Silver Mound artemisia is a very nice compact plant that will add interest and charm to any yard and garden. This plant is recognizable by its soft silver mound foliage. It is also known by its more technical term ‘Artemisia schmidtiana’. It is hardy to USDA zones 4-8 and is used widely for borders and for container planting.
Requirements: Silver Mound artemisia prefers to have full sun and well drained soil, average or moderately fertile soil, with a pH of 5.5-7.4. It will tolerate light afternoon shade if planted in hotter areas.
Description: Artemisia has soft, fragrant silvery-green foliage that grows in a neat little mound. It is a fine textured, slow growing perennial that requires full sun. Artemisia grows to about 12”h x 18” w and requires well drained soil. It will have some yellow flowers that appear in summer, but they are not that impressive as this plant is grown mostly for its foliage and growing habit.
Silver mound artemisia is well suited for the edge of a sunny perennial border, rock garden, in a container where it can spill over the sides. Its silvery foliage is useful amongst brightly colored flowering plants.
Companion plants and plants that will complement the artemisia plant are Coronation Gold, Schwellenburg, and wooly yarrows.
Care of Artemisia
Artemisia should be planted from 15 to 18 inches apart in spring or in fall. You should apply a slow-release granular plant food when you do your planting, or you may choose to us water-soluble plant food 3 weeks after planting in spring. You should stop fertilizing 6-8 weeks before the first frost date. Only water when the soil is dry, but water deeply when you do so. Artemisia will not withstand constantly wet soil.
When the plant blooms, you should shear back heavily to restore the smooth looking mound habit. It needs to have the shearing or it will not look good at all. In late fall, you should cut the plants to the ground, or you can leave them in place for winter interest and cut them back in the early spring.
Propagation of Artemisia
If you have moderately fertile soil, you may divide your plants every 3 years in spring or late fall. When doing so, use a sharp spade to slice through the root system. You should only reset the portions that contain healthy roots and top shoots. You may find that the center of the plant will sometimes not produce top shoots and will need to be discarded.
Related species include ‘Nana’ which closely resembles the species but is smaller in size only reaching 3” high and 12” wide. Common wormwood (A. Absinthium) is a woody perennial that reaches 3’ high and 24” wide. It has silky silvery-gray leaves and a sprawling habit.
Western mugwort cultivars ‘Silver King’ and ‘Silver Queen’ are used in wreath making. This variety, A. ludoviciana, has silvery-white leaves and reaches 4' high and 24" wide, and can be very invasive.