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A clump of yellow tansy growing in a garden
Incredibly hardy and easy to grow, tansy produces scented foliage to repel pests and bright yellow button flowers to attract pollinators. Plant in cottage gardens or near your vegie patch to create a haven for good bugs.

What you need to know about tansy

Name: tansy, Tanacetum vulgare, Chrysanthemum vulgare.

Height: 1m.

Foliage: fern-like, heavily scented perennial foliage.

Climate: prefers arid/semi-arid, warm temperate and cold temperate climates.

Soil: will grow in almost any soil. Avoid waterlogged or damp areas.

Position: full sun.

Flowering: yellow button-like flowers in flat-topped clusters extend high above the foliage in summer.

Feeding: apply compost annually and mulch in early spring.

Watering: drought-tolerant once established. Water only during extended periods of heat and drought.

Appearance and characteristics of tansy

Tansy is a fast-growing hardy perennial that thrives on neglect and reduces your need for pest repellent chemicals in the garden. Tall and narrow with fern-like foliage topped with clusters of yellow button flowers in summer, tansy dies back down to the ground in autumn, ready to reshoot again in spring.

A close-up of yellow tansy flowers

Uses for tansy

Tansy is a beneficial companion plant for most crops, from cabbage, kale, broccoli and cauliflower, to cucumbers, squash and even potatoes. Its camphor-scented foliage helps to repel pests, while its bright yellow button flowers attract pollinators and beneficial insects to the garden. 

How to plant and grow tansy

Growing tansy from seeds

Tansy is easy to grow from seed. 

  1. Plant or sow seeds after all likelihood of frost has passed in a soil enriched with compost and well-aged manure. 
  2. Simply scatter seeds over your prepared soil and rake lightly. 
  3. Mist with water every day until seed starts to germinate. 

Growing tansy from seedlings

  1. Sow in punnets filled with seed raising mix and transplant out when your garden is frost-free.  
  2. Dig a hole twice as wide as the pot and gently remove the tansy from the pot. 
  3. Plant at the same height as it was in the pot.  
  4. Backfill and firm the soil down. Water to remove any remaining air pockets and mulch to reduce weed growth.

Caring for tansy

Tansy is a low-maintenance perennial, related to thistles, rewarding you with flowers and foliage with very little attention. Deadhead old flowers regularly to stop tansy self-seeding or spreading throughout the garden.

How often should you water and feed your tansy?

Water while plants are young and during extended periods of drought or heat. Improve soil at planting, apply compost annually and mulch each spring.

How and when to prune tansy

  • Cut back in late autumn when the top growth has dried.
  • Deadhead (cut off) flowers when they are past their best to prevent the unwanted spread of seed. 
  • These cuttings can be used to collect seed for future sowings.

Pests and diseases affecting tansy

None! Tansy actually helps to repel pests from the garden, while attracting pollinators and other beneficial insects.

How to propagate tansy

Propagate by division or root cuttings in early spring, or by seed saved at the end of summer.

Collecting tansy seed

  • Remove flowerheads as they start to brown off and place them in a paper bag or on a tray to dry.
  • Once dry, shake to remove the seeds and store in a clearly labelled envelope with the plant name and date harvested.

Dividing tansy plants

  • Dig up the plant, roots and all, and separate a section using your hands to pull apart the mature clump. Each piece will form a new plant.
  • Transplant into prepared soil straight away.
  • Water well to help your tansy settle back in to the garden. 

If you like this then try

Nasturtium: a flowering edible climber that attracts beneficial insects to the garden.

Salvia: a fast-growing plant with gorgeous colour and an excellent architectural form. 

Dahlia: bee hotspots and stunning cut flowers throughout summer. 

Start growing today

Check out our huge range of plants now and get your garden growing!

 

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Health & Safety

Asbestos, lead-based paints and copper chromium arsenic (CCA) treated timber are health hazards you need to look out for when renovating older homes. These substances can easily be disturbed when renovating and exposure to them can cause a range of life-threatening diseases and conditions including cancer. For information on the dangers of asbestos, lead-based paint and CCA treated timber and tips for dealing with these materials contact your local council's Environmental Health Officer or visit our Health & Safety page.

When following our advice in our D.I.Y. videos, make sure you use all equipment, including PPE, safely by following the manufacturer’s instructions. Check that the equipment is suitable for the task and that PPE fits properly. If you are unsure, hire an expert to do the job or talk to a Bunnings Team Member.