Mugwort, Sailor's Tobacco, Felon Herb

Artemisia vulgaris

Family: Asteraceae (ass-ter-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Artemisia (ar-te-MIZ-ee-uh) (Info)
Species: vulgaris (vul-GAIR-iss) (Info)




Water Requirements:

Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

Sun Exposure:

Sun to Partial Shade


Grown for foliage


Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us


24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

36-48 in. (90-120 cm)


24-36 in. (60-90 cm)


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)

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


Parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Handling plant may cause skin irritation or allergic reaction

Bloom Color:


Bloom Characteristics:

This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds

Flowers are fragrant

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Mid Summer

Late Summer/Early Fall

Other details:

May be a noxious weed or invasive

Soil pH requirements:

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

7.9 to 8.5 (alkaline)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

By dividing the rootball

From herbaceous stem cuttings

From semi-hardwood cuttings

From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall

From seed; sow indoors before last frost

From seed; direct sow after last frost

Self-sows freely; deadhead if you do not want volunteer seedlings next season

Seed Collecting:

Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds

Seed does not store well; sow as soon as possible


This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:

Tuskegee, Alabama

Phoenix, Arizona

Berkeley, California

Denver, Colorado

Westbrook, Connecticut

Gainesville, Florida

Orange Springs, Florida

Satsuma, Florida

Mc Dowell, Kentucky

Slaughter, Louisiana

Hampden, Massachusetts

Mashpee, Massachusetts

Plainfield, New Jersey

Elizabeth City, North Carolina

Fayetteville, North Carolina

Fayetteville, Pennsylvania

Taylor, Texas

Salt Lake City, Utah

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Sep 6, 2019, Catskills from HIGHMOUNT, NY wrote:

This is a terrible, invasive weed in NY. Beware!

"Mugwort is a prohibited species in New York State" for more information on Prohibited and Regulated (terrestrial plant) Species, visit [[email protected]] "

It took over one side of our south facing flower garden crowding out well-established phlox, campanula superba, asters etc. We have pulled out and continue to pull out tall stalks, with as much root as possible and small shoots as they appear. It's just control, not elimination. Only Bee Balm (monarda) out competes mugwort in our yard.


On May 29, 2019, Hikaro_Takayama from Fayetteville, PA (Zone 6b) wrote:

Mugwort, or as I like to call it, THUGwort, thoroughly earns its specific epithet of "vulgaris" because it's quite a vulgar weed! When I first moved into my house, it had completely overrun the entire front flower bed, and even 6 years later, aside from where I've managed to establish plants that can actually out-compete it (my two Pyracantha bushes, "Sunset Glow" bamboo, Jerusalem artichoke patch & Hardy Banana clump), it still does its best to try and take over & choke out everything else!

I've been digging and pulling this stuff for the past 6 years, but it just keeps coming back every year just as strong as it ever was. This is one of, if not THE worst weeds I've had to contend with in the front bed: Even the beggar's ticks & motherworts eventually gave up after 6 ye... read more


On Apr 18, 2016, DarthContinent from Gainesville, FL (Zone 9a) wrote:

Tenacious, vigorous, largely maintenance-free.

I started mugwort from some small well-established plants which I transplanted into a rectangular self-watering planter. After a couple of seasons it decided to creep out onto the surrounding ground and establish itself as a carpet in some sandy, alkaline soil in competition with catnip and other greenery native to my area.

Growing close to the ground is probably what enabled it to survive largely unscathed from even hard (~25 degrees F) frosts overnight.


On Feb 8, 2014, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

This is the common perennial weed, mugwort. It spreads quickly and aggressively both underground and by seed. This is a bad neighbor to other plants in beds and borders. The wide-ranging underground runners are impossible to dig out once they invade the crowns of other perennials.

The flowers are ornamentally insignificant, but they still produce seeds in large numbers.

This plant is easily controlled with 1% generic glyphosate herbicide.

If you like the foliage, there are better plants without the maintenance headaches this one involves. Try some other artemisia species.


On Oct 21, 2008, jgrandma from Denver, CO wrote:

This plant entered my yard in a tree root ball that was planted by the home builder. It took a while to find out what it is. It is a weed that is very hard to get rid of. I pull and pull, but so far it is still here. From my research I learned that it can be a pest in nurseries and often gets passed on from them.


On Jul 30, 2008, bonitin from Gent,
Belgium (Zone 8a) wrote:

I think this plant is very beautiful for people with natural and vast gardens. I saw some very tall specimens growing in a nature reserve area close to where I live. I found them georgeous with the purplish stems and the silvery foliage that set off all the surrounding plants so beautifully. I definitely would grow it if I had the space for it.


On Apr 27, 2008, sladeofsky from Louisville, KY (Zone 6b) wrote:

Nasty! Nasty weed! This is one of the toughest weeds I've fought. At first I thought it was some sort of Mum. But No! Very difficult to get rid of, or even put a dent into. The leaves smell nice, but that charm wears off after getting to smell it every day as you dig and pull. If you really want to grow this, stick with a container and pluck the flowerheads. I would consider paving your garden before planting this.


On Oct 27, 2007, spidra from Berkeley, CA (Zone 9b) wrote:

Definitely tall and vigorous. Thus you need to really consider where you plant it. It's a useful herb. Probably best grown in a container unless you own acres of land.


On Feb 28, 2006, branches from Seaford, NY (Zone 7a) wrote:

This perennial 'weed' is destroying some native grasslands (especially in Long Island,NY). It is difficult to remove by hand (it has underground stems that grow back if left behind), it produces an abundance of seeds, and in my opinion it's flowers are not attractive.


On May 4, 2002, Lilith from Durham,
United Kingdom (Zone 8a) wrote:

A tall plant with deeply divided dark-green leaves, silvery beneath, and branched clusters of insignificant reddish-brown flower-heads. Common along roadsides, it often has a dusty, neglected look. In ancient times it was believed to have magical properties. Mugwort has many uses, as a herbalist medicine, to repel insects, to flavour ale, or as a herb for stuffing ducks and geese.