If you have a patch of fleabane growing in your garden that you want to use, chances are the first question you will ask is how to harvest fleabane.
Well don’t worry – we’ve got you totally covered! Read on for the best ways to harvest and use this pretty little daisy-like plant.
What You'll Learn Today
How To Harvest Fleabane?
You can harvest your fleabane for use as an edible plant or for making home remedies, and it is pretty simple and easy to do so:
- First off, wear gloves when handling this plant if you have sensitive skin as it can cause a reaction.
- You will generally only need the leaves and the flower heads, so you can either pick these off with your hands or snip them with scissors or secateurs.
- Gather the stems together in your hand, and cut them to the base of the plant with sharp secateurs or scissors.
- If you are harvesting the roots, take a garden fork and dig down into the soil, a foot or so away from the main stem.
- Gently lever the fork backwards, so that you lift the roots out of the soil without damaging them.
- This is a very tenacious plant, so you will probably find that it grows back the following year!
- Harvesting fleabane, whether you want it for medicinal purposes, display, or to try out its use as an insect repellent, is very easy.
This video shows you the easiest way to harvest fleabane for its medicinal purposes, and how to make a tincture too (you’ll need to turn your sound up!)
When Should I Cut Back My Fleabane?
Cutting back your fleabane is an excellent way to get it to grow back stronger and hardier than it was before.
You don’t HAVE to cut it back; this plant is very low maintenance – but doing so will give it a chance to grow strong and vigorous without getting leggy.
You should cut it back in the late autumn, as the temperatures are dropping and the plant is preparing to go dormant.
Cutting the plant back hard will do it no harm at all – in fact, it should make it grow back stronger and healthier the following year!
If you cut the fleabane right back to the ground, you are giving it a chance to grow back with entirely new growth next year.
You can also deadhead your fleabane – this will encourage more flowers, and you may even get a second flush of blooms!
Here is a good article, explaining the importance of cutting back your perennial plants (not just fleabane!) once the growing season is over.
Can You Make Tea Out Of Fleabane?
If you are a fan of herbal tea, you will be thrilled to know that you can make one very easily with your garden fleabane patch.
It is very easy to do – simply pick a few leaves and flowers, and steep them in boiling water for a mild, refreshing drink.
Alternatively, you can pick a larger quantity of these and dry them, either in a dehydrator or an oven on a low heat.
The leaves of fleabane contain caffeic acid, which is a gentle stimulant, and which has been proven to have antioxidant effects on the cells.
The roots of fleabane have long been used in native medicine making, and can be used for a variety of health issues.
One thing to bear in mind is that the leaves can cause a reaction in those with sensitive skin, so it is a good idea to wear gloves when handling the plant if you have skin issues.
Are Fleabane Leaves Edible?
This unassuming little plant is known as a wild edible – this means that you can definitely eat the leaves!
They are eaten either raw or lightly cooked, and may people report that they taste a little like spinach.
The leaves contain compounds that are beneficial to the human body, and can help to maintain good health by providing antioxidants.
The whole of the plant is edible, but the stems are slightly bristly, which means that they may not be as palatable.
However, cooking the stems can remove this problem – either lightly steam them, or you can add them to soups or stir fries.
Ensure that you don’t cook the leaves for too long, as this can destroy the health-giving properties that you are looking for.
Should I Let Fleabane Grow In My Garden?
In a word, yes you should! It has a great many benefits to both you and the surrounding ecosystem:
- They attract pollinators. Butterflies and bees need all the help they can get, right? Planting fleabane will attract many of them to your garden.
- They are easy to grow. Fleabane needs very little help or intervention to get it growing happily – great news for those of us who love plants but are not very green fingered!
- They are medicinal. Fleabane has a great many properties that make it beneficial to people, so you can grow it for its health giving talents.
- They are pretty. This is as good a reason as any to grow anything in your garden! These little daisy-like flowers are sure to raise a smile whenever you see them.
- They are low maintenance. Fleabane is a really easygoing plant, and one that you don’t have to do very much to in order to have it thrive.
- They are edible. If you enjoy wandering around your garden nibbling at things, then this plant is for you. Leaves, flowers and roots are all edible – and good for you!
As you can see, there are a good few uses of this unassuming little plant besides making your borders look pretty and attracting pollinators.
Now that you know how to harvest fleabane, your next question is what to do with it… We’ll leave that decision up to you!