How to Grow Feverfew Seeds
Grow Guide #2388
Binomial name: Tanacetum parthenium
Life Cycle: Perennial
This 'How to Grow' guide details everything a home gardener needs to know to plant, grow and care for Feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium).
When to Sow Feverfew Seeds
Feverfew is a warm season flower. Use the table below to identify the best time of year to sow feverfew seeds in your climate.
Feverfew plants are perennial, meaning they live for several years. Choose a permanent position where plants can grow undisturbed by regular digging or other disturbance.
Feverfew plants are best grown in full sun or part shade. Choose a location that will receive at least 3 hours of full sun each day.
Feverfew plants need a well drained soil enriched with plenty of organic matter. Prepare soil by weeding it thoroughly, digging it over to loosen it and adding aged animal manure or compost. Keep the area free of weeds until planting. Learn more about preparing soil for planting here.
Feverfew plants can be grown in containers. If possible choose a variety that’s recommended for container growing. Use a good quality potting mix and make sure your container is large enough for mature plants; a minimum of 10 litres is recommended for feverfew. During the growing season, keep in mind that container grown plants may need additional fertiliser to encourage healthy growth.
How to Sow Feverfew Seeds
Feverfew seeds do not require any treatment (eg soaking, stratification) before sowing.
Feverfew seeds grow best when they are raised in trays or other containers and transplanted to the garden once established.
- Fill trays, punnets or jiffy pots with a good quality seed-raising mix, or use soil starter pellets.
- Sow seeds 1mm deep.
- Keep soil moist but never wet or dry.
- Seeds should germinate in around 10-14 days at a soil temperature of 20-22°C.
- Transplant seedlings to the garden once they have their first true leaves and are large enough to handle (usually 5-10cm tall).
- Plant out, spacing plants 20-40cm apart.
Optional: In cool climates feverfew seeds can be sown indoors 6 weeks before the last expected frost. Grow them in a warm position with plenty of natural light.
How to Grow Feverfew
Feverfew plants may need watering during the growing season. Water when the soil is dry about 5cm below the surface (test this by scratching away a little soil with your finger). Water deeply in the early morning or late afternoon. Avoid watering the leaves of plants to avoid fungal diseases. Learn more about watering here.
If soil was well prepared no extra fertiliser should be necessary. In poor soil or to give your plants an extra boost, application of a high-potassium fertiliser or one formulated for flowering plants can be beneficial:
- Apply slow release fertiliser at the recommended rate when transplanting or when seedlings are 5-10cm tall.
- Apply liquid fertiliser at the recommended rate and frequency while plants are fruiting or flowering.
To promoted bushy growth and increase the number of flowers, tip prune young plants to encourage branching. Using your fingertips, pinch off the outermost set of leaves on each branch.
Feverfew plants should flower in approximately 100-110 days.
Deadhead feverfew flowers regularly during the growing season. Using sharp secateurs or snips cut fading or dead flowers off just above a set of leaves. Removing old flowers regularly will encourage plants to produce more flowers. Learn more about deadheading flowering plants here.
If growing feverfew for cut flowers, use sharp snips or secateurs to cut the longest stems possible, removing the lower leaves and placing the stems immediately in a clean bucket of water. Learn more about cutting and conditioning homegrown flowers here.
When plants have finished flowering prune them back to neaten them and encourage strong new growth. Using sharp secateurs or snips, cut individual stems just above a set of lower leaves.
Common Problems when Growing Feverfew
Like all plants, feverfew is susceptible to some pests, diseases and other problems. Below is a list of the most common problems gardeners encounter when growing feverfew plants:
- Aphids are small (2-4mm long) sap-sucking insects that congregate on the new shoots or the undersides of leaves. They can cause leaves to wilt or become discoloured, and also excrete honeydew which can attract ants and other insect pests. To manage aphids, remove them by spraying with a garden hose, apply a soap or alcohol spray, or encourage predatory insects to your garden. Read more about aphids here.
- Bacterial leaf spot is a disease that causes irregularly shaped brown spots on all above-ground parts of a plant. The spots at first appear to be wet but become dry and scab-like over time. Leaves and flowers can fall prematurely. Water plants at soil level (not on the leaves), dispose of fallen leaves and fruit and practice crop rotation.
- Powdery mildew is caused by fungal spores reproducing on the leaves of plants. First showing as white spots on leaves, affected areas can spread quickly to cover the entire leaf surface. While rarely fatal, powdery mildew can reduce yields. Water plants at soil level (not on leaves) to prevent spreading spores, allow good air flow between plants, remove affected leaves and if necessary spray with an appropriate fungicide or homemade spray. Read more here about powdery mildew here.
- Slugs and snails are molluscs that feed on tender leaves and shoots, mostly at night, leaving slimy trails behind them. Control them by removing their hiding places, keeping free range poultry, collecting them by torchlight or by placing traps. Read more about slugs and snails here.