Tanacetum vulgare. Getty Images

Tanacetum vulgare


  • Botanical name: Tanacetum vulgare
  • Common name: Tansy
  • Family: Asteraceae
Flower colour:


Foliage colour:


Tanacetums are annuals or perennials with daisy- or button-like flower-heads. Tanacetum vulgare (tansy) has ferny, aromatic foliage and clusters of mustard-yellow, button-like flowers from summer into autumn. It’s native to the UK and is often found growing wild on disturbed ground and roadside verges. It does best in well drained soil and a sunny spot.


Tansy was traditionally grown in herb gardens and has a long history of medicinal use (you’ll often find it on sale via herb or wildflower suppliers). It can also be grown as a companion plant in a veg garden, as its aromatic foliage is said to repel many insects. It’s often dried for use in the home to repel unwanted insects such as flies and ants. Conversely, the flowers attract many beneficial insects, including bees and butterflies. They can be used as cut flowers and also last well when dried.

Tansy has a tendency to spread via underground rhizomes, so can become invasive in the garden and difficult to control. Grow it in a wild garden where it’s free to spread around, or grow it in a container to contain it. Deadhead to prevent self-seeding.

All parts of the plant are toxic if consumed in large quantities and the foliage can cause skin irritation.

Where to buy Tanacetum vulgare

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How to grow Tanacetum vulgare

  • Plant size

    100cm height

    60cm spread

  • Aspect

    South facing, east facing, west facing

  • Position in border


  • Sun exposure: Full sun
  • Hardiness: Hardy
  • Soil type: Chalky / alkaline / clay / heavy / moist / well drained / light / sandy

Tanacetum vulgare and wildlife

Tanacetum vulgare is known for attracting bees, beneficial insects, butterflies​/​moths and other pollinators. It has nectar/pollen rich flowers.

Attractive to Bees

Attractive to Beneficial insects

Does not attract Birds

Attractive to Butterflies​/​Moths

Attractive to Other pollinators

Is Tanacetum vulgare poisonous?

Tanacetum vulgare can be toxic.

Toxic to:

Toxic to Cats

Toxic to Dogs

Toxic to Horses

Toxic to Livestock

Toxic to People

No reported toxicity to:

No reported toxicity to Birds

Plants that go well with Tanacetum vulgare

Verbena bonariensis

Verbena bonariensis

Argentinian vervain