Wormwood is a very bitter plant with a long history of use as a medicinal herb.
The fresh or dried shoots are said to repel insects and mice, they have been laid amongst clothing to repel moths and have also been used as a strewing herb.
An infusion of the plant is said to discourage slugs and insects. The plant contains substances called sesquiterpene lactones, these are strongly insecticidal.
This herb was at one time the principal flavouring in the liqueur 'Absinthe' but its use has now been banned in most countries since prolonged consumption can lead to chronic poisoning, epileptiform convulsions and degeneration of the central nervous system.
The scent of the plant attracts dogs.
The plant is poisonous if used in large quantities. Even small quantities have been known to cause nervous disorders, convulsions, insomnia etc. Just the scent of the plant has been known to cause headaches and nervousness in some people. The plant contains thujone. In small quantities this acts as a brain stimulant but is toxic in excess.
Wormwood is a good companion for carrots, helping to protect them from root fly.
Succeeds in any soil but it is best in a poor dry one with a warm aspect. Established plants are very drought tolerant. Plants are longer lived, more hardy and more aromatic when they are grown in a poor dry soil. Easily grown in a well-drained circumneutral or slightly alkaline loamy soil, preferring a sunny position.
Surface sow from late winter to early summer in a greenhouse. The seed usually germinates within 2 - 26 weeks at 15°c. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots. They can be planted out in the summer, or kept in pots in a cold frame for the winter and then planted out in the spring.