Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Tansy
Tanacetum vulgare

Family: Asteraceae (ass-ter-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Tanacetum (TAN-uh-SEE-tum) (Info)
Species: vulgare (vul-GAIR-ee) (Info)

Synonym:Chrysanthemum vulgare

3 vendors have this plant for sale.

40 members have or want this plant for trade.


24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

USDA Zone 3a: to -39.9 C (-40 F)
USDA Zone 3b: to -37.2 C (-35 F)
USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)
USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)
USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)
USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)
USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

Sun Exposure:
Sun to Partial Shade

All parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:
Bright Yellow

Bloom Time:
Mid Summer


Other details:
May be a noxious weed or invasive
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
By dividing the rootball
From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall
From seed; winter sow in vented containers, coldframe or unheated greenhouse
From seed; sow indoors before last frost

Seed Collecting:
Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds

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5 positives
3 neutrals
6 negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Negative coriaceous On Feb 1, 2014, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

I found this to be aggressively weedy, and I don't find it attractive enough to put in the time and energy it takes to control it while cultivating it. Getting rid of it wasn't too hard, though, through a combination of digging it out and spot-application of glyphosate herbicide.

Four states have declared this a noxious weed.

Negative Yooper1 On May 18, 2010, Yooper1 from Atlantic Mine, MI wrote:

This weed has been spreading in my town. I don't ever remember seeing it 20 years ago, and now it's everywhere. Once it gets roots in the ground, it's nearly impossible to get rid of it. I spend countless hours every spring going around my property spraying the growing weeds before they get big and turn into sticks. I wish someone would make a weed killer that would only target Tansy, not other, non invasive weeds.

Positive temafilly On Feb 22, 2010, temafilly from Oconomowoc, WI (Zone 4b) wrote:

I have a large clump of common Tansy growing in the way back 'forgotten' corner behind the shed at Mom's house. In summer as you round the building, the floral display is a bright surprise at eye level, and it fills the space where grass has a hard time growing. I routinely deadhead, cutting the flowering stems to the ground, leaving a 2 x 2 mound of fern-like foliage to persist (by that time of year) in part sun.
Though resistered as a noxious weed in Colorado, Montana, Washington and Wyoming, I believe that responsible management can afford this plant a place in both Landscaping and Garden. It has been used in Britain since the mid 1500's for a natural pest repellent (much better and cheaper than chemicals - prettier, too!), and is said to deter Colorado Potato and Japanese Beetles, flies, certain species of Ant, and from my own experience of rubbing leaves on exposed parts, mosquitos to a point.
I DO NOT RECOMMEND THIS FOR PEOPLE WITH SENSITIVE SKIN! I have no allergies, and the oils can cause dermatitis. This plant is also toxic, so please supervise children and pets that may be attracted by it's sunny blooms and strong scent, or plant it out of reach.
Wikipedia has an informative article on common Tansy, as well as the USDA Plants Database.

Negative distantkin On Nov 3, 2007, distantkin from Saint Cloud, MN (Zone 4b) wrote:

This plant is listed on the Minnesota DNR invasive list.
"Ecological Threat:
Common tansy is wide spread across most northern United States and Canadian provinces.
It is still cultivated in gardens and is common along roadsides and abandoned farmyards in northern Minnesota and along the north shore of Lake Superior. South sloping open areas are most vulnerable.
It was introduced to the United States from Europe for medicinal and horticultural purposes.
Common tansy is on the MDA Secondary noxious weeds list in Minnesota. "

Positive Ducky777 On Sep 11, 2007, Ducky777 from Arlington, TX wrote:

I have this plant growing in a pot near an arbor. Because it likes to flop when it reaches 4 feet or more, I have a hyacinth Bean Vine wrapped around it holding it up. The yellow button flowers blooming alongside the purple hyacinth bean vine flowers is a divine combo!

Negative Joan On Apr 1, 2007, Joan from Belfield, ND (Zone 4a) wrote:

This plant is listed on the North Dakota invasive/troublesome list and this information is being distributed in a guide developed by the ND Weed Control Association and other agencies.

Plant Features
Perennial, bushy, fern-like, 1 to 6 feet tall
Dark green leaves divided into several smaller leaves (leaflets), edges toothed
Stems purplish red
Flat-topped flower clusters on the end of stems
Blooms July through October
Button-like flowers 1/2 inch wide, yellowish gold, lack petals.
Seeds yellowish-brown with five-toothed ridges
Spreads by creeping roots (rhizomatous) and seeds

Documented in a few areas. Grows under moist conditions in grasslands, right-of-ways, and along tree belt edges

Interesting Facts
Objectionable odor when leaves are crushed
Herb, escaped ornamental, still used in floral arrangements
May be toxic to grazing animals when ingested

Negative Kelly333 On May 9, 2006, Kelly333 from Longview, TX wrote:

I planted tansy to keep ants out of my garden. It did not work. Now it is a booger to get rid of. Invasive!

Neutral melody On Aug 24, 2005, melody from Benton, KY (Zone 7a) wrote:

I do not grow this plant, information only.

The yellow flowering herb blooms from July through Sept throughout North America except for TX, SC to AL and the Arctic. It is commonly found along roadsides, edges of fields, waste places and shorelines.

Originally a European plant, it has escaped from gardens and in some parts of the country, as already noted, it can become quite invasive.

Negative lego_brickster On Sep 4, 2004, lego_brickster from Lawrenceville, PA (Zone 5b) wrote:

This has proven to be an extremely invasive herb for us.
Somehow the seed from a nearby pot of Tansy made it into our lawn and flower beds. We've spent the last three years unsuccessfully trying to eradicae it.
It made it into our alpine beds where it sent long tap roots down between the rocks, which made it impossible to pull out without taking out the small alpine plant growing in that space.
What a nightmare!

Neutral randi_rives On Aug 17, 2004, randi_rives from Lubbock, TX (Zone 7a) wrote:

This is a beautiful, fast growing, hardy plant. The flowers are very attractive and it grows well here in West Texas. This plant shares my herb garden with yarrow, sage, germander, daisies and rosemary, (however it grows _away_ from the rosemary for some reason)

From my personal experience, please be aware that overdosing on this plant can be fatal, especially to dogs. Acording to Poison Control Center, there is no antidote known for Tansy poisoning, and we lost a 4 month old teething German Shepherd pup who decided to chew on the stem and root stalk. In small amounts, however, it is beneficial, as previously written, and I do use it sparingly, but since we lost the pup, it is now fenced well off from our other dogs.

Positive ladyannne On Aug 13, 2004, ladyannne from Merced, CA (Zone 9a) wrote:

Another medicinal garden must. I hang four pots from a macrame holder on each side of our doors, made so that there is Tansy all along the door side and flies are no longer a problem with open doors and no screens.

Positive Happenstance On Aug 28, 2003, Happenstance from Northern California, CA wrote:

Great texture and green fern-like foliage, tidy yellow flowers, good grower, holds up to high temps, afternoon shade helps retain dark green coloring.

Positive poppysue On Jan 22, 2003, poppysue from Westbrook, ME (Zone 5a) wrote:

Tansy is great plant for the wildflower garden but it will be hog if you plant it in rich garden soil. The clump will spread indefinitly and the roots are monsters to dig out. I have it planted on the edge of the lawn where it can be controlled by the lawn mower. The yellow button flowers are excellent material for drying. Tansy is especially attractive to benificial insects. The ladybugs seem to love it.

Neutral Baa On Dec 3, 2001, Baa wrote:

A perennial herb from Europe.

Has pinnate, toothed, mid-dark green, scented (not particularly pleasent) leaflets. Bears small flat heads tightly packed with tiny yellow flowers which have no ray petals.

Flowers July-October.

Likes a well drained soil in full sun, will self seed everywhere when happy.

Do not use Tansy when pregnant. Tansy is a herb to be used in moderation only as it can be toxic in large doses. It may also irritate sensetive skins.

The leaves were once used to preserve corpses from corruption. It was used as a strewing herb in public areas as a form of disinfectant and insect repellent. It deters flies and a bunch of flowers and leaves hung up in a room will keep them away (will keep most things away including any visitors with a sense of smell if too much is used). Fleas also dislike Tansy smell and can be rubbed on a dogs coat to repel them.

It has a culinary use, bearing in mind not to use much of it, in salads, eggs, some cakes and puddings. It was also used as a digestive aid in very low amounts.

Tansy's medicinal uses, in times past, was to rid stomach worms from children, treat jaundice, hysteria (it has stimulant properties), nervous conditions, as a rub on varicose veins, muscle sprains and rheumatic joints. It was also used to treat epilepsy but it can cause a fit as well as alleviate them.

The leaves are full of potassium and a valuable addition to the compost heap, this is good because if you grow Tansy you are going to have a lot of it.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Anchorage, Alaska
Juneau, Alaska
Chula Vista, California
Clayton, California
Fairfield, California
Merced, California
Woodland Park, Colorado
Fairfield, Idaho
Kansas, Illinois
Bloomington, Indiana
Evansville, Indiana
Warren, Indiana
Iowa City, Iowa
Fort Fairfield, Maine
Oakland, Maryland
Haverhill, Massachusetts
Roslindale, Massachusetts
Southborough, Massachusetts
Topsfield, Massachusetts
Atlantic Mine, Michigan
Bellaire, Michigan
Ishpeming, Michigan
Mason, Michigan
Pinconning, Michigan
Stephenson, Michigan
Andover, Minnesota
Little Falls, Minnesota
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Young America, Minnesota
Cape Girardeau, Missouri
Piedmont, Missouri
Tijeras, New Mexico
Cicero, New York
New York City, New York
Elizabeth City, North Carolina
Cleveland, Ohio
Defiance, Ohio
Delaware, Ohio
Orrville, Ohio
Tipp City, Ohio
East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania
Mercer, Pennsylvania
Verona, Pennsylvania
Christiana, Tennessee
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Arlington, Texas
Lubbock, Texas
Lindon, Utah
Wytheville, Virginia
Bryn Mawr-skyway, Washington
Oconomowoc, Wisconsin

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