Hardly any other native plant is used in so many ways as mugwort. The daisy family has therefore been cultivated in cottage and monastery gardens for many centuries. In medicine, the plant has been used, for example, for cramps of all kinds, worm infestations, epilepsy and diarrhea. In modern cuisine, however, its appetizing and digestive effect on high-fat dishes is still valued today. The hardy plant is extremely frugal and requires little maintenance.
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location and soil
The traditional plant is one of the native wild plants and prefers to grow in dry and warm places. A full sun to light location in semi-shade promotes the plant’s resilience and growth. Sufficient sunlight is important so that the essential oils and the aromatic aroma of the umbellifer can develop fully. In the wild, mugwort is often found along roadsides and in meadows.
The plant grows particularly productively on permeable, calcareous and humus-rich soils. However, the plant can also cope with dry and sandy soil without any problems. Mix some clay and compost under lean soil if needed. No other requirements are made of the substrate.
watering and fertilizing
Mugwort is a plant that can be left to its own devices for a long period of time in summer. Water only moderately in the early morning or late afternoon. In this way you avoid excessive evaporation of the water during the hot midday. Artemisia vulgaris should not become waterlogged. You can mix substrate that is too firm with fine pebbles when growing the plant. It doesn’t matter whether you use calcareous tap water or soft rainwater for watering.
A nutrient supply in the form of artificial liquid or long-term fertilizer is not required for the crop. Mulch the soil in spring and late summer. Work in larger amounts of compost directly. This is enough to support the resilience and growth of the perennial.
sowing and cultivation
The daisy family was already used by the ancient Germans as a valuable and versatile medicinal plant. The herbaceous plant with the dark green leaves can reach a height of up to two meters. It gets along well with other herbs such as chamomile, oregano, sage and marigold. However, the plant impresses more with its usability than with its distinctive appearance. This is why mugwort is ideal for natural border beds, but also offers an interesting appearance in rock gardens and on hill beds in groups of plants.
Artemisia vulgaris, which is widespread in nature, is grown directly on the windowsill in February or sown outdoors from April. For sowing seeds in the garden, the soil must be cleared of weeds and prepared with humus. Mugwort is a light germinator and as such the seeds should not be covered with substrate. Keep the soil moist by watering regularly. Prick out the young plants as soon as they have reached a height of about 15 centimeters. The minimum planting distance between the individual mugwort plants is about 60 centimeters. This leaves enough space for the daisy family to fully develop the bushy branches.
If you want to move ahead before the planting season, you will need the following materials:
- Shallow planter
- potting soil
- water atomizer
- perforated foil
Even when preferring, the seed should only be distributed generously on the substrate. If you don’t have any special potting soil at hand, you can also use conventional flower substrate. Just avoid enrichment with compost or other fertilizers. Keep the soil moderately moist with the water sprayer. A bright location and warmth accelerates germination, but you should avoid proximity to heating sources and direct sunlight. Airy covering with a translucent film has proven its worth, but a daily check of the substrate is essential. A planter that is too damp and a lack of air circulation offers mold spores and germs a rich breeding ground. This could affect the ability of the seeds to germinate. From mid-April you can transplant the mugwort directly into the field. For a good start to the harvest season, it is advisable to add fertilizer in the form of compost orHorn buckles .
Artemisia vulgaris can be propagated by seeds and by dividing the roots. If you only want to grow mugwort in your own garden, you should immediately remove withered inflorescences in September. Because the plant is extremely prolific and sows itself. Carefully cut off the flower spikes before the seeds ripen and use them in cooking or as a tea. Tied together in small bouquets, you can also let the plant parts dry upside down in an airy place.
The flowering time of the usable plant is between July and September. Collect the seeds from around the end of September to mid-October and allow them to dry sufficiently. Prevent mold growth by storing the seeds in a cool and not too humid place. Each mugwort plant produces enough seeds so that plants do not have to be cultivated specifically to obtain seeds.
If you are already using the flower spikes for other purposes, you can also propagate the perennial plant with the woody stems in this way in spring or autumn. The best time for root division is in spring or autumn. In rare cases, a root sprouts several stems at the same time. Therefore, divide the fleshy rhizomes into pieces of the same size if possible. Plant them horizontally about 4 to 5 centimeters deep in the ground. Within a few months, new mugwort plants form from these root pieces. A special care of the divided Artemisia vulgaris is not necessary.
In order to make the garden winter-proof, many gardeners often cut the perennial plant back to the ground before the first frost. However, the plants need the foliage and shoots to accumulate energy reserves for the cold season. Mugwort is no exception either. For this reason, only cut back Artemisia vulgaris radically in February or March, before the plant begins to sprout.
Harvesting can begin from May to July. For this purpose, the required shoot tips or leaves should be cut off with sharp scissors. This measure stimulates the plant to form new plant parts. You can harvest regularly until the beginning of the flowering period and cut back the mugwort as far as necessary.
The robust and versatile plant requires little care and can be left to its own devices even on hot summer days. Health-conscious gardeners and cooks still value its appetite and metabolism-enhancing effect in many places.
All parts of the plant, including the root pieces, can be used for consumption. In order to have a supply of mugwort in winter, you should let a few larger stalks dry just before the flowers open. Store in a dark place until use. An airtight container has proven itself to preserve the aroma. During flowering, the leaves of the plant become bitter and almost inedible. Excessive and prolonged consumption of mugwort should only be undertaken under medical supervision.
Provided the location is not too dark, mugwort can be cultivated anywhere in the garden. Despite its growth height of up to 2 meters, it does not compete with other plants for water and light. That’s why you can also plant the Artemisia vulgaris next to other, slow-growing plants. The daisy family is also suitable for planting on slopes and stone beds. It has been used in local cuisine and medicine since ancient times. If you have an ornamental garden, treat mugwort to a spot right next to the garden fence.
diseases and pests
Even less picky pests such as aphids and spider mites avoid the pinnate leaves of Artemisia vulgaris. Rather, the popular useful plant in the garden can be used with other plants to prevent and combat harmful insects. Cultivate the daisy family in the immediate vicinity of cabbage plants or other vegetables. The following insects are successfully kept away by the intense smell of mugwort:
- Cabbage Whites
- flea beetles
- shield bugs
However, keep in mind that severely weakened plants always provide an ideal breeding ground for hungry insects. In this case, even mugwort as a direct neighbor can no longer reliably fend off lice and the like. Water the plants regularly and only cultivate them in their preferred locations.
Root rot Improper
and excessive watering will damage even the sturdiest of plants. Rarely, but if possible with incorrect care, the weakened roots of Artemisia vulgaris can be attacked by the fungal pathogen “Phytophthora cinnamomi”. The first clear signs of this are a sedentary appearance of the plant and a strong smell that penetrates from the soil. Effective fungicides against root rot are not available. Unless the root decomposition is far advanced, mugwort can often regenerate in fresh, dry soil.
Due to its versatility, the perennial plant should not be missing in any natural garden. In dried or fresh form, the distinctive taste of the plant parts gives many dishes a special touch. In addition, the cultivation of Artemisia vulgaris is possible without much effort and prior knowledge. Planted correctly, the daisy family also counteracts any pest infestation in neighboring plants.