“Southernwood”, a copyrighted post, was written for my WordPress blog called Always Growing by Jan in Covington, Louisiana 


One man’s weed is another man’s garden plant. 

One very common plant that is always showing up around here is southernwood (Artemisia abrotanum) which I remember from childhood as just a common weed.  Whenever I saw it popping up in our garden, I would get rid of it in a hurry.  Can’t have a known weed growing in a garden.  Then, about five years ago, back when there were true garden shows on television, I saw a show that was showing gardens in Germany.  Lo and behold, there was the host describing this great plant from America that turned out to be southernwood.  I couldn’t believe it.  Our plain old weed, now a star in German gardens.  (I believe the same thing happened to goldenrod – went to Europe and came back to America as a star.)

The next year, when this “weed” starting showing up in the garden, I let some stay around.  It does have a very delicate “ferny” look and is a lovely green.  It also can get fairly tall, maybe six feet.  Come fall, it begins to bloom, and by Thanksgiving is a lovely shade of tan – perfect for autumn.


Artemisia - Southernwood (redu)


Artemisia - Southernwood 2 (redu)


Funny, how we don’t want something until someone else values it.  I am glad I watched that garden show because I certainly found out about a great plant I thought was only a weed. 


  1. james said,

    November 5, 2009 at 10:57 pm

    Im so amazed to know this “weed” as its very much cherished in my tropical gardens. They are hardy and lovely.
    Its known as wormwood here and southernwood there. Interesting.

  2. November 6, 2009 at 2:37 am

    Hi, actually is there something called as a weed, i tend to call them mother plants

  3. Janet said,

    November 6, 2009 at 7:24 am

    I have some kind of weedy ferny looking plant that comes up every so often, will have to research it and see if it is Southernwood.

  4. Sweet Bay said,

    November 6, 2009 at 9:40 am

    That looks a lot like the Dog Fennel (a Eupatorium) that grows wild here in great profusion. It’s not my favorite in summer but is very beautiful in autumn with the golden light filtering through the seedheads. Southernwood and Dog Fennel sound like they have similar appeal.

    Joe Pye Weed went to Europe and came back a star too!

  5. donna said,

    November 6, 2009 at 5:55 pm

    What happened to Northernwood? Froze to death and never grew back, I imagine:) I like the fern-like appearance of this plant.

  6. ryublade said,

    November 6, 2009 at 8:07 pm

    Oh no, I thought it was just a weed and ripped them out of my garden last month. I did think the ferny leaves looked pretty nice but was iffy about allowing weeds to reseed in my garden. Hmm, maybe I’ll allow a few to grow next year.

  7. mothernaturesgarden said,

    November 8, 2009 at 12:18 pm

    If I like them, I call them wildflowers.

  8. Lana said,

    November 8, 2009 at 3:47 pm

    I don’t tend to consider weeds as pests. Heck, many great healing plants are “just weeds,” after all!

  9. vrtlaricaana said,

    November 25, 2009 at 3:19 am

    These violas look lovely!
    I’m not going to have any winter flowers, but for spring I’m definitely planning to grow some from seed. I have never grown flowers from seed, except marigolds.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: