Growing And Selling Sweet Wormwood
Answered by: Inge Poot
Question from: Marian Hoy
Posted on: January 20, 2009

I’m interested in growing Artemisia annua in Central Texas where we have long hot (often above 100 degrees Fahrenheit, or 38 degrees Celsius) for weeks at a time)and sometimes we have a dry summer as well. I’m interested in knowing how difficult it is to grow this herb.

The seeds need light to germinate (so surface sow and tamp down but if you cover the seed cover them with only a very thin layer of soil) and germinate best at 22degrees Celsius (72F). In our seed trials they needed 28 to 45 days to germinate.

I’m interested in cultivating and selling my small crop to combat malaria. How big will the plants be, and how much room would each need as an adult plant?

The plants vary greatly in size. Some seed lots may get huge, to almost 8 feet (2.4m), while others are half that size. They tend to be slender and commercial growers plant them quite densely, but leave at least 3 feet(1m) between rows.

Is this a plant I need to replant each season?

It is an annual and needs to be replanted each year -in early spring.

What insects are helpful to this plant. Currently I only plant organically, and would want to continue my organic garden with this plant.

The plant is wind pollinated like all Artemesias and insects find it bad tasting.

Does it have a companion plant?

I do not know, but do know that Artemesias are used to repel insects from other plants. But this species may get to tall to be anything but a mixed blessing to other plants planted too close to it.

What plants are detrimental to this plant?

I have not heard of any.

Would you tell me how hard it is to transport from the US and will it stand up to travel far distances.

Are you asking if the plant is on any list of prohibited plants? Not for Canada, but other countries, such as those in which malaria is endemic, you would have to get in touch with the countries board of trade. The dried product is easy to ship.

Also, could you instruct me as far as who would purchase my small crop for use against malaria.

Maybe a health food shop in the South of the USA, where malaria does occur would be willing to buy a small crop. If you are really inquiring if Richters would buy your crop, do make us an offer when your crop is close to mature, but remember we can only pay half of what we sell it for, to be able to make any money on it.

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