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Achillea

Hardy herbaceous perennials, most Achillea (ak-il-lee-uh) form aromatic, soft, feathery, fern-like foliage with clusters of small daisy-like flowers. Tolerant of hot, humid summers, drought, and most growing conditions; plant Achillea, or yarrow, in well-drained soil and full sun. The aromatic leaves of Yarrow are what keep the pests away.

One of the easiest perennials, all it needs is full sun and well-drained soil. It thrives in average to poor soil and is drought tolerant once established. Plants grown in rich soil tend to be tall and floppy. After the flowers have faded, cut the plant back by half. This will likely stimulate a second flush of blooms in late summer.

Achillea is in reference to Achilles, hero of the Trojan Wars in Greek mythology, who used the plant medicinally to stop bleeding and to heal the wounds of his soldiers.

Common yarrow is a rhizomatous, spreading, upright to mat-forming perennial that can be an aggressive. Yarrow is deeply-dissected, fern-like, aromatic, with medium green foliage and tiny, long-lasting flowers that appear throughout the summer on stems typically rising 2 to 3 feet tall. Foliage has a strong, somewhat spicy aroma that persists when used in dried arrangements.

Cultivars and hybrids of common yarrow, most of which have stronger stems, more upright habits and larger flowers, that have become popular flowering plants for ornamental gardens. Cultivars also extend the range of flower colors to include pinks, reds, creams, yellows and bicolor pastels.

Yarrow thrives in average to poor, well-drained soil. Planted in too rich soil, plants have a tendency to be tall and floppy. Tolerant of humidity, heat and drought, after the flowers have faded, pruning the plant back by half should awaken additional blooms for late summer. In the right location, yarrow can spread aggressively. Plants from seed are not reliable to be true to variety. Divide every few years to keep plants to a manageable size.

With a little maintenance, blooms are possible throughout summer in cottage gardens, wild gardens, meadows, prairies and naturalized areas. Common yarrow is often used as a flowering ground cover or lawn for sunny out-of-the-way areas, and sometimes mowed with a rotary mower (use highest setting). Plants slowly spread by rhizomes and can naturalize into substantial colonies over time. Plants grown in warmer zones may require staking. Slightly spicy aroma of stems are stronger when nighttime temperatures are consistently below 70 degrees F; aroma continues when used in dried arrangements. Achilleas make excellent dried flowers.

Yarrow is one of the easiest perennials to grow and is a good choice for beginners. More yarrow common names, include milfoil, thousandleaf, soldier's woundwort, bloodwort, nose bleed, devil's nettle, sanguinary, old-man's-pepper and stenchgrass.

Excellent as a border plant, in containers or for cut and dried flowers, in mass plantings, and Salt Tolerant. Attracts butterflies, Deer and Rabbit resistant.

  • Achillea 'Firefly Sunshine'
Photos courtesy of Walters Gardens, Inc.

    Achillea 'Firefly Sunshine' PPAF (25) BR Plants

    Achillea 'Firefly Sunshine' PPAF Common Name: YarrowFireflies, or whatever you call the insects that light up the night-when you see them, they're a sure sign of warm summer weather. Similarly, this new Yarrow collection will light up your summer garden...

    $179.80
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  • Achillea 'Firefly Peach Sky'
Photos courtesy of Walters Gardens, Inc.

    Achillea 'Firefly Peach Sky' PPAF (25) BR Plants

    Achillea 'Firefly Peach Sky' PPAF Common Name: YarrowLight peachy orange flowers age to yellow. Mature and new flowers create a blend of colors, much like you would find on a peach fruit. Tall, upright habit. Height: 32.0-36.0 InchesSpread: 28.0-32.0...

    $179.80
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  • Achillea 'Firefly Diamond'
Photos courtesy of Walters Gardens, Inc.

    Achillea 'Firefly Diamond' PPAF (25) BR Plants

    Achillea 'Firefly Diamond' PPAF Common Name: YarrowIvory white flowers contrast beautifully with its dark green foliage. Upright, columnar habit. Flowers remain attractive as they age. Height: 24.0-28.0 InchesSpread: 32.0-40.0 InchesHardiness Zones:...

    $179.80
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  • Achillea 'Oertel's Rose' (3.5 inch pot)

    Achillea 'Oertel's Rose' (3.5 inch pot)

    Achillea 'Oertel's Rose' Common name: Yarrow, Sneezewort. Zones 3 to 9. Full sun. Plants reach 24 to 30 inches tall and 24 inches wide, low, spreading clump. Growth rate: Rapid, a quick spreader that left unchecked can form large masses. Pink-rose red...

    $4.13
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  • Achillea 'Coronation Gold'

    Achillea 'Coronation Gold' (3.5 inch pot)

    Achillea 'Coronation Gold' Common name: Yarrow. Zones 3 to 8. Full sun. Plants reach 30 to 36 inches tall and 30 to 36 inches wide. Growth rate: Moderate, Easy to grow. Large golden yellow 4 inch flower clusters all summer long. This variety has...

    $4.13
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  • Achillea millefolium 'Paprika'

    Achillea millefolium 'Paprika' (3.5 inch pot)

    Achillea millefolium 'Paprika' (3.5 inch pot) Common name: Yarrow. Zones 3 to 8. Full sun. Plants reach 24 inches tall and 24 inches wide, low, spreading clump. Growth rate: Rapid, a quick spreader that left unchecked can form large masses. Luscious...

    $4.13
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  • Achillea 'Coronation Gold'

    Achillea 'Coronation Gold'

    Achillea 'Coronation Gold' Common name: Yarrow. Zones 3 to 8. Full sun. Plants reach 30 to 36 inches tall and 30 to 36 inches wide. Growth rate: Moderate, Easy to grow. Large golden yellow 4 inch flower clusters all summer long. This variety has...

    $90.54
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