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How to Grow Tansy Plants

Perennial, Tanacetum vulgare

Tansy is a lesser known, yet attractive flower. Native to Europe, these attractive, long lasting flowers are easy to grow. They look great both in the flower garden and in dried flower arrangements. Tansy is heat and drought tolerant, and requires little attention. Originating in Europe where it grows wild, Tansy is a member of the Thistle family.

Many gardeners use Tansy as a companion plant. Tansies are a natural, organic insect repellent. The leaves give off a stinky, strongly pungent odor that the bugs just don't like. Tansy grows 36 - 48 inches. The plant produces clusters of flat, button shaped, yellow leaves in mid-summer. It blooms in July-August above thorny leaves.

Tansy has a long history of medicinal, culinary, and other uses. The leaves were once used in flavoring. They were also used to produce medicinal "Oil of Tansy".

Important note: Tansy is poisonous in large quantities.

Tansy is great in the flower bed as borders, edging, or in clumps. They are also good for fresh bouquets and as dried flowers. Dried leaves and flowers is used as a potpourri. The leaves also have use as an insect repellent.

Plant Propagation:

Tansy are grown from seeds in the spring. Sow Tansy seeds directly into your flower garden after all danger of frost.

We recommend an earlier, indoor start six to eight weeks before the last frost in your area. 

Established  Tansy plants can be propagated by division in the fall.

How to Grow Tansy Plants:

Tansy are easy to grow, requiring little, or no attention. They prefer full sun to partial shade. They grow well in average to poor soils. Mix in plenty of compost prior to planting in poor soils.

Sow seeds early in the season, and cover lightly with 1/4" of fine garden or potting soil. Water thoroughly once.

Thin or space plants 6" apart.

Once your Tansy  plants are established, they should grow well with few problems and basically no maintenance.

Keep the soil moist to slightly dry. Water them during dry periods, once a week. Add fertilizer once a month.

Insect and Disease:

Insect and disease problems are uncommon. Tansy has natural repellents to insects and is sometimes used in organic sprays.

Apply fungicides only as needed.

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