Artemisia frigida is a tufted, low-spreading, woody-based perennial that is primarily cultivated for its aromatic (camphor-scented), silver-white foliage. Erect, clustered, herbaceous stems with deeply-cut, silky-haired, silvery-white foliage rise up from tough, woody crowns. Stems typically grow to 9-16” tall in gardens. Tiny yellow flowers in nodding clusters bloom in summer, but are not particularly showy. Foliage is finely divided and feathery in appearance, hence the also used common names of fringed sagebrush, fringed sage-wort and fringed wormwood.
This species is native to western North America, where it is most commonly found on dry open sites and waste areas in the Great Plains, foothills and mountains. Silver-white foliage provides excellent contrast to flowering plants and green foliage in rock gardens, wildflower gardens, border fronts and herb gardens. Good selection for areas with poor dry soils.
Prune plants in spring to control growth, but be careful to leave sufficient numbers of live buds on each stem to facilitate bushy growth. Never prune stems to the ground. Foliage may also be lightly sheared in summer to shape, but avoid pruning in fall.
Southern Interior First Nations used this sage in bedding to repel bedbugs, fleas and lice, and burned it to drive away mosquitos and other biting insects. It was also decocted and used medicinally.