A native of Southern Europe, this deciduous erect sub-shrub has a long history of use in medicine and cooking, and as a strewing herb and insect repellent. The gray-green leaves are finely divided, feathery, and have a fruity camphor fragrance. Small dull yellow button-like flowerheads appear in summer but are considered secondary to the foliage. Southernwood, also known as lad’s love, is tolerates drought, poor soil, and hard pruning. It can be used as an informal hedge or trimmed back hard and used as a formal edger. Thriving in full sun and dry sandy soil, it can tolerate some shade but will die in damp shade.
Type: Deciduous sub-shrub
Outstanding Feature: Drought tolerance;
Bloom: Insignificant, full yellow flowerheads in summer
Size: 3-4’ H x 3-4’ W
Light: Full sun but tolerates light shade
Soil: Sandy, dry, well-drained; tolerates infertile soilo
Hardiness: Zones 5-8
Care: Cut back hard in spring before new growth begins.
Pests and Diseases: None of significance
Propagation: Seed; stem cuttings in summer; division if multi-stemmed
Outstanding Selection: ‘Lambrook Silver’ (more silvery leaves, flowers more easily).