Artemisia ‘Leprechaun’: The Backbone of a Garden
Every gardener wants flowers, flowers and more flowers but a well designed garden has backbone. Maybe it’s a backdrop for all those flowers, maybe it’s a line created with plant material, maybe it’s a hedge. Leprechaun Southernwood (Artemisia abrotanum ‘Leprechaun’) can do all that and more!
Southernwood has aromatic foliage with a scent somewhere between citrus and camphor and that means deer and rabbits leave it in peace. Sprigs were hung in closets and wardrobes to deter moths, thus its French name garderobe. Another name, Lad’s Love, comes from the practice of young men making a poultice with this herb and applying it to their skin in order to grow facial hair– with poor results! Regardless of the common names, the Latin name honors Artemis, goddess of the hunt, vegetation and the moon.
‘Leprechaun’ is a more compact selection, growing to 2-3’, discovered in Wyoming by plantsman Kelly Grummons. It’s incredibly tolerant of our mountainous terrain, growing happily up to 8500’ elevation! Its deep root system helps stabilize soil and makes it able to survive heat, dry air and sandy soils.
Sun? Shade? Leprechaun Southernwood will grow in both and it only requires that you cut it down to the ground in the spring and let it grow anew.
In recent years, as boxwoods struggle with boxwood blight and other insect/disease problems, Leprechaun Southernwood provides a pest-free alternative with the same ability to serve as a hedge or backdrop. Think about where your garden might benefit from some backbone!
View the plant profile here.
Blooms: grow for foliage and texture
Sun: Full sun, part sun, shade
Soil Moisture: moderate to low
Hardiness: USDA zones 4-8
Culture: Loam or sandy soil
Elevation: Up to 8500 feet
Thanks to Bev Shaw of Plant Select® for this piece.