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Achillea (uh-KILL-ee-uh)

Common Name:  Yarrow

Light:  Full sun

Soil:  Average, well-drained

Moisture:  Average to dry, drought tolerant

Blooms:  Summer

Zones:  3 - 8


Achillea 'Coronation Gold'

Achillea m. 'Paprika'

Achillea Description and Cultural Information

Achillea millefolium, common yarrow. 18" - 24". Common yarrow is an old-fashioned perennial with fine, ferny foliage. It is a rapid spreader and often self seeds, making it more like a weed than a flower, but makes a great addition to the meadow or cottage garden. They bloom profusely in summer. Colors range from reds to pinks, pale yellow or white (wild yarrow). 'Red Beauty' is my favorite red for color but 'Paprika' is better for being much more sturdy.

Achillea x 'Coronation Gold'. 3'. This hybrid yarrow has large, 5" wide, mustard yellow flower heads over gray-green foliage. It is more tolerant of heat, humidity, and rich soils and seldom needs staking. This yarrow doesn't spread like common yarrow but each plant can grow 3 feet wide.

Achillea 'Moonshine'. 24". This hybrid is very similar to 'Coronation Gold' but it is more compact with pale, lemon-yellow flowers over fern-like, gray-green foliage.

Achillea ptarmica, sneezewort. 18 - 24". This yarrow, like the common yarrow, can also be quite weedy, but the double flowered varieties work well in the border. It has lance shaped leaves along its stems instead of the common, ferny foliage. 'The Pearl' is a taller, double white that blooms all summer. 'Ballerina' is a dwarf double white form that stands up better. This plant has bloomed from mid-summer into November in our gardens with some dead-heading. It can be a rapid spreader, so make sure it is contained.

Achillea sibirica var. camtschatica, Siberian yarrow. 24". Different from the common yarrow in that the leaves are long and serrated, dark green and slightly glossy. The flower heads are similar in shape but have fewer yet individually larger flowers. It is best grown in ordinary, average garden soil to prevent flopping and overabundant growth. In our growing areas we have not had any problems with containment, even though they do spread. Plants are very easy to remove and transplant, unlike Achillea ptarmica which is nearly impossible to remove once it has been in place a while. Self sown seedlings are common. 'Love Parade' has soft pink flowers and combines well with tall garden phlox, daylilies, lilies, shasta daisies, and other summer blooming plants.

How to Grow:  Yarrows are low-maintenance plants that grow well with little care. Plant them in full sun in average to poor, well-drained soil. Plants tend to "flop" over when the soil is too rich or when they get too much moisture. Some varieties, especially A. millefolium, spread quickly to form dense clumps and occasionally self seed.

Landscape Uses:  Plant yarrows in the formal or informal border with other summer blooming meadow plants such as Echinacea, Rudbeckia, Chrysanthemum, Gaillardia, Platycodon and Monarda. Yarrows are excellent for cutting and drying. Pick yarrows for drying when they have good color but before they start to turn brown. Yarrow is also a great plant for attracting butterflies.

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