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Tansy – Tanacetum vulgare
FULL SUN Native to Europe, Tansy has been cultivated for thousands of years because it was believed that it could grant immortality. Tansy was brought to the US in the 1700s. Today, the 2-3 ft. plant is grown largely as an ornamental because of its lovely, dark green, feathery leaves. Plant as soon as the ground can be worked in the spring and the danger of frost has passed. Rows should be 24 in. apart. When seedlings are 2 in. high, thin, leaving 18 in. between plants.
|Type||Spacing||Planting Depth||Days to Germination||Maturity|
|Perennial||18 in.||1/2 in.||7-10||90|
In recent times, Tansy has acquired a bad reputation as an aggressively invasive weed. If ignored, over a period of years, it can get out of control, but when managed in an herb or kitchen garden or as part of a planned landscape, Tansy is a beautiful plant.
The name, Tansy, comes from the Greek word, athanasia, which means “immortality”. Rather than immortality, the plant played an important role in man’s mortality, because the leaves were often placed in coffins, possibly as an insect repellant, but more likely, because of their strong fragrance which masked the stench of the decomposing corpse.
One of the more humorous Tansy applications was as a potion to whiten the skin. Tansy, steeped in buttermilk for 9 days, was made into a lotion and applied to the face. In the book, Rodale’s Illustrated Encyclopedia of Herbs, the writers comment, “Perhaps it was the smell of nine-day-old buttermilk that made people turn pale.”
For many centuries, Tansy was a ubiquitous European and British herb known to all classes of society. Like Pennyroyal, the plant was crushed and rubbed on dining tables to repel insects. The leaves were ‘strewn’ on the floors of homes and public establishments to sweeten the air, hence, the classification of Tansy as one of the important “strewing herbs”.
As a companion plant, Tansy is one of the best. It encourages the growth of raspberries, blackberries and roses and is known to repel ants, Colorado potato beetles, flea beetles, imported
cabbageworms, Japanese beetles and squash bugs.
Recommended Companion Plants