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Plant Profile: Southernwood (Artemisia abrotanum)

Artemisia_abrotanum,_SouthernwoodA 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;

Form: Mound

Growth Rate:Medium

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).

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