Grow Feverfew for Cut Flowers and Bouquet Filler

Cheery daisies on an easy-to-grow perennial that’s good in your landscape and attracts beneficial insects

'Aureum' feverfew in bloom
Golden Feverfew plant in full flower

Feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium, or Chrysanthemum parthenium) aka Matricaria

Home » Grow feverfew for cut flowers & bouquet filler

In late spring to early summer feverfew explodes into a profusion of tiny white daisies in wide clusters atop long, sturdy stems up to 2 ft. tall. They make very pretty bouquets on their own, and are perfect as filler flowers to tie a bouquet together. And they last up to two weeks in a vase!

The foliage is strongly aromatic. Though some people don’t like it, I love it. The leaves usually get removed when harvested so they don’t emit the fragrance in a bouquet.

Feverfew is a nice easy-to-grow perennial landscape plant. It’s flowers attract beneficial insects and pollinators to your garden.

It’s drought tolerant and deer resistant.

Feverfew plants and flowers

The flowers of the feverfew species has little white daisies. But there are varieties with double flowers, and some with a more pom pom look.

Little white daisies and foliage of a feverfew plant
The flowers and foliage of feverfew

The foliage is lacy and aromatic when rubbed. The species (T. parthenium) has medium green foliage, but there is a variety , T. parthenium ‘Aureum’, with lime-green foliage that really stands out in the garden–good for darker areas if you’re putting it in a landscape bed. The flowers are the same, though the stems tend to be shorter.

The plants steadily get larger but after a few years it’s good to restart with new ones. Which might be easy because they reseed if you let the flowers go to seed. Many people claim that they become invasive weeds because they reseed. I feel this is not true, see Special Info below.

The flowers are also attractive to many native bees, the true workhorse pollinators that are in decline.

Many beneficial insects are very attracted to feverfew flowers. Lacewinga, ladybugs, minute pirate buds, tachinid flies, assassin bugs, and more insects and spiders, all eat the pest bugs in your garden. The nectar and pollen support the adults and it’s usually the larvae that need to eat pest bugs to grow and mature.

So it’s a great plant to have in your garden.

Small bouquet of flowers with clusters of white daisies of feverfew
Small bouquet with perennial scabiosa, alstroemerias, lavender, statice, and feverfew.

How to grow feverfew

Zones: 5-10; full sun to part shade.

They can handle some drought, otherwise weekly or bi-weekly watering is good. Plant them in average to good garden soil, 1-1½ ft. apart.

The seeds are easy to start, and you can choose from the nice variety of types of feverfew flowers. Starting them in spring may produce flowers before the end of summer, but the following year you’ll get full production at the normal times, spring through early summer and a little again after mid-summer.

You can sometimes buy plants in nurseries in 4-inch pots in spring and early summer. Or you may need to order them from specialty growers from online nurseries (some suppliers are listed in Sources).

How to harvest the flowers

Cut the stems at their base, and treat as usual. If you cut them all, you’re more likely get a second, lesser round of shorter stems after the peak of summer.

Favorite varieties

I love several feverfew varieties, but my favorite is the plain species. It has the most natural looking daisies.

I also like the golden feverfew, T. p. ‘Aureum’, with the chartreuse foliage because it’s so pretty in the garden. And I like ‘Tetra White’ which is a double petaled flower.  The Tetra white is delicate and pretty, and still has a bit of yellow center showing.

There are other varieties that are like little pom poms. Find them in the Sources section below.

Sources for feverfew plants and seeds

For Plants

Annie’s Annuals & Perennials: Golden Feverfew and Vegmo Snowball

For Seeds

Pinetree Garden Seeds: White Pompon Feverfew, Feverfew, the species

Johnny’s seeds:  Magic Single, Magic Lime Green, Tetra White, Snow Ball, and Sunny Ball

Many feverfew flowers can be dried. But Sunny Ball looks like the best on, drying as little yellow buttons with a few petals attached. I haven’t grown that one yet, but I will this year!

Special Info on feverfew

No, they are NOT weeds!

Feverfew has gotten a reputation for being “aggressive” or “weedy” and “spreading its seeds everywhere”. I strongly feel this is undeserved! I’ve grown feverfew in so many different conditions and I have never seen it come close to being a problem.

First of all, if you do the basic maintenance on the plant that you should do, you’d be cutting off the flower stems before they set seed. Harvest your flowers and they won’t be reseeding! An extra benefit to harvesting before they go to seed is that you greatly increase the likelihood of getting more flowers later in the season.

Secondly, if you’ve had to let them go to seed, and I have, there usually aren’t that many volunteers and… they’re not difficult to pull out! At all! And they’re easy to identify.

I really want to dispel this “myth”. It seems to linger around this plant and may prevent people from growing it. There are so many other very weedy plants out there, please don’t be afraid of this one!

Feverfew is often used as an herb in treating migraines. Both the leaves and young flowers are used for this. They can be used fresh or dried. This is beyond my scope here, but there’s lots of information out there, and this is the plant you’d be looking for.

Flowers to go with feverfew

Bouquet of variety of Alstroemerias

Alstroemerias

Tall stems of Alstroemerias are gorgeous with tall feverfew stems as a sign of early summer.

Dark blue-purple lavender flower stems

‘Grosso’ Lavender

Grow this lavender for fresh arrangements, and it’s a spectacular one for drying. Nice with feverfew

Deep purple flowers along a stem

Delphinium

Richly colored and tall early summer Delphinium flowers are a perfect foil for clusters of feverfew flowers.

Blue pin-cushion type flower

Scabiosa

Tall stems of Alstroemerias are gorgeous with tall feverfew stems as a sign of early summer.

Simple orange calendula flower, a single

Calendula

Annual calendula blooms early to mix with feverfew with nice hot colors.

Flat topped yellow flower head

Yarrow

All yarrows would look great with feverfew, but I think the gold fernleaf (A. filipendulina) ones are best!

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Mixed rounded bouquet with clusters of small daisies adding fullness and spikes of lavender stems add vertical element.
Mixed bouquet with few flowers uses feverfew to add fullness and lavender for a vertical element. Other flowers are yarrow, perennial scabiosa, alstroemeria, and gomphrena.

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