How to Plant, Grow and Care For Feverfew

The dazzling plenty of fragrant yellow and white flowers atop frilly verdant leaves make feverfew some of the lovely ornamentals you possibly can develop. This chamomile-look-alike is a well-liked wildflower associated to daisies and tansies. It may be grown as a perennial in zones 5-10 and as an annual in colder areas.

Helpful predatory bugs are magnetized to feverfew, making it top-of-the-line companion crops to incorporate in your vegetable backyard.

The pungent, citrus-scented foliage naturally repels pests, whereas the dainty flowers entice hoverflies and tachinid flies. Furthermore, this carefree herb doesn’t ask for a lot upkeep and naturally re-seeds yearly.

Let’s dig into every part it is advisable find out about rising this fascinating herb in your backyard.

Plant Overview

Tanacetum parthenium L. is a medicinal herb with daisy-like flowers recognized for its potential well being advantages.

Tanacetum parthenium L.

Plant Sort: Herbaceous perennial Plant Upkeep: Low Plant Spacing: 8-12”
Plant Household: Asteraceae (Daisy Household) Plant Peak: 24-36” Watering Wants: Low
Plant Genus: Tanacetum Fertility Wants: Low Solar Publicity: Full solar
Plant Species: parthenium Temperature: 60-90°F, tolerates to -20°F in dormancy Lifespan: Tender, short-lived perennial
Hardiness Zone: 5-10 Companion Crops: Coreopsis, Daylily, Coneflower Pests: Aphids
Planting Season: Spring Soil Sort: Mild, well-drained, impartial pH Ailments: None

Historical past and Cultivation

Feverfew has been cultivated for hundreds of years as a medicinal and insectary plant. As early as the primary century, Greek doctor Dioscorides prescribed feverfew as a treatment for fevers and irritation. The plant has additionally been known as “featherfew” due to its frilly, feathery leaves.

With roots in Central Asia, the Himalayan mountains, and southeastern Europe, feverfew has now unfold around the globe. I’ve even seen it rising wild alongside roadside ditches all through america! This herb’s fascinating historical past and easygoing angle make it a no brainer addition to any backyard.

What’s Feverfew?

Top view, close-up of flowering Feverfew plants in a flower bed. Feverfew flowers are small, daisy-like, with white petals surrounding a yellow center. The leaves are green and finely dissected, resembling small feathery fern leaves.
Feverfew is a flexible herbaceous perennial with fragrant foliage, daisy-like flowers, and mounding progress.

Feverfew is an herbaceous perennial plant with fragrant foliage and daisy-like flowers which might be used for landscaping, natural cures, floral preparations, and companion planting.

Its inexperienced parsley-shaped leaves are a stunning backdrop to the yellow and white composite flowers. The plant grows as a sexy mounding shrub as much as 36” tall and 24” broad. It’s a member of the Asteraceae household, carefully associated to daisies.

Are Feverfew and Chamomile the Similar?

Close-up of pyrethrum flowers in a sunny garden. The plant has upright thin stems and small daisy-like flowers with round yellow centers surrounded by white petals.
Although associated to the daisy household, Feverfew and chamomile have distinct traits.

Feverfew is usually confused with chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla L.), however the two crops are distinct. Feverfew flowers are flatter, much less flavorful, and extra citrus-scented than chamomile. Whereas chamomile is an annual, feverfew is a perennial.

To make issues extra complicated, feverfew is mistakenly also known as “wild chamomile.” Each crops are within the daisy household and share family members like sunflowers, calendula, and marigolds.

Feverfew Chamomile
Parsley-like foliage Frilly, skinny foliage
Flattened flower base Dome-shaped, rounded head
Citrusy, bitter scent (much less aromatic) Floral, candy scent (extra aromatic)
Perennial plant Annual plant
Hardy in zones 5-10 Hardy in zones 2-9
Self-sowing Self-sowing
Native to Balkan peninsula (Southeastern Europe) Widespread, with origins all through the world

The place Did Feverfew Get Its Identify?

Close-up of pyrethrum flowers in a sunny garden against a blurred floral background. The flowers are small, grow in small lumpy inflorescences on the tops of vertical stems. The flowers are daisy-like in shape, with bright yellow button centers and white oval petals.
Feverfew, or Tanacetum parthenium, derives its title from its historic use in treating fevers.

The title feverfew comes from the Latin phrase febrifuge, which suggests “driving fever away.” Also referred to as Tanacetum parthenium L., feverfew doubtless received its title from Greek physicians who used it to deal with fevers.

The genus title Tanacetum means “immortal” and the species title parthenium refers to a legend that feverfew was used to avoid wasting a building employee who fell on his head whereas constructing the Parthenon temple in Athens.

The place Does Feverfew Originate?

Close-up side view of feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium) blooming flowers. The plant has thin branched stems at the tops of which grow small daisy-like flowers. The flowers have white petals that surround a conspicuous yellow center made up of many tiny disc florets. Feverfew leaves have a unique shape and texture. They are deeply lobed, pinnate, and fern-like.
Feverfew, originating from Southeastern Europe and Western Asia, has been extensively cultivated globally for hundreds of years.

Feverfew is native to the Balkan area of Southeastern Europe in addition to Western Asia and components of the Himalayas. The herb has been extensively cultivated in gardens and landscapes around the globe for 1000’s of years.

Within the mid-Nineteenth century, feverfew was delivered to america, the place it has now turn into naturalized in lots of areas. This chamomile doppelganger could be discovered rising wild in roadside ditches, pastures, and meadows all through North America, Australia, Asia, North Africa, and Europe.


Because of its wildflower nature, feverfew is insanely simple to develop from seed, cuttings, or root divisions. As soon as established, the plant will readily self-sow and slowly unfold through underground runners. Whereas feverfew is raring to unfold, it’s not sometimes invasive. Undesirable seedlings are simple to drag out.

Propagate Feverfew from Seed

Top view, close-up of the seed heads of a Feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium) plant on a blurred green background. The plant has tall, upright, pale green stems and small, dark brown seed heads.
Plant feverfew in spring when the soil is workable, or begin indoors and transplant after the final frost.

For many gardeners, one of the best time to plant feverfew is within the spring, as quickly because the soil could be labored. You can even begin the plant indoors and transplant seedlings exterior across the first frost.

Feverfew is considerably hardy as soon as established, however it’s tender as a seedling. After I labored on reduce flower farms, we generally transplanted feverfew within the fall to realize longer stems and earlier blooms for spring bouquets. Nevertheless, overwintering the tender perennial crops requires the additional labor of protecting them with row material or planting in a greenhouse.

The best seeding dates are:

  • Spring direct sowing: 1-3 weeks earlier than final frost date (as quickly soil is workable)
  • Spring transplanting: Sow 5-7 weeks earlier than final frost
  • Fall transplanting: 3-4 weeks earlier than first frost

To develop one of the best feverfew seedlings, bear in mind to:

Sow feverfew shallowly

A close-up of a woman's hands making holes in a starter seed tray filled with soil. The starter tray is large, plastic, black, has small square deep cells filled with a moist soil mixture.
When seeding feverfew, bear in mind to not cowl the seeds, as they require gentle for germination.

Crucial factor to recollect when seeding feverfew is: Don’t cowl the seeds! These tiny seeds require gentle to germinate and ought to be sown very shallowly. You should utilize a mister or a really gentle stream of water to take care of soil moisture with out disturbing the seed placement.

If you’re direct sowing exterior, you possibly can broadcast the seeds into naked soil. This mimics nature’s course of for spreading feverfew. Be sure that the world is completely weeded to stop grasses or different crops from outcompeting the feverfew seedlings.

Germination time and temperature

Feverfew takes 7-14 days to germinate and enjoys a light soil temperature of round 70°F. Nevertheless, it could tolerate colder when straight sown within the backyard. A layer of row cowl can assist encourage extra even germination in chilly climates, however it normally isn’t mandatory.

Maintain feverfew seeds constantly moist till the crops develop their first true leaves. So long as seedlings obtain 6-8 hours of direct daylight, there is no such thing as a want for a germination warmth mat or synthetic lighting.

Don’t overlook to skinny

You possibly can broadcast (sprinkle) the seeds or sow a few seeds each 8-12”. As soon as crops develop their first true leaves, it’s important to skinny the seedlings to 1 plant each 8-12”. If rising as a perennial, it’s greatest to offer every plant about 12” of area in each course.

Overcrowded feverfew can result in weak, unpleasant crops. The person thinned crops will find yourself mounding and bushing into one another to create a sexy steady show.

Develop Feverfew from Cuttings

Close-up of cuttings of a feverfew plant on a white background. The plant has a thin pale green stem, several green lobed leaves and small flowers. The flowers are daisy-like, with dark orange disc-shaped centers surrounded by small oval white petals.
To propagate feverfew, take non-flowering stem cuttings, take away decrease leaves, and place them in water.

Softwood cuttings are one other fast option to begin a feverfew patch. When you or a buddy already has a thriving feverfew plant, you possibly can take a couple of stem clippings and root them to duplicate the plant.

  1. Use a robust, wholesome feverfew plant.
  2. Discover a 4-6” lengthy, non-flowering stem.
  3. Use sanitized shears to chop the stem just under a node (the purpose the place the leaves meet the stem).
  4. Strip the decrease 2-3” of leaves.
  5. Optionally, dip the underside of the chopping in a rooting hormone.
  6. Place the chopping in a jar of water or potting combine. Solely the decrease 2-3” ought to be submerged.
  7. Place in a heat, sunny space with vivid oblique gentle.
  8. Often change the water and keep steady moisture.
  9. Wait 1-2 weeks till you see roots kind, then transplant to a pot.

Feverfew cuttings root one of the best in heat soil, so a heating mat can improve your probabilities of success.

Divide Feverfew Crops

Close-up of a flower bed with flowering feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium) plants in a sunny garden. The plant has upright stems covered with lobed, pinnate and fern-like leaves. The leaves are arranged alternately along the stems, and each leaf consists of several narrow leaflets extending from a central midrib. The leaflets are deeply serrated and have a slightly pubescent texture. The flowers are small, semi-double, with central yellow discs surrounded by several rows of white petals.
Dividing feverfew is straightforward by digging up the plant and chopping the rhizomatous crown into chunks.

Because of the clumping nature of feverfew crops, they’re very simple to divide. Division is so simple as digging up the plant and chopping the rhizomatous crown into a couple of chunks. The steps are as follows:

  1. Divide feverfew within the spring or fall, earlier than or after flowering.
  2. Discover a mature, thriving feverfew plant.
  3. Use a sharp-edged shovel to dig a circle across the plant, a couple of icnehs wider than its circumfrence.
  4. Dig about 1 foot deep.
  5. Lif the plant from the bottom.
  6. Use the shovel to cut the rhizome into a number of chunks.
  7. Every chunk ought to be no less than 6-8” in diameter.
  8. Replant one chunk within the authentic area and backfill so solely leaves are uncovered.
  9. Transplant the remaining divisions to pots or different components of your backyard.
  10. Present no less than 12” of area in all instructions.


Feverfew is greatest planted within the spring or early fall. Sow seeds about 2 weeks earlier than your final frost. Alternatively, you possibly can divide and transplant this herb within the late summer season or early fall. Make certain it has no less than 4-6 weeks to get established earlier than chilly climate units in. In delicate climates, feverfew overwinters nicely and offers further early flowers.


Close-up of female hands in green gloves transplanting feverfew plants in a flower bed. The plant has vertical thin stems covered with fern-like green leaves with deep lobes. The flowers are small, have white petals and yellow round centers.
Transplanting feverfew is easy – dig a gap, loosen the roots, and place the plant.

Transplanting feverfew is so simple as another backyard herb. Whether or not you begin from a nursery plant, homegrown seedling, chopping, or division, the method is identical:

  1. Dig a gap 1 to 2 occasions bigger than the basis ball.
  2. Gently therapeutic massage the pot to loosen the roots.
  3. If the plant is rootbound, reduce off any protruding roots and use your fingers to loosen the tangled root ball.
  4. Grasp the plant from the bottom and switch the pot on its aspect.
  5. Place the feverfew within the gap.
  6. Backfill with compost and native soil.
  7. Make certain to not bury any leaves or stems. Maintain the crown just under soil degree.
  8. Totally water in and keep steady moisture for a couple of weeks.

Area feverfew crops 8-12” aside in rows 12” aside. The crops naturally wish to kind clumps.


Feverfew is as simple to develop as its doppelganger, chamomile. You possibly can preserve this herb as an annual or a perennial with little or no upkeep. Plant it in border beds or naturalized areas the place it could self-slow freely. The keys to blissful feverfew are vivid sunshine and loamy soil.


Close-up of a flowering bed of Tanacetum parthenium under full sun. The plant has small, daisy-like flowers with white petals surrounding a yellow disc-shaped center. The leaves are bright green, deeply lobed, with a soft texture.
Feverfew prefers full solar, blooms with longer daytime, and thrives in outside patio containers.

Feverfew prefers full sunshine, however tolerates partial shade. Crops grown partly shade could not flower as profusely or aromatically.

This herb is a long-day plant, which implies that the quantity of sunshine straight impacts the flowering cycle. Crops sometimes begin blooming across the summer season solstice when the times lengthen.

Due to its love for sunshine, indoor crops are likely to get leggy and sad. Feverfew can be pretty hardy, so there is no such thing as a cause to waste your indoor rising area. This herb will flourish in outside patio containers.


Close-up of several feverfew flowers with water drops, against a blurred green background. The flowers are small, fluffy, semi-double, composed of several layers of white oval petals surrounding an orange center.
Feverfew thrives in persistently moist soil, requiring irrigation throughout dry spells and benefiting from mulching.

Feverfew prefers persistently moist soil. It doesn’t tolerate lengthy durations drought. The plant grows greatest in barely damp soil that’s by no means bone-dry nor overly soggy.

When you don’t get a lot summer season rain, it’s greatest to mulch your feverfew crops with chopped leaves or a layer of compost. You could must irrigate 1 to three occasions per week throughout dry spells. Soil with excessive quantities of natural matter requires much less irrigation as a result of it holds onto moisture.


Close-up of a young Tanacetum parthenium plant in a sunny garden. The plant is young, small, has a bushy shape. It consists of dense pinnate leaves and each leaf consists of several narrow leaflets extending from a central midrib. The leaflets are deeply serrated.
Feverfew prefers well-drained, moist soil with a pH of 6.0 to 7.2.

Feverfew prefers gentle, fluffy soil that’s well-drained and usually moist. Heavy clay soils should be loosened with a broadfork or digging fork and amended with decayed natural matter. Sandy soil will most likely want compost or leaf mildew to enhance the water holding capability.

A pH between 6.0 and seven.2 ensures correct mineral absorption for this herb. In case your soil is simply too acidic, amend with compost, limestone, or wooden ashes.

Local weather and Temperature

Close-up of feverfew plant (Tanacetum parthenium) flowers on a blurred green background. The flowers are small, daisy-like, with bright yellow centers, consisting of many tiny disc florets surrounded by small white petals. The petals are slightly flattened, creating a visually pleasing and symmetrical flower head.
Feverfew thrives in heat climate, with hardiness starting from zones 5 to 10.

Feverfew thrives in heat climate and sunshine. It may be grown as a perennial in zones 5 by means of 10, or an annual in colder zones. In its dormant state, a well-rooted plant can tolerate a whopping -20°F. Through the summer season, the herb prefers cozy temperatures within the 70s and 80s.

Seeds germinate greatest when soil is round 70°F. Indoor sowing and transplanting tends to be greatest for reduce flower forms of feverfew. Wild varieties don’t thoughts direct seeding after the prospect of frost has handed.


Close-up of feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium) flowering plant in the garden. The plant has many small daisy-like flowers with small oval white petals surrounding yellow button centers. The leaves are pinnate, fern-like, composed of narrow lobed leaflets.
Feverfew thrives in fertile soil wealthy in natural matter, preferring compost for nutrient provide.

Feverfew enjoys a fertile soil that’s wealthy in natural matter. A top quality compost ought to present loads of vitamins. In poor soils, you possibly can amend with small quantities of all-purpose, slow-release fertilizer.

Like many herbs, its greatest to keep away from feeding high-nitrogen fertilizers. An excessive amount of nitrogen may cause the plant to develop extra foliage with much less flowers. Overfertilization additionally reduces the nice scent of the flowers.


Close-up of young plants (Tanacetum parthenium) in the garden. The plant has the form of a low bush with lush feathery foliage of bright green color. The leaves are pinnate with deep lobes, similar to fern or parsley leaves.
Feverfew is low-maintenance and could be in the reduction of after frost, regenerating in spring.

Except for constant irrigation, feverfew is comparatively maintenance-free. If rising feverfew as a perennial, you possibly can reduce it again to the bottom after the primary laborious frost. The plant will regenerate within the spring with contemporary, enticing new progress.

Feverfew is a self-seeding plant that may unfold shortly in its optimum situations. Whereas it’s unlikely to take over your backyard, it could require some weeding. Undesirable seedlings are simple to pullout. Clumps ought to be divided yearly to stop them from getting out-of-hand.


Close-up of the blooming flowers of 'Ultra Double White' Feverfew. The flowers of this variety are fully double, that is, they have several layers of petals, which gives them a lush and full appearance. The petals are pure white, small and densely packed, forming a dense and compact flower head with a central yellow disc. Double flowers resemble small fluffy pompoms.
‘Extremely Double White’ is a wide range of feverfew with lovely, totally double white flowers.

Feverfew is available in a number of cultivars for various makes use of and asesthetics:

  • Wild sort: The basic Tanacetum parthenium L. is essentially the most resilient and customary number of feverfew. Resulting from its wildflower nature, it may be extra aggressive in its optimum atmosphere.
  • White blooms: ‘Crown White,’ ‘Extremely Double White,’ and ‘White Bonnet’ have beautiful pure white flowers.
  • Yellow flowers: For beautiful cream-yellow flowers, select ‘Golden Ball.’
  • Golden leaves: ‘Aureum’ is likely one of the hottest feverfews as a result of it has golden-hue leaves and smaller shows of white flowers. It additionally grows a stout 12” tall, making it good for containers.

Pests and Ailments

Close-up of a Feverfew plant infested with black aphids in a sunny garden. The plant has an upright stem and feathery, fern-like green leaves with lobed leaflets. The stem is completely covered with black aphids. Aphids are tiny pests with black oval bodies.
Feverfew is mostly pest and illness resistant, aside from potential aphid points.

Feverfew is of course resilient to frequent backyard pests and ailments. The one challenge you might have are aphids (they appear to eat every part, don’t they?)

When you discover aphids crawling on this white and yellow magnificence, a heavy stream of water can normally knock them off. In excessive infestations, throw away affected plant components and deal with the herb with a diluted neem answer.

Incessantly Requested Questions

Feverfew is a non-fussy herb that could be very simple to develop. This flower can simply be grown from seed, chopping, or division. Plant in an space with loads of daylight and well-drained soil.

Feverfew thrives in areas with full sunshine and loamy, well-drained soil. It may be discovered flourishing in wildflower fields and panorama margins.

Feverfew’s fundamental disadvantage is its tendency to unfold. This self-seeding plant shouldn’t be essentially invasive, however it may be aggressive when grown in its optimum situations. One of the simplest ways to include feverfew is to take away spent flower heads and divide the plant clumps yearly. Alternatively, plant feverfew in a cottage backyard or naturalized space on the borders of your panorama.

Last Ideas

Now that you simply’ve discovered all it is advisable find out about rising this beautiful flower, all that’s left is to begin seeding or transplant them into your backyard. Fever few has many various makes use of, so including it to your backyard area will give you many various advantages.

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