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Artemisia ‘Powis Castle’

Artemisia ‘Powis Castle’ is just one member of the enormous family of artemisias. It is a bushy, wood-based perennial whose aromatic silvery foliage provides great color and texture contrast in the garden. Although it rarely flowers, its finely cut, feathery foliage is absolutely beautiful.

Though various artemisias have been used throughout history for medicinal and culinary purposes, most, including ‘Powis Castle’ are limited to ornamental uses at this time. The primary exception is French Tarragon, which is a member of the artemisia genus.

In our climate, Artemisia ‘Powis Castle’ is evergreen. It has the advantage of being greatly drouth-tolerant, but it may become leggy and unruly during our humid summer; the solution is to cut the stems back to manage the plant’s shape. Never prune to the ground, but leave enough stems that plenty of buds remain to provide new growth. Because it loves poor soil, high levels of fertilizer make it weak and leggy, plus causing it to lose the silvery color for which it’s famous.

This artemisia is described as deer-resistant by many sources, and I’ve not seen any evidence of browsing on it in my garden. The reason may be its notable aroma, which though not unpleasant, may make it unappetizing to our local browsers.

Plant Artemisia ‘Powis Castle’ in a well-draining, sunny spot amid your other herbs and ornamentals, and you’ll have added a terrific element of variety of aromas, textures, and colors throughout the year.

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