Prized for its beautiful foliage, the fine grey-white stems of Artemisia ludoviciana bear silvery-white leaves that are fragrant and fuzzy, and soft like lamb's ears. This floaty, finely textured plant, with narrow leaves on upright stems adds a different element to the garden, the texture and leaf form setting them apart from those other garden plants with rather less refined foliage.
The plants form a bushy, natural upright mound and grow to be around 90cm (36in) tall at maturity with a spread of 50cm (20in). The alternate leaves vary from thin pointed ovals that are almost grasslike to broad ovals that are deeply divided with narrow segments. The leaves, perhaps 7 to 8cm (3 to 4in) in length are covered with soft felt-like mass of whitish hairs. The stems are multibranched and the foliage tends to remain dense right to the ground, in the garden the plants do not require facer plants in front.
In late summer the plants are topped with small yellow flower heads, a narrow inflorescence of many nodding tiny flowers, each surrounded by a centre of yellow disc florets, just half a centimetre wide. The scented foliage is useful for cutting and for using in dried arrangements: simply hang bunches upside-down in a warm dark room. Trimming back hard after blooming will rejuvenate the foliage.
Artemisia ludoviciana should only be grown in full sunlight. It prefers dry to average moisture levels with very well-drained soil. Although hardy and able to cope with dry conditions, some water during hot dry periods is beneficial. It is considered to be drought-tolerant once established and thus makes an ideal choice for a low-water garden or Mediterranean-style planting scheme. It has a strong preference for clay, alkaline soils, is able to handle environmental salt and is good for coastal areas. It is highly tolerant of urban pollution and will even thrive in inner city environments. The plants are also deer and rabbit resistant.
This perennial is a good choice for contrast in plantings, it is excellent used the middle of the border where its foliage can be used as a foil for more colourful flowering plants. Masses of silvery grey foliage and heavily textured deeply lobed leaves add interest through the season.
Sowing: Sow in spring or in autumn.
Fill individual pots or trays with well drained seed compost. Moisten by standing the container in water, then drain. Sow the seeds thinly on the surface of the compost, pressing lightly into the compost to secure them. Do not cover the seeds, they will germinate in 14 days at 20°C (68°F).
Keep the compost moist by watering from the base of the container, never directly on top of the seeds. Once seedlings have their first true leaves, prick out and transplant to individual 7.5cm (3in) pots to grow on.
Gradually acclimatise to outdoor conditions for 10 to 15 days before planting out, 1 to 2 weeks after the last expected frosts. Space 25 to 38cm (10 to 15in) apart, seven to nine plants per square metre.
Choose a position in full sun with a well-drained soil that is moist but not wet. The plants should be exposed to the sun half the day or more. They are not tolerant of full shade and high humidity or of continual damp which may cause stem rot. Add grit to the planting hole to help drainage. The plants will tolerate drought and do well in dry, infertile soils.
Requiring very little care other than a tidy up in spring, the tops of the stems can be pinched back to tidy the plant’s growth. If it begins to decline in summer, the foliage can also be cut back late in the season to promote new growth.
Cut back stems in autumn and apply a generous mulch of well-rotted garden compost or manure around the base of the plant. The plant reseeds itself so deadheading the fading flower heads will help prevent excessive new growth.
Cut and Dried Flowers:
Stems can be harvested from the mature plant any time before the flowers appear. For drying for later use, bundle the stems together and hang them to dry in a warm place away from direct sunlight.
Artemisia ludoviciana is one of the sacred species used as by Native Americans who had numerous medicinal and ceremonial purposes. Burning dried bundles of sage was believed to have a cleansing effect, and took place at the start of traditional ceremonies as well as in sweat lodges. Known as white sage or prairie sage, infusions of the leaves often benefited sore throat or stomach cramps, while breathing in the vapours was believed to bring relief for respiratory problems. It contains substances that can be dangerous in large doses and these days, modern herbals consider it as unsafe for internal use.
Artemisia ludoviciana is native to North America where it is widespread coast to coast, but many subspecies are found only in the western United States. Artemisia ludoviciana populate the Western part of the United States from Louisiana to Washington and Oregon. It is native to dry slopes, canyons, open woods, and dry prairies. Its silvery foliage is a food source for animals such as grouse, jackrabbits, antelope, and pronghorn.
The genus name artemisia ultimately derives from the Greek goddess Artemis (Roman Diana), the namesake of Greek Queens Artemisia I and II. A more specific reference may be to Artemisia II of Caria, a botanist and medical researcher who died in 350 BC. The genus includes over 400 plants, including the delectable herb tarragon.
Artemisia II of Caria, a botanist and medical researcher who died in 350 BC. She was the sister, the wife, (yes, that is correct) and the successor of Greek/Persian King Mausolus.Because of her grief for her brother-husband, and the extravagant and downright bizarre forms it took, she became to later ages "a lasting example of chaste widowhood and of the purest and rarest kind of love", in the words of Giovanni Boccaccio. In art she was usually shown in the process of consuming his ashes, mixed with drink. To perpetuate his memory she built at Halicarnassus the celebrated Mausoleum at Halicarnassus, listed by Antipater of Sidon as one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World and whose name subsequently became the generic term for any splendid sepulchral monument, the word mausoleum.
The species name ludoviciana means 'from Louisiana'. Artemisia ludoviciana populate the Western part of the United States from Louisiana to Washington and Oregon.
It has the synonyms of Artemisia palmeri and Artemisia purshiana,
There are many common names, including Louisiana sage, Louisiana artemisia, White sage, Prairie sage, Silver sage, White sagebrush, Louisiana wormwood, Silver wormwood, Louisiana sagewort, Prairie wormwood.
In North America, Artemisia ludoviciana is the ‘white sage’ of the prairies and of eastern North America while Artemisia tridentate (Big sagebrush or desert sage), is the ‘white sage’ across the mountainous West.
Artemisia ludoviciana is a species in the genus Artemisia of the family Asteraceae. Although it is often referred to as ‘sage’ it belongs to an entirely different plant family than culinary sage.
- Additional Information
Packet Size 100mg Average Seed Count 1,200 Seeds Seed Form Natural Seeds per gram 12,000 / gram Family Asteraceae Genus Artemisia Species ludoviciana Synonym Artemisia palmeri, Artemisia purshiana Common Name Louisiana sage Other Common Names White sage, Prairie sage, Silver sage Hardiness Hardy Perennial Flowers A narrow inflorescence of many nodding tiny yellow flowers Natural Flower Time August to September Foliage Scented, fuzzy silvery foliage Height 90cm (36in) Spread 50cm (20in) Position Full sun Soil Well drained