Gardeners and landscapers love the delicate beauty of yarrow. Its feathery, fern-like leaves and colorful flower clusters add charm and enchantment to any outdoor space. The good news is planting yarrow isn’t difficult, and its care and upkeep are relatively easy.
This article will provide all the information required to plant, grow and care for yarrow in your gardens. We also provide recommendations for easy-to-grow and beautiful varieties of yarrow to get you started.
Yarrow Can Make a Stunning Addition To Any Garden
Ah, yarrow – the delicate and lovely herbaceous perennial that will capture any garden lover’s heart! This beautiful herb is a true gem of the garden world with its lacy green leaves and enchanting clusters of dainty flower heads.
The foliage of this flowering plant is finely divided and feathery, with a soft and delicate texture. The leaves are a lovely shade of green and provide a beautiful backdrop for yarrow blooms.
Yarrow flowers come in various colors, from soft and soothing pastels to bold and vibrant hues. Shades of pink, lavender, yellow, and bright red flowers are gorgeous colors that the common yarrow can display. As the plant grows and the flowers age, they may darken or fade, creating a subtle and gentle transition of color that’s sure to delight the eye.
Growing & Planting Yarrow
Here are some tips and guidelines to help you successfully plant and grow yarrow in your garden:
Start by Choosing a Suitable Growing Location
Yarrow (achillea millefolium) thrives in full sun to partial shade and prefers well-draining soil rich in nutrients. When choosing a growing location, ensure it receives at least 6 hours of direct sunlight daily.
Yarrow can tolerate various soil types but prefers to avoid being constantly wet or in poor soil. Therefore, it’s essential to choose a location that provides good drainage. Yarrow can tolerate clay soil so long as the clay drains well.
Types Of Gardens Suitable For Planting Yarrow
You can plant yarrow in a variety of settings and garden types. Here are some of the best places yarrow will thrive and look amazing:
Yarrow’s delicate flowers, tall stems, and fern-like foliage make it a perfect addition to a romantic cottage garden. Its soft colors and texture blend well with other cottage garden favorites like roses, phlox, and lavender.
Cut Flower Gardens
Yarrows’ tall, thick, and strong plant stems make them wonderful candidates for a cut flower garden. The flower heads make wonderful filler plants and can pair well with many types of foliage and flowers to make bouquets.
Yarrow also makes wonderful dried flowers, and the process is as easy as hanging them to dry in a cool spot in your home.
Yarrow is popular for wildflower meadows and native plant gardens. Its drought tolerance and adaptability makes it ideal for this type of low-maintenance planting. You will often find yarrow in wildflower seed mixes.
Yarrow’s drought tolerance and low water requirements make it an excellent choice for xeriscapes, designed to conserve water in arid regions. It’ silvery-green foliage and bright blooms provide a splash of color in these water-wise landscapes.
Yarrow’s compact size and tolerance for dry conditions make it an excellent choice for rock gardens. In addition, its delicate flowers and lacy foliage provide a nice contrast to the rugged textures of rocks and stones.
Yarrow is a traditional medicinal herb used for centuries to treat various ailments. It’s a great addition to any herb garden.
Specialized Tea Gardens
Yarrow is a special addition to a tea garden. Yarrow tea is known to have many health benefits, and yarrow adds a pop of color and floral interest to tea garden designs.
Next, Prepare the Soil
Before planting yarrow plants, it’s very important to prepare the soil properly. Start by removing weeds, rocks, or debris from the planting area.
You will want to loosen the soil with a garden fork and add compost or other organic matter to improve soil structure and fertility. Compost will provide a nutrient-rich environment for new growth that will help your yarrow thrive.
Yarrow requires well-drained soil. If the soil becomes waterlogged, the roots can rot.
Plant Yarrow After The Last Frost Date or In Early Autumn
Hardiness zones: Yarrow is hardy to Zone 4. Not sure of your growing zones?
USDA Hardiness Zones: Check out the National Gardening Association to find your zone.
Canada Hardiness Zones: Check out National Resources Canada to find your zone if you are in Canada.
Start Seeds Early: Sow indoors 8-10 weeks before planting. Transplant or direct sow in early spring or early autumn.
Spacing: When planting yarrow, space each plant about 12-18 inches apart, as they can grow quite large. Proper spacing is essential to help prevent diseases like powdery mildew.
Planting Yarrow: Dig a hole slightly larger than the plant’s root ball, and gently place the yarrow into the hole. Backfill the hole with soil and gently press the soil down around the base of the plant. Water thoroughly after planting.
Growing Yarrow from Seed
Yarrow can also be grown from seed, although it can take longer to establish than planting from a young plant. Sow seeds directly into the garden in the spring after the last frost. You can also add yarrow seeds to the garden in early fall.
Keep the soil moist but not waterlogged once the seedlings emerge.
You can also save the seed heads at the end of the season to plant the following year or to give away to friends and neighbors.
- Learn More: See our complete guide on seed saving.
Propagating Yarrow – When and How
You can propagate through division in the spring or fall.
First, dig up an established plant and carefully separate the roots into smaller sections. Then, replant the roots from each section in a new location and water thoroughly.
How to Care for Yarrow Plants
Planting yarrow in your garden will reward you with stunning blooms and lush foliage. Here are some tips for caring for your yarrow:
Watering Frequency and Amount
Yarrow is a drought-tolerant plant and does not require heavy watering. However, ensuring the soil stays evenly moist during the growing season is essential. Water deeply once a week or whenever the ground feels dry. Avoid getting water on the foliage, as this can encourage disease.
Yarrow doesn’t require a lot of fertilizer, but light feeding in the spring can help encourage healthy growth and blooming. Use a balanced fertilizer, and apply according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Mulching around the yarrow can help conserve moisture and suppress weeds. Use a layer of organic mulch, such as shredded bark or compost, and apply to a depth of 2-3 inches. Avoid placing mulch directly against the stem, as this can encourage rot.
Yarrow doesn’t require a lot of pruning, but deadheading spent flowers can encourage the plant to produce more blooms. Snip off the spent flowers as soon as they begin to fade. You can also trim back the foliage in the fall to help prevent disease.
Yarrow is pest-resistant, but aphids, spider mites, and other pests can occasionally infest the plants. To manage any infestations, use an insecticidal soap or neem oil and spray according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
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Yarrow is relatively disease-resistant but can occasionally be affected by powdery mildew and/or root rot. To prevent these diseases, ensure the soil is well-draining and avoid getting water on the foliage. If you notice signs of illness, act immediately and use a fungicide on the affected plants.
Popular Varieties of Yarrow Plants With Descriptions
‘Moonshine’ Yarrow – This type has lovely silvery-gray foliage and bright yellow flowers that bloom mid-summer. The plants can grow 18-24 inches tall with a spread of 18-24 inches. ‘Moonshine’ yarrow is drought-tolerant and deer-resistant, making it an excellent choice for xeriscapes or wildlife gardens.
‘Paprika’ Yarrow – This variety has fern-like foliage and clusters of deep pink to red flowers that bloom in late spring to early summer. It grows to 24-30 inches, with a spread of 24-30 inches. ‘Paprika’ yarrow is an excellent choice for attracting butterflies and pollinators to the garden.
‘Coronation Gold’ Yarrow – This cultivar has dark green foliage and clusters of bright yellow flowers that bloom mid-summer. It grows to a height of 24-36 inches, with a spread of 24-36 inches. ‘Coronation Gold’ yarrow is a vigorous grower and is drought-tolerant, making it an excellent choice for sunny borders or wildflower gardens.
‘Apple Blossom’ Yarrow – This variety has delicate, pink flowers that fade to white as they age. It grows to 18-24 inches, with a spread of 18-24 inches. ‘Apple Blossom’ yarrow is the right choice for cottage gardens or mixed borders.
‘Cerise Queen’ Yarrow – “Cerise Queen” is a variety of yarrow known for its brilliant, vibrant pink to magenta color. The leaves are deep dark green-grey, and the combination and contrast between flower and leaf create a stunning display.
‘Fire Fly Pease SKy Yarrow’ -What sets ‘Firefly Peach Sky’ apart are its beautiful flowers. The blooms are known for their vibrant peachy-orange color, often with a hint of pink or apricot, giving them a warm and inviting appearance.
Yarrow Plant Faq
Here are some of the more frequently asked questions about yarrow:
Q: Does Yarrow Grow Quickly?
Yarrow is a relatively fast-growing perennial herb that can reach 1-3 feet in a few months. With proper care and growing conditions, yarrow can establish quickly and provide beautiful blooms throughout the growing season. Yarrow plants spread if the seed heads are not removed.
Q: Are yellow yarrow invasive plants?
A: Yarrow is not considered invasive but can self-seed and spread rapidly if left unchecked. However, it’s easy to control by dividing the plants every few years or removing spent flowers before they go to seed. These native plants to temperate regions in the Northern Hemisphere will spread rapidly if allowed to self-seed.
Q: How do you keep yarrow blooming all summer?
A: Deadhead spent flowers to enable yarrow plants to bloom all summer. Deadheading will encourage the plant to produce more blooms and prolong the blooming period. In addition, providing consistent moisture and fertilization throughout the growing season and plenty of sunlight is also essential.
Q: When does yarrow bloom?
A: Yarrow typically blooms mid-summer, from June through August, depending on the cultivar and growing conditions. However, some varieties may bloom earlier or later in the season. With proper care and growing conditions, yarrow can bloom continuously throughout summer.
Q: How do you make yarrow tea?
A: Yarrow tea is a popular herbal infusion from the yarrow plant’s leaves and flowers. To make yarrow tea, you’ll need the following:
- 1 tablespoon of organically grown dried yarrow leaves and flowers (or two tablespoons of fresh yarrow leaves and flowers)
- 1 cup of boiling water
- Honey, lemon, or other sweeteners (optional)
Here are the steps to make yarrow tea:
- Rinse the yarrow leaves and flowers in cold water to remove dirt or debris.
- If using dried yarrow, place the leaves and flowers in a tea infuser or tea bag. If using fresh yarrow, chop the leaves and flowers into small pieces.
- Place the yarrow in a teapot or heat-resistant cup.
- Pour one cup of boiling water over the yarrow.
- Cover the teapot or cup and let steep for 5-10 minutes.
- Remove the tea infuser or strain the yarrow leaves and flowers from the tea.
- Add honey, lemon, or other sweeteners to taste (optional).
Enjoy your warm and soothing cup of yarrow tea!
***WARNING: Yarrow is safe for most individuals. However, you should avoid it if you have a bleeding disorder or are pregnant, breastfeeding, undergoing surgery, or are allergic to ragweed.***
Planting Yarrow – Will You Try?
Yarrow is worth considering if you’re looking for an easy-to-grow herb that can provide beauty and health benefits in your garden. With its low-maintenance requirements and adaptability to various growing conditions, yarrow is an excellent choice for beginner and experienced gardeners. Plus, it’s a beautiful way to attract many beneficial insects, butterflies, and pollinators to your garden!
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