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Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs


Other Common Names Include:

French Tarragon, estragon, dragon sagewort, dragon’s wart.

Latin Name: Artemisia dracunculus

Plant Family: Asteraceae

Close Relatives: Lettuce, globe artichoke, calendula, Jerusalem artichoke, chamomile, root chicory,witloof chicory/Belgian endive,echinacea, sunflower.

Uses and Markets: Culinary (e.g. sauces, flavouring for meats); Medicinal (e.g. stimulating appetite, treatment of diabetes, pain killer); Personal Care Products (e.g. perfume, cosmetics, soap)

French tarragon Russian tarragon
Production Life Cycle in Ontario


Hardiness Zone


Special Notes


Propagation method

Most commonly by transplants from cuttings; less commonly by root division. French tarragon cannot be grown from seed.

Greenhouse Seeding/Propagation Dates

Fall or winter (if mother plants are moved into a greenhouse).

Field Seeding Date:


Field Transplanting Dates


In-row spacing

30 cm.

Between row spacing

60-90 cm

Optimal Soil temperature at planting



No current Ontario fertility recommendations exist. Research and recommendations from outside Ontario do not necessarily apply to Ontario growing conditions. No research or recommendations from other jurisdictions were found for nitrogen fertilization of this crop. Click here for phosphorus and potassium application guidelines and for more information on specialty crop fertility.

Soil type

Well-drained soils; sandy soil. Will not survive in saturated soils.

Soil pH


Special requirements for growth habit

Winter protection in colder zones.

Optimal Temperature Range

10 – 20°C

Temperature sensitivity

Freeze tolerant (except when young).

Irrigation requirements

Irrigation usually not required.

Days to harvest


Specialized equipment:


Harvest Scheduling

Multiple harvests from the same planting (1st harvest in early summer, 2nd in early autumn of each year).

Hand harvest or machine harvest

Hand harvest.

Quality parameters/grades

No established grades.

Additional Harvest Notes

Harvest during cooler parts of the day to reduce moisture loss and cooling costs. Remove field heat as soon as possible after harvest.

Post harvest
Special handling/curing

Dried tarragon loses much of its aroma and taste. Dry tarragon under low temperatures in a controlled environment.

Storage Conditions

Relative humidity (RH): 95% (fresh herb)

Temperature: 0°C

Air Exchange: N/A

Duration: 2 to 3 weeks (fresh herb)

Specific pests observed on this crop in Ontario (observations based on limited experience with this crop)

Insects and Invertebrates: None.

Diseases: Crown and root rots (e.g. Rhizoctonia, Sclerotinia).

Other Potential Pests: The following pests have not been observed on this crop in Ontario. However, they are either significant concerns for closely related plants in Ontario, or are reported on this crop in other production areas. This is not a comprehensive list of all potential pests. Not all of these pests will necessarily survive Ontario’s climate, but could potentially survive in a protected environment (e.g. greenhouse, storage facility).

Insects and Invertebrates: Aphids, mealy bugs, scale, thrips.

Diseases: Nematodes, powdery mildew, foliar blights (e.g. Colletotrichum, Phoma, Septoria, Phomopsis), downy mildew, rust.

*Indicates pests commonly mentioned as causing significant damage or economic loss to this crop in other regions. 


To date the following pests have been the most significant in Ontario: crown and root rots.  Disease pressures can be reduced through proper site selection and by promoting good air movement through the canopy. This crop is in Crop Group 19: Herbs and Spices Group and subgroup 19A: Herb Subgroup. This crop group is being revised and may change in the near future. For more information on Crop Groups, refer to the Pest section.  Always refer to product labels, and follow all directions specified on the label, before applying any pest control product.  For more information, consult an OMAFRA specialist. For pest control products registered on this crop refer to OMAFRA Publication 838.

Leaf symptoms of an unknown root rot of French tarragon
Additional Notes

French tarragon is considered a selection of Russian tarragon, which is sometimes listed as a separate species (Artemisia dracunculoides). However, Russian tarragon is inferior in taste and is not commercially grown. Tarragon plants should be removed every three years due to decreasing quality of the plant.

Ontario Research Projects Used to Create This Profile
  1. McKeown, A.W., C.J. Bakker and J. Schooley. 1998-2002. Herb Demonstration Garden, University of Guelph Simcoe Research Station, unpublished.
  2. Westerveld, S., Elford, E., Filotas, M. and J. Todd. 2010-present. OMAFRA herb demonstration garden. OMAFRA Simcoe Resource Centre, unpublished.
  1. Kowalchik, C. and W.H. Hylton. 1998. Rodale`s illustrated encyclopaedia of herbs. Rodale Press, Emmaus PA.
  2. McHoy, P. and P. Westland. 1994.The herb bible: the ultimate herb reference book. New Burlington Books, London, UK.
  3. McVicar, J. 1994. Jekka’s complete herb book. Raincoast Books, Vancouver.
  4. Readers Digest. 2009. The complete illustrated book of herbs. The Readers Digest Association,Pleasentville, New York.
  5. Schooley, J. and J. Llewellyn. 2009. Growing culinary herbs in Ontario. Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.
  6. Small, E. 2006.Culinary herbs. NRC Research Press, Ottawa, ON.
  7. Thomas, S.C.L. 2000. Medicinal plants: culture, utilization and phytopharmacology. Technomic Publishing Company,Lancaster, Pennsylvania.