Random thoughts on Growing Your Own Sweet Annie
Sweet Annie, Annual Wormwood, Artemisia Annua, Ambrosia
A prim crafter’s perspective- I’ve grown Sweet Annie for a dozen years or so, and find it to be one of my personal favorites for use in my wreaths and prim crafts. I’mlocated in a northern coastal state and this is my experience with Sweet Annie.
Sweet Annie is easy to grow and perfect for floral designs and crafting, because of the feathery foliage, abundant yellow buds, and the fragrance. (Varieties with nofragrance have also emerged.) It is pretty in the garden and a favorite of butterfliesand bees. Although an annual, it reseeds itself abundantly, generally not where oneexpects to find it. In many parts of the country it grows in the wild, alongroadsides, and such.Sweet Annie can quickly become a nuisance and perhaps it’s best to purchase itharvested and ready to use rather than to grow it yourself, particularly if you likeneat tidy gardens. I myself use a huge amount and celebrate each and every strayseedling I find, but some farm folk friends find it to be a curse.In my New England garden, most years it emerges painfully slow in spring time,then suddenly bursts into growth when the weather turns warm. Some years itgrows better than others, as do most things. I try to keep some extra seed on handfor the bad years. It likes well drained soil and not too much rain, but needswatering in dry spells. I keep mine mulched with newspaper, covered withshredded leaf materials.When it does spring forth, it will appear as teeny little ferny plants.... From thebeginning they have a fragrant smell when squeezed between your fingers, whichwill help you to distinguish them from weeds. I let mine grow a few inches beforedisturbing them and then remove them and place them where I’d prefer them togrow, and pamper them until they take hold. If they come up in a walkway, I potthem up for the time being, then transplant to the garden once they’ve grown bigenough.I grow Sweet Annie in my herb garden and as a filler / background plant in myperennial gardens, and in every other nook or cranny I can tuck a plant into. Itneeds ample space (2 ft), and full to partial sun to grow to its full potential (4 ft andmore). Grown by itself, Sweet Annie is not the most attractive plant during thegrowing season, because of it’s height, and because it’s generally pretty thin atground level. I fill in the space around it with “garden art” if needed… a rustywatering can, a few stacked clay pots, a vintage child’s tricycle, some pots of herbsor nasturtiums, etc.Sweet Annie benefits from trimming during the early part of the growing season.This will enable it to flourish into a bushy shape, with more abundant foliage andbudding.