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How to Prune Wormwood

By Sharon Sweeny ; Updated September 21, 2017

Wormwood is a sweet-smelling perennial herb also referred to as mugwort, sweet Annie, or by its Latin name, Artemisia. Wormwood is easy to grow and relatively care-free once established. It is not bothered by diseases or pests and the scent of its foliage actually deters many common garden pests. Wormwood will also keep away moths if the dried leaves and flowers are put into sachets and hung in the closet.

Cut the stems down to about 1 to 2 inches from the ground in early spring the first year after planting. Remove the protective winter mulch first.

Prune in subsequent years by cutting the growth from the previous year back by half. Again, prune in early spring before the plant begins active growth.

Prune to renovate wormwood if growth becomes sparse and it produces few flowers. Do this in early spring before growth begins. Cut all of the stems down to about 1 to 2 inches above ground level.

Prune lightly any time during the growing season to contain wormwood if it becomes unruly or spreads beyond its designated space in the garden. Cut unwanted stems down to within an inch of the ground. Do not remove more than one-third of the mass of wormwood or the remaining vegetative growth may not be enough to feed the plant’s roots.


Things You Will Need

  • Pruning clippers


  • To dry wormwood for use in sachets, dry small bundles of branches by hanging upside down in a well-ventilated dark place for a few weeks until the leaves are dry and crackle when squeezed between your fingers.

About the Author


Sharon Sweeny has a college degree in general studies and worked as an administrative and legal assistant for 20 years before becoming a professional writer in 2008. She specializes in writing about home improvement, self-sufficient lifestyles and gardening.