CFR

I Hate Artemisia vulgaris!

I was talking to Bill, from the Cape Cod Alarm Company last week and he said that he’s been listening to my radio programs for years and has never heard me say I hate a plant! Is this because I love all plants? In fact, I love more plants than I dislike, but there have been a few that I’ve featured as an “I Hate This Plant!” in the past. I remember badmouthing Veronica ‘Sunny Border Blue’ and Chrysanthemum pacificum (now renamed Ajania pacifica) several years ago. But I promised Bill that I would feature a plant that I hate and the first one that came to my mind is a weed.

Name:  Artemisia vulgaris, commonly called mugwort.

Type of Plant:  A perennial weed that’s native to northeastern Asia and extreme northwestern Alaska. I wish it had stayed there.

Why I HATE This:  Once this weed gets established it is very, very hard to get rid of. In most gardens it takes hold because people don’t immediately notice the young, low foliage. The leaves look very similar to many Chrysanthemums, so sometimes people leave the plant thinking that it’s a mum. When in bloom the plant grows about three feet tall, and in a colony looks pretty raggedy. The flowers are almost unnoticeable and the plant spreads both from roots and seeds.

A Word to the Wise:  Don’t let this get started in your yard and garden! Don’t be fooled into planting this in an herb garden…it’s worse than mint! Learn to recognize young plants (see in the photo how their leaves are silver on the undersides) and pull them immediately.

Here is how you can tell that the young plant you see is mugwort. The tops are green and the underside of the leaves is silver. The plant has an herbal smell.

Here is how you can tell that the young plant you see is mugwort. The tops are green and the underside of the leaves is silver. The plant has an herbal smell.

This is how mugwort looks on the side of the road or the edges of properties in the winter. It's commonly about 2 to 4 feet tall, grey, and weedy looking. And it's not too different during the summer growing season!

This is how mugwort looks on the side of the road or the edges of properties in the winter. It’s commonly about 2 to 4 feet tall, grey, and weedy looking. And it’s not too different during the summer growing season!

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