leaf production. The best time to harvest is just as the flowers are blooming - this is when the phytochemicals (in this case mostly absinthin) are at their highest. All healthy leaves and flowers stalks can be harvested for later use. Choose a dry sunny day and harvest after all dew has dried from the plants. Take only the good healthy leaves, discard any that are discolored or old. Collect into small bunches and fasten with a rubber band, hang to dry in a warm dark area with light air circulation. When dry, fold into airtight containers and store for later use.
- Seed Count: 30