Artemisia Annua prefers free soils facing south , but also adapts to clayey soils. The plant is undemanding to nutritional factors. In Italy it has a spring-summer growth cycle and flowering occurs in late summer. The plant is moderately resistant to low temperatures and completely dries up with the first frosts.
Sowing is carried out in seedbeds , given the very small size of the seeds. The seedlings of Artemisia Annua at the stage of 2-4 leaves and about 10 cm high are transplanted in the open field using common transplanters.
There is currently no optimal density for industrial cultivation because there are few agronomic tests carried out on this plant. On the basis of the few data available, it seems that a density of about 6 plants per square meter represents the right compromise for the development of the plant and for the accumulation of the active principle.
The nutrient nitrogen does not seem to have an influence on the biometric and productive characteristics of mugwort, which instead benefits from albeit modest contributions of phosphorus and potassium. Irrigation also positively affects productivity but crop coefficients are not available for calculating irrigation needs. Weed control (lacking registered herbicides) is carried out with 1 or 2 weeds.
Collection and use
The maximum content of artemisinin (active ingredient of Artemisia Annua, capable of killing cancer cells, read here ) coincides with the early flowering phase . This is the right time for harvesting , which is done by mowing the plants. These are then placed to dry in a covered and ventilated room . There are currently no machines suitable for mechanized harvesting. It would be important to be able to collect only the leaves or the apical tops of the plant, leaving the woody part in the field.
Adversity and parasites
The Artemisia Annua plant appears to be particularly resistant, is not attacked by parasites and is not prone to developing diseases of any kind.