Feverfew

A plant that is relatively new to my garden, arriving as a gift from another local gardener two summers ago is feverfew, Tanacetum parthenium.


Its tiny daisy-like blooms are brightening up the front walkway garden right now, and I have to say that this plant may have earned a permanent spot in my yard -- although it isn't perfect.


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I've got no problem with the blooms -- they're quite long-lasting and so cheery!


The foliage is nice too, being quite frilly. Not quite feathery, but with a feathery look.


It's such a tough plant too! Takes the heat, does quite well with little water -- and I haven't seen any evidence that rabbits or deer like to eat it.



This is probably because the whole plant is somewhat strong smelling -- it's used in herbal medicine apparently. It's not overpowering, but it's definitely not the best fragrance in my garden. I've read that  bees don't like it much either, but I just saw a bee happily moving from bloom to bloom and there are plenty of other tiny pollinators out there, so I'd have to disagree with that.


If feverfew has one shortcoming, it's that it reseeds like crazy. Each of those small flowers produces thousands of dust-like seeds, so regardless of the germination rate you're going to see a lot of seedlings. The evidence of this is seen in the cracks of my walkway.


I'll have to do some weeding soon. They're nice in the cracks while they're small and frilly, but when they start getting too big it's time for them to go. I personally like having to step around and over a jungle of plants, but I don't want visitors to feel like they must too -- so I always keep my paths and stairways as clear as possible. Don't want somebody hurting themselves out of consideration for my plants!


Do you have any experience with feverfew? Has it gotten to be such a reseeding nightmare for you that you've given up on this plant?

I hope not, as I've just transplanted several seedlings to my tougher growing beds.

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Gerhard Bock (Bamboo, Succulents and More)  – (June 15, 2013 at 8:48 PM)  

Beautiful! I've got to look for it. They sometimes sell it as an herb instead of a perennial. The funny thing is that here in California herbs are considered food so there's no sales tax as there would be on ornamental plants.

sandy lawrence –   – (June 16, 2013 at 12:46 PM)  

Ditto in Texas, Gerhard. No sales tax on herbs. I've never grown feverfew but I once saw a photo I was taken with - a garden bench with the seat planted in feverfew, so said the caption. That's why I'm surprised in your photos to see how tall it gets. The bench seat was solid blooms, but they were atop very short plants, maybe 4-6". Wonder if there is a dwarf variety?

Alan  – (June 16, 2013 at 1:16 PM)  

Wow, I would not eat or cook with this!

Mine grows about 18" (46cm) tall. It looks like the seedlings are going to produce flowers, so maybe that's what you saw -- a carpet of seedlings that were in flower?

Marta  – (June 18, 2013 at 2:27 PM)  

Hi Alan, I have some plant of tanacetum too. I live in northern Italy. We call it "erba amara" (bitter herb), and we use it for sweets, cakes, omelets... Marta ortinprogress.blogspot.com

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