Many Artemsia’s have silvery foliage that is fernlike but the foliage and form of Artemisia’s varies widely. Some have dark green narrow leaves, others have broad leaves. The shape and form of Artemisia varies from small rounded bushes, to sprawling mats, with many variations in between. There are even species that form small trees.
Artemisia dracunculus 'Sativa', commonly know as French tarragon is a perennial herb with long, light green leaves and tiny greenish or yellowish white flowers. French tarragon is a culinary herb that has a sweet anise flavor, and can be used in salads, sauces and soups. It's also great pared with shellfish, fish, chicken and turkey.
Sun: Full Sun to Part Sun
Soil type: Sandy or Loamy
- You can't grow French tarragon from seeds. You must purchase the plants or take an established plant from a friend's garden. Get the transplants in the spring or fall.
- Plant the transplants in well-drained soil about 2 to 3 feet apart in order to give each plant room to grow. A full-grown plant should cover about 12 inches of soil.
- The plants should grow to around 2 or 3 feet in height.
- Tarragon is a good companion to most vegetables in the garden.
- Be sure to prune the plant regularly to prevent flowering and to keep the height to around 2 feet (otherwise the plant will fall over).
- Mulch around the plants in late fall in order to protect the roots during the winter.
- To help keep your plants healthy, divide them every 3 to 4 years in the spring or fall. New plants can grow from stem cuttings or root cuttings.
- Many rusts, including white rust
- Downy mildew
- Powdery mildew
- Various fungal leaf and stem diseases
- Harvest your plant regularly. Two or three plants will suffice if you regularly prune them.
- Tarragon is best used fresh in the summer.
- You can freeze the leaves or dry them. If left to dry for too long, the leaves lose their flavor so be careful. As soon as the leaves are dry, store them in an airtight container.
If you are purchasing the plant be aware that Russian tarragon (Artemisia dracunculoides) is very closely related to French tarragon but has no anise flavor at all. Sometimes they are mislabeled so ask to taste a leaf to make sure you are getting French tarragon. There is also a Mexican tarragon, which is not in the same family as the French or Russian. It's a marigold (Tagetes lucida), grown as an annual. The leaves have similar oils to those of French tarragon so can be used as a culinary stand-in for French tarragon. When purchasing tarragon, make sure plants in four inch pots have at least three green shoots, and buy them in the spring to plant in your garden before the summer heat sets in.
Medical Benefits of Artemmisis annua 'Sweet Annie'
The Reason I will be growing Artemesia is for the medical benefits. Recent research has isolated a chemical, artemesinin, that is quite effective in killing the malaria parasite in the blood and it is sold as a prescription medicine in Africa, Asia and Europe. This anti-malarial compound is isolated from Sweet Annie, (Artemisia annua). This plant is also used in the treatment of fungal pneumonia’s common to AIDS patients along with treating bacteria infections like Lyme disease.
Recipes on blog using French terragon
Herbed Feta Toasts
International Herb Association (www.iherb.org)
Examiner.com Artemisia Herb of the Year
This classic herb provides delicate flavor with minimal effort by Andrew Yeoman Fine Gardening
Old farmers Almanac