Feverfew is a comparatively easy-care wild plant that, if properly cared for, becomes even more robust against pests and diseases.© Berty - Fotolia.com
The once highly praised wild herb and medicinal herb does not require a lot of maintenance. Nevertheless, there are good reasons for professional care. Because then the flowering time of the mother herb (Tanacetum parthenium) can even be extended under certain circumstances. If feverfew is well cared for, it is also more robust against pests and less susceptible to diseases.
How to water the feverfew properly
Since this herb appreciates soils with a lot of lime, it is absolutely no problem if you use calcareous water for watering the plant. For the mother herb to thrive, it is important that you keep the soil around the plant slightly damp as much as possible. In addition, you should only water the root area of the plant.
The herb can only withstand drought and heat for a short period of time. You should therefore not let the plant dry out too much. This is particularly important when it comes to feverfew seedlings that are not yet as robust as older plants of this type.
This way the feverfew is fertilized properly
In the period from May to September, fertilization of the mother herb is usually not necessary. However, this is only the case if you have planted the plant in a location with nutrient-rich soil. In the following year after planting the mother herb, however, fertilizing the perennial makes perfect sense. Compost is an excellent natural and relatively inexpensive fertilizer.
However, if the feverfew is a potted plant, a different procedure is required. In this case, you should fall back on a regular flower fertilizer, as it is also available everywhere in the specialist trade for little money.
When and how must the feverfew be cut back?
There are a number of reasons why pruning the feverfew can make sense. Some of these reasons are as follows:
- so that the feverfew flowers a second time after the pruning
- to stimulate a bushy habit
- so that the woodiness of the perennial does not progress so quickly
- to use feverfew as a cut flower
- for harvesting the herb (for example as a medicinal plant)
- to prevent self-sowing of feverfew
Feverfew is one of the plants that keep in the vase for a particularly long time. If you want to ensure that the herb grows as bushy as possible, it is best to cut the plant back in spring and as close as possible to the base of the perennial. This is also recommended because the feverfew tends to show a tendency to lignify at the base. However, you can delay the wooding of the plant a little each time you prune it again.
In order to encourage feverfew to form new flowers, it makes sense if the pruning is done between July and August. Then the plant blooms for the first time and the old flowers can now be removed. In order to counteract possible self-sowing of the mother herb in your own garden, it can be useful if you remove the flowers in good time before the seeds of the mother herb have ripened completely. Otherwise the self-seeding of this plant is difficult to stop.
Care of the mother herb as protection against pests
Even if pests hardly stand a chance with the well-cared for feverfew, you may still need to take additional protective measures. This is especially true when snails are at risk. To do this, you should estimate how likely snails are to occur in your garden. After all, snails are particularly targeting the young plants of feverfew, as this is a real delicacy for the pests. A snail fence is therefore a very good choice. You can remove this snail protection later on the somewhat older plants. Because then the feverfew developed its own flavor, which the snails do not like. You will no longer start a new attack on feverfew.
Here are some more tips on how to fight snails in the garden.
How is the feverfew properly wintered?
Feverfew is a perennial. However, the herb is hardy only at temperatures down to -12 degrees Celsius. It should therefore not get any colder if the feverfew should bloom again in the coming spring. If the winter is not successful, you can re-sow the feverfew. The perfect time for this is spring.
If you have grown feverfew outdoors in a rather rough, cool region, you should take the appropriate measures to hibernate the crop. This means that you have to protect the root area of the perennial in particular. A layer of Riesig copes well with this task and can provide the necessary frost protection. If you have planted the feverfew in a bucket, it is best to place the bucket plant in a suitable winter accommodation in the house and hibernate there until the next spring.