Learn how to grow feverfew. Growing feverfew plant is relatively easy. It is a useful medicinal herb, plus it embellishes itself with beautiful yellow-white flowers.
USDA Zones — 5 – 10
Difficulty — Easy
Other Names — Featherfew, Fever few, Febrifuge plant, Featherfoil, Mid-summer daisy and wild chamomile .
Feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium) belong to the Asteraceae family (family of chrysanthemums). This plant is also called “false chamomile”. It is native to the Eastern Mediterranean. From there it was brought to Central and Western Europe a long time ago, where it was grown in gardens as a medicinal and ornamental plant.
In temperate areas, the feverfew is a short living perennial. Where the winters are harder, growing feverfew is possible as an annual plant. It is a low maintenance plant that loves to grow in typically variety of soil types and therefore frequently occurs as a garden weed.
Feverfew is used to treat a wide range of health problems, such as fever, cold, rheumatism and cramps. It is also widely used to treat migraines. The flowers, stems and leaves are harvested for medicinal purposes. Parthenolide, a sesquiterpene lactone is considered the main biological active ingredient found in feverfew.
How to Grow Feverfew
Propagation and Planting Feverfew
It can be propagated by seeds, cuttings and division.
To propagate it from seeds, since they are somewhat rare if you don’t find them locally, buy online. Sow them indoors in early spring in a seed tray using well draining starting mix. Scatter the seeds over the surface of soil and lightly tamp them. Cover the tray with plastic sheet or put in a plastic bag and keep that in a bright spot.
If you want to sow seeds directly on the ground wait until the temperature warms up around 60 F (15 C) and last frost date passes away in the spring. Keep the soil evenly moist until the germination. Germination occurs within one or two weeks after seed sowing.
To know more about feverfew propagation, read this article.
Requirements for Growing Feverfew
Often this herb settles down by itself in the garden and is regarded by many gardeners wrongly as a weed. Ideal location to grow feverfew is full to partially sunny spot. Growing feverfew in pots, railing planters and window boxes is possible too, you can easily cultivate it on your balcony garden, just be careful not to keep it on windy spot.
Feverfew plants prefer soil which never dry out completely. Regular watering is important but overwatering can lead it to death, care in watering is required in cold weather conditions, in winter.
This undemanding plant grows in all soil types except heavy clay rich soil. Best to plant it in nutrient-rich, well drained and loose soil.
Feverfew Plant Care
Growing feverfew doesn’t require fertilizer, if soil is rich in organic matter. However, you can apply a fertilizer you use for other flowers monthly.
Feverfew plants are grown as perennial and annual. Annual varieties die off in the winter and then germinate again in the spring. Feverfews are sensitive to extreme cold and need special care in winter time.
Do protect mulching to protect the plant from severe cold in winters. Mulching also helps in summers in conserving moisture.
Deadhead the faded flowers and slightly prune off the plant after the first flowering. Pruning stimulates the growth of new flowers. Prune long, leggy and diseased branches with discolored leaves. You can prune off the plant up to about one-third of its size.
Pests and diseases
While growing feverfew plants, gardeners sometimes face problems due to wrong planting site and permanent waterlogging in soil. In pests and diseases, care feverfew plant from slugs, powdery mildew, spider mites and aphids. To prevent the pests, colonize geraniums, garlics or cress as companion plants.
Harvest leaves anytime and flowers while plant is in bloom. Feverfew is best harvested at the beginning of flowering. Harvested feverfew should be dried out quickly. Don’t store and use this dried herb longer than 120 days to obtain full effect.
In my experience, once you get feverfew in your garden, it is there and keeps coming up here and there year after year. Flowers are pretty.
Yes, same here in South London UK. Eating two leaves a day or a good pinch of dried leaves in winter keeps me free of migraines. My main plant has been going strong for several years now, although they say it is short lived.