The African Mugwort, botanical name Artemisia afra is a perennial plant with evergreen gray-green foliage and finely cut like that of a fern. It is a pretty ornamental plant, but it is above all an aromatic and medicinal plant used for millennia in Africa, and still relatively unknown in France.
Indeed, Artemisia afra is one of the oldest and best known medicinal plants on the African continent. Traditionally, the leaves are harvested before flowering and then dried before being used in herbal teas. This plant is used in particular in the fight against malaria. Although its use is controversial, it remains one of the most popular treatments in Africa today. Finally, its essential oil is also an insect repellent.
The plant produces an abundant summer bloom of white flowers, reaching up to 1 meter! In the garden or even in the vegetable patch, it is a structuring plant which forms a clump in the shape of a cushion. Cut well after flowering each year, the plant will keep a very compact habit.
How to grow Artemisia afra?
Its cultivation is quite similar to its cousin Artemsia annua (annual mugwort), except that Artemisia afra (African mugwort) is a perennial plant, which therefore has the big advantage of coming back to the garden year after year.
Quite resistant to cold, despite its tropical origin, this plant supports temperatures of around -12°C/-15°C, provided that the soil is not soggy, especially during winter. Indeed, if it supports well the wet episodes during the beautiful season, in period of vegetative rest, the roots are very sensitive to the excess of water.
It should therefore be planted in a well-drained, sandy soil, and not too rich in humus. Finally, choose a location with a sunny exposure.