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Artemisia absinthium (photo courtesy of Annie & Jean-Claude Malausa/Bios/Photolibrary)
Artemisia absinthium (photo courtesy of Annie & Jean-Claude Malausa/Bios/Photolibrary)

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Zones 2-24
Full Sun
Regular WaterMinimal Water
Moderate, Minimal

Artemisia absinthium

Common Wormwood
Asteraceae (Compositae)
Perennials, Shrubs, Evergreen


Several species are valuable for interesting leaf patterns and silvery gray or white aromatic foliage (flowers are generally insignificant). Most kinds are excellent in mixed borders, where their white or silvery leaves soften harsh reds and oranges and blend beautifully with blues, lavenders, and pinks. Provide good drainage. Cut nonwoody-stemmed perennials to ground in late fall to rejuvenate; prune back woody perennials and shrubs (into older wood if necessary) before first flush of spring growth. Divide perennials in spring or fall; propagate shrubs by cuttings.

Artemisia absinthium

Native to Europe, temperate Asia. Reaches 2–4 ft. tall and 2 ft. wide. Silvery gray, finely divided leaves have a bitter taste and pungent odor. Tiny yellow flowers. Prune to shape. Divide every 3 years. Makes a fine background shrub; a good gray feature in a flower border beside delphiniums. ‘Lambrook Silver’ is 1 1/2 ft. tall with silvery, finely cut leaves.

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