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Plant Spotlight - Wormwood

Wormwood in the Garden

Wormwood or Artemsia absinthum is a powerful medicinal herb. It was infamously associated with Vincent Van Gogh cutting off his ear, after drinking too much of the liquor Absinth, of which Wormwood is the key ingredient.

In the garden however, it is a very attractive and useful addition, particularly as an insect repellent, and is ideal to plant around your entertaining areas in pots or hanging baskets to deter the pesky bugs that you don't want to invite to your parties! 

Wormwood Flowers

Wormwood repels insects like mosquitoes and mites

Benefits of Wormwood

Wormwood is an attractive plant with feathery silver/grey/green foliage and small yellow or white flowers. It is an easy care plant that comes in three varieties: Artemsia or Tree Wormwood,  ‘Powis Castle’ Wormwood, which grows to 1m x 1m in size, and Artemsia frigida which is the groundcover form.

All forms are hardy plants and are heat and wind tolerant, require minimal pruning and will happily thrive in poor soils as long as there is good drainage. It is also drought and frost tolerant. It is great in rockeries, as a low hedge, or as a border plant in an ornamental garden.  

Wormwood is a Natural Insect Repellant

Wormwood has an attractive feathery foliage

Wormwood in the Chicken Coop

Wormwood is a particularly useful companion plant to have around chicken coops, not only for discouraging pests like flies, mosquitoes and rodents, but also the chickens recognise its medicinal benefits and will peck it to help rid themselves of internal parasites and worms, seemingly in just the right amounts!

Chickens will also rub themselves against the plants to release the oils that can help rid them of any parasites like mites that may be living in their feathers. The prunings are a great addition to add to nesting boxes for this reason as well. As it is a tough plant, once established, it will generally survive the chickens scratching around it which makes it a great plant to include for extra greenery in and around your chicken yard when little else will survive.

Wormwood in a Chicken Coop

Wormwood is a useful plant in a chicken coop

Wormwood as a Medicinal Plant

When dried, Wormwood plant is a powerful natural medicine due to its strong anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, and anti-fungal properties. Aside from repelling insects and killing internal parasites, it is purported to be useful in treating conditions like malaria, Crohn’s disease, cancer, and nervous system disorders. (Caution - it should only be used under medical supervision by a qualified naturopath, as it can be toxic in high doses.) The leaves can also be steeped in water and used as a natural insecticide spray for ornamental plants like roses or gardenias. It is not suitable to use on your edible plants.  

Dried Wormwood can be used medicinally

Location, Location, Location

Despite the many benefits listed above, Wormwood is also a plant that should be treated with caution.

It should not be planted where dogs, cats or small children can ingest it.  The absinth chemical in Wormwood, can also inhibit growth in other plants so it is is best planted either in pots, or around the borders of your garden and in ornamental garden beds rather than edible ones.

The only exception would be if you have an area designated to growing carrots as Wormwood is a good companion plant to deter carrot fly.

As with all elements in a good garden design, location, and purpose should be front of mind when choosing plants for your garden. As we say in Permaculture, we choose the right plant, for the right place and for the right reason - and in the right location, Wormwood will be a great addition to your home garden.

Where to Buy Wormwood Seeds?

Urban Revolution stocks Wormwood seeds from Yilgarn Seeds and our staff are always happy to provide help with your garden questions or general planting advice.

Please comment below if you have any additional information or experiences to share about this wonderful multi-use plant Wormwood.

1 Response

Leslie Wilder

Leslie Wilder

October 13, 2023

This is an amazing anti cancer , anti parasitic oil . Active ingredient is Thujone. It’s abuse by junkies centuries ago gave it a bad name because they distilled it over and over again until it was ’ Halluceinogenic’, which we know lots of things can be in concentrated, unnatural for human consumption.
Long story short is that it’s even effective against COVid and that is why Ivermectin was discussed with Senator Rand Paul early on with Covid pandemic with quite a few Physicians and Researchers agreeing 100% we should be using Ivermectin to fight this Pandemic because it was actually a tiny parasite or bug like the Lyme disease and the ulcer parasite ( Helicobacter Pylori) that lives inside the stomach linings.
It first may present itself as Gastritis, (which I have right now…) ,Peptic ulcer.

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