Artemisia capillaris

Common Name: wormwood 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Asteraceae
Native Range: Asia
Zone: 5 to 8
Height: 1.00 to 1.50 feet
Spread: 1.00 to 2.00 feet
Bloom Time: August to September
Bloom Description: Yellowish white
Sun: Full sun
Water: Dry to medium
Maintenance: Medium
Flower: Insignificant
Leaf: Colorful
Tolerate: Rabbit, Deer, Drought, Dry Soil


Best grown in poor to moderately fertile, dry to medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun. Excellent soil drainage is essential for growing this plant well. Does poorly in moist to wet soils where plants are susceptible to root rot. This uncommon species of artemisia is new to the Kemper Center, and it is unclear at this point as to how well it will grow in the St. Louis climate. Woody-based artemisias in general often show foliage decline and/or stem lodging in St. Louis summers, and may benefit from a light shearing in summer to shape and stimulate new foliage growth. Woody-based artemisias are also generally pruned in spring to control growth, but care must be taken to leave sufficient numbers of live buds on each stem to facilitate bushy growth. Winter hardiness for this species in the St. Louis area is unclear.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Artemisia capillaris is a bushy, woody-based perennial or subshrub which is grown for its aromatic, finely-divided, gray-green foliage. Typically grows in a shrubby mound to 12-18" tall and as wide. Tiny, somewhat inconspicuous, yellowish-white, discoid flower heads (rays absent) appear in panicles at the stem ends in summer, but have little ornamental value.

Genus is named for Artemis, Greek goddess of the moon, wild animals and hunting.

Specific epithet means very slender or resembling hair.


Problems in growing this uncommon species in St. Louis are not yet documented.


Silver foliage provides excellent contrast to flowering plants and green foliage in borders and herb gardens. Good selection for areas with poor dry soils.