Due to USDA regulations, this item can not be shipped to California.
When to Sow: Spring
Ease of Germination: Easy
'Weedkiller' plant. Besides its nematodicidal and insecticidal properties, it destroys noxious weeds, including ground elder, bindweed, couch grass and ground ivy. Also effective mosquito control. In South America, dried leaves are used to flavour soups, meats and vegetables. Recent research suggests it has powerful anti-viral properties. Tall (up to 2 metres) erect habit; rarely flowers in temperate zones.
Annual growing to 1.2m by 0.6m.
It is hardy to zone 9 and is frost tender. It is in leaf from April to November, in flower in October, and the seeds ripen in November. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.
The plant prefers light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils, requires well-drained soil and can grow in heavy clay soil. The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It requires dry or moist soil.
The dried leaves are used as an aromatic seasoning for soups and vegetables. They give an apple-like flavour. An essential oil obtained from the distilled plant, harvested when in flower, is used as a flavouring in ice cream, baked goods, soft drinks etc.
The whole plant is anthelmintic, antispasmodic, aromatic, diaphoretic, diuretic, purgative and stomachic It is used internally in the treatment of gastritis, indigestion and internal wormsExternally, it is used to treat haemorrhoids and skin infections . The plant is harvested when in flower and dried for later use.
This plant is widely used in companion planting schemes. Secretions from the roots of growing plants have an insecticidal effect on the soil, effective against nematodes and to some extent against keeled slugs. These secretions are produced about 3 - 4 months after sowing . These root secretions also have a herbicidal effect, inhibiting the growth of certain plants growing nearby. It has been found effective against perennial weeds such as Ranunculus ficaria (Celandine), Aegopodium podagraria Ground elder), Glechoma hederacea (Ground ivy), Agropyron repens (Couch grass) and Convolvulus arvensis (Field bindweed), An essential oil distilled from the leaves and flowering stems, harvested when the plant is forming seeds, is used as an insect repellent. It is also used in perfumeryDried plants can be hung indoors as an insect repellent.
Requires a well-drained moderately fertile soil in a sunny position. Grows well in heavy clay soils and in sandy soils. Plants are not very resistant to frosts and need to be grown as half hardy annuals. They also need a long growing season, usually flowering too late in the autumn to set seed in Britain. Removing dead flowers before the seed is formed will extend the flowering season. A very good companion plant, see 'Other Uses' below for more details. Plants are prone to slugs, snails and botrytis.
Seed - sow March in a greenhouse. Only just cover the seed. Germination usually takes place within 2 weeks. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out after the last expected frosts.