Tanacetum Cinerariifolium, more commonly known as Pyrethrum, has numerous small white daisy-like flowers and is related to both feverfew and tansy. Like these other two flowers, pyrethrum has insecticidal properties. However, while feverfew and tansy are limited more to companion planting to ward unwanted insects away from other plants, pyrethrum is actually strong enough to be used commercially as a natural pesticide spray. The insecticidal properties are due to the chemical pyrethrin, which is found primarily in the flowers of the plant. The spray can be made from just a tablespoon of the dried flower heads added to two quarts of warm water and a dash of soap. It works best in cool temperatures. Burning the flowers can also help ward off mosquitoes, and they were traditionally used as a remedy for lice. Pyrethrin is particularly important because it is considered one of the safest insecticides on the market. Even though it is natural, pyrethrin is still powerful enough to be harmful to fish and individuals with an allergy to the chemical. But it is praises for not leaving any residues once it breaks down. Pyrethrum is native to the Balkans. These perennial plants can grow to over two feet in height and are optimal for zones 4-9. They enjoy full sun and a well-draining sandy loam.
Growing Information: Sow your seeds on the surface of the soil. A well-draining sandy loam is preferred. Optimal germination temperature is roughly 75 degrees Fahernheit. Seeds are probably best off being sown in the fall or early spring directly outdoors, sprouting as weather conditions become appropriate. Otherwise, you can start seeds indoors 6-8 weeks before the last frost, but you will have to harden them off before moving them outdoors. Choose a final position in full sun with a spacing of about 1.5-2 feet apart.
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