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Plant Profile: Tree Wormwood (Artemisia arborescens)

Artemisia_arborescens2Also known as old woman, this tender everygreen shrub is native to the Mediterranean where it grows in rocky areas along the coasts of Portugal, Spain, France, Italy and Greece. It is a member of the aster family, Asteraceae, that also includes daisies, sunflowers and lettuce. The bipinate leaves are up to four inches long, aromatic, silvery-white, and hairy. The leaflets have entire margins and The tiny dull yellow star-like flowers are carried in single-sided leafy panicles in summer. The plants are grown for their foliage that tones down bold color and brings greater depth to soft ones. Tolerant of heat, drought, wind, and salt air so a good choice for coastal areas in warm climates.   The generic name, Artemisia, is the name of the Greek goddess of chastity, the hunt, and the moon.  The specific epithet comes from the Latin wordsarboreus meaning tree-like.

Type: Tender evergreen shrub

Outstanding Feature: Silvery foliage

Form: Mound

Growth Rate: Rapid

Bloom: Small dull-yellow flowers in single-sided panicles in summer.

Size: 2-6’ H x 2-6’ W

Light: Full sun

Soil: Average, dry to moderately moist, well-drained

Hardiness: Zones 9-10

Care: Prune as needed to maintain size and shape

Pests and Diseases: Aphids

Propagation: Softwood stem-tip cuttings in spring or early summer; seed in spring or autumn