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A picture of a French Tarragon

French Tarragon

Artemisia dracunculus var. sativa

Also known as

Tarragon, Estragon

Photo by JohnCullenGardens (All rights reserved)

Full Sun
Easy care
Moderate watering


USDA zone


Minimum temperature

Expected size









  • spring
  • summer
  • autumn
  • winter

This plant has no fragrance

More images of French Tarragon

A close up of the green leaves of a French Tarragon
A close up of the slender green leaves of a Tarragon.

French Tarragon Overview

French Tarragon, Artemisia dracunculus var. sativa is a woody-based perennial plant from the Asteraceae family. Commonly grown as a culinary herb, it also has medicinal uses. This plant grows naturally across much of Europe, Asia and North America and is a commonly cultivated aromatic garden herb. It grows best in full sun and moist soil, spreading slowly from tangled underground rhizomes. French Tarragon has larger leaves compared to Russian Tarragon (Artemisia dracunculus) and it is also less hardy. It has a spreading habit and might be slightly harder to grow than Russian Tarragon. It has a distinct sweet anise flavour What makes this plant unique is that during growth, it seems to have little aroma, yet after the leaves are harvested, the oils concentrate and start emitting their unique smell.

Common problems with French Tarragon

Tarragon are susceptible to root rot so be careful about overwatering. Avoid planting French Tarragon where water collects or where leaves are slow to dry. Tarragon is susceptible to downy mildew, powdery mildew, and root rot where the soil or plants stay wet.

French Tarragon Companion Plants

How to harvest French Tarragon

Leaves can be harvested throughout the growing season. Not suitable for drying. Can be harvested and frozen in cubes.

How to propagate French Tarragon


The roots should be lifted and divided every two years. Root division are easily made at underground nodes.


Root stem cuttings in moist sand. Allow four weeks for the stems to root. Set plants 45- 60 cm apart and space rows 60 - 90 cm apart.


Tarragon rarely flowers, so growing from seed is not recommended. Tarragon seed is often sterile.

Special features of French Tarragon

Pot plant

French tarragon can be grown easily in a container 30 cm wide and deep. Tarragon can also be grown in hanging baskets.

Other uses of French Tarragon



Tarragon has a mild anesthetic property when used medicinally.


It flavors sauces (in traditional béarnaise sauce it is an essential ingredient). It is particularly good with shellfish, fish, chicken, and turkey.

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