The Habitat
Home
Share to PinterestGrowing the Beautiful, Multipurpose Yarrow Plant
Share to PinterestGrowing the Beautiful, Multipurpose Yarrow Plant
Advertisement

Common yarrow or Achillea millefolium is an easy-to-grow perennial that's been used as a medicinal herb for centuries. Native varieties grow across Asia, Europe, North America, and into Baja California, and Mexico. This hardy bloomer thrives in diverse climates, and it’s available in a variety of colors — all top reasons why yarrow is a popular addition to butterfly, wildlife, herb, rock, and ornamental gardens. If you’re looking for a fuss-free plant, yarrow is an attractive choice.

01

It’s drought-tolerant

Share to Pinterestsunlight stems branch rootstalk foliage
Ivan Marjanovic / Getty Images

Several stems branch from the yarrow’s rootstalk to support its foliage. The six-inch, feathery leaves grow from stems that branch from the rootstalk. They have a fern-like texture, making yarrow an attractive plant even when it’s not in bloom. Plant your yarrow in spring or early summer. They don't need a rigorous watering schedule but require at least an inch of water each week. Humidity isn’t a problem. Well-drained sandy loam or sandy clay soil that isn’t too rich or fertile works best. Yarrow prefers full sunlight, but it doesn’t mind a bit of shade, either.

Advertisement
02

Yarrow needs room to spread

Share to Pinterestself sower rhizomes yarrow
Irina Stevenson / Getty Images

Because it is such a prolific grower and can become invasive, some people consider wild-growing yarrow to be a weed. The self-sower spreads by rhizomes to a width of two feet, so allow for about 24 inches between each plant when setting. If you have a difficult patch in your yard where nothing seems to grow, try planting yarrow there. Keep it happy, and your yarrow will return year after year for a decade or more.

Advertisement
03

Flowers first appear in summer

Share to Pinterestclusters reds purples pinks flowers
Kat Robertson / Getty Images

Most yarrow varieties grow to four feet in height, although some only reach about 18 inches. Yarrow grows clusters of umbrella-shaped flowers that bloom in golden yellows, deep pinks, vivid reds, rich purples, and assorted pastels.

  • "Ceris Queen" offers dark pink flowers with white centers
  • "Paprika" explodes in bright red blooms with yellow centers
  • "Apple Blossom" has soft, purplish-pink flowers
  • "Strawberry Seduction" erupts in blooms that look like ripe strawberries
  • "Summer Pastels" is a hybrid plant that presents multi-colored blossoms in an array of mauve, pink, purple, salmon, orange, and rose-colored blooms
Advertisement
04

Deadhead and divide regularly

Share to Pinterestdeadhead fade die flowers
igorbondarenko / Getty Images

Yarrow is low-maintenance, but still requires a bit of attention. In most locales, the early summer blossoms start to fade and die in mid-summer. If you allow the flowers to dry out on the plant, they’ll go to seed and spread around the garden. Once they fade, cut off or deadhead the yarrow’s blooms to encourage more flowering. Every three to five years, in the early spring or fall, divide the yarrow clumps into separate plants and replant, or gift them to fellow gardeners.

Advertisement
05

Yarrow pruning

Share to Pinterestallergic skin reaction yarrow pruning
CasarsaGuru / Getty Images

For some people, yarrow causes an allergic skin reaction, so wear gloves when doing any clean-up or pruning of the plant. Pruning prevents the yarrow from getting out of control and encourages blooming. If you see the stems flopping over, reduce the plant's height. Once the blooming season ends, cut the entire stem down to the lowest foliage near the ground, but don’t remove these leaves. They’ll protect the plant through the winter months.

Advertisement
06

Protect yarrow from pests and disease

Share to Pinterestmildew fungus pest foam spittlebug
hekakoskinen / Getty Images

A white powder on the leaves of your yarrow plants is likely botrytis mold or powdery mildew. You can treat this with a fungicide. A common pest drawn to yarrow is the spittlebug, which produces a protective foam that looks like saliva. A strong spray of water will wash away the foam, leaving the insects unprotected. Exposure to UV light will, in most cases, kill them. Use an insecticide if you continue to see evidence of the pest.

Advertisement
07

It’s toxic to pets

Share to Pinterestpets toxic achilleine plant dog
K_Thalhofer / Getty Images

Yarrow may have medicinal possibilities for humans, but avoid planting it where your pets have access to it. Although it has a bitter taste that dogs and cats don’t like, it’s best to use precaution. Yarrow contains achilleine, which is toxic for dogs and cats and causes photosensitivity in horses. Increased urination, vomiting, diarrhea, and dermatitis are symptoms of consumption in animals. If you suspect your pet has eaten yarrow, contact your veterinarian.

Advertisement
08

There are lots of medicinal uses for yarrow

Share to Pinterestantimicrobial prevent infection medicinal yarrow
Jasmina007 / Getty Images

Numerous studies show that yarrow soothes irritable bowel syndrome symptoms. Herbalists say it stimulates blood circulation, lowers blood pressure, and normalizes other bodily functions. The plant contains antimicrobial properties that prevent infection and it helps stop bleeding when applied to a cut or wound. Some people use yarrow in poultices, soaks, and salves to relieve pain. Others say it is an excellent treatment for stress and anxiety.

Advertisement
09

Its genus name comes from a hero

Share to Pinterestachilles miracle plant love yarrow
fotolinchen / Getty Images

The Latin name for yarrow, Achillea, has ties to the Greek hero, Achilles, a skilled warrior famous for his part in the Trojan War. Greek stories say he was also famous for his medical knowledge, a skill he learned frp, the centaur physician, Chiron. Achilles used a "miracle" plant, identified by historians as yarrow. It clotted the soldiers’ wounds and stopped the bleeding. Yarrow also has a long history in the magical world as a plant of protection and a symbol of everlasting love.

Advertisement
10

You may know yarrow by another name

Share to Pinterestmilfoil gordaldo sanguinary sneezewood yarrow
Aldo Pavan / Getty Images

Depending on where you live, you may know this plant by a regional name, such as common yarrow, soldier’s woundwort, milfoil, or thousand-leaf. Others know it as gordaldo, nosebleed plant, old man’s pepper, staunch weed, or sanguinary. In the southwestern U.S., some gardeners call it plumajillo. Additional aliases include dog daisy, sneezeweed, and devil’s nettle.

Advertisement
Advertisement

Share

Ad

Make a habit out of it.

Get daily tips and tricks for living your best life.

Advertisement
Advertisement