Growing Guide
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Herbaceous Perennial Flower, Herb

Also known as Golden Buttons, Garden Tansy, Fernleaf Tansy, Curly Tansy
Tanacetum vulgare
Asteraceae Family
Synonym: Chrysanthemum tanacetum, Chrysanthemum vulgare, Tanacetum aubiderti

Button-shaped yellow flowerheads dot the tops of 3-foot-tall plants that are at home in borders, cottage gardens, meadows or naturalistic plantings. Foliage is ferny, and plants spread by underground rhizomes, though not too aggressively.

Site Characteristics
  • full sun

Soil conditions:

  • tolerates droughty soil
  • requires well-drained soil
Tolerates mild drought and pH range of 4.8 to 7.5.

Hardiness zones:

  • 4 to 8
May be marginally hardy in Zone 3.
Plant Traits

Lifecycle: perennial

Ease-of-care: easy

So easy to grow that it could be called weedy. Best used in a cottage garden or meadow planting.

Height: 2 to 4 feet

Spread: 1 to 1.5 feet

Spreads indefinitely by rhizomes, but not too aggressively.

Bloom time:

  • mid-summer
  • late summer

Flower color: yellow

Foliage color: dark green

Foliage texture: fine

6-inch-long leaves are deeply dissected, hairy.


  • cushion, mound or clump
  • upright

Broad clumps with erect stems.

Shape in flower: same as above

Special Considerations
Special characteristics:
  • aggressive - Only moderately aggressive, spreading by rhizomes and self-seeding.
  • non-invasive
  • not native to North America - Native to Europe and Asia but widely naturalized in North America.
  • fragrant - Flowers are scented and the leaves have a pungent camphor scent.
Special uses:
  • dried flowers - Both leaves and flowers used in arrangements.
Growing Information
How to plant:

Propagate by seed, division or separation - Readily self-sows. Sow seeds indoors in spring, barely covering seed and not allowing soil to dry out. Pot seedlings and hold overwinter until they are well-established before planting out.

Divide in spring. Plant out larger divisions. Grow smaller divisions in pots before planting out the following spring.

Maintenance and care:
Stems may require staking if they get too leggy.

More growing information: How to Grow Perennials

Leaf spot
'Crispum' (Fernleaf tansy, Curly tansy) is better-suited for the garden than the species. It is more decorative, slightly shorter (growing 2.5 feet tall), does not spread as quickly, and has lacier leaves.