Yarrow is an ornamental perennial that is often included in butterfly gardens. Learn how to grow yarrow so you can have these beautiful flowering plants in your backyard. There are many types of yarrow that you can plant which will give color to your garden. Flowers are usually soft white, yellow, red and pink, although some hybrids can have different colors.
It is possible to grow all types of yarrow in USDA zones 3 through 9, although some gardeners have had success in zones 2 and 10. This plant is quite low maintenance, growing in very poor soils with little water. All it really needs is plenty of sunlight!
Pests and diseases don’t bother these plants that are part of the Asteraceae family which includes daisies, ragweed, sunflowers and thistles. Make sure to prune them constantly since they are fast growers that can spread easily if allowed. Plants need root divisions every three years, where the center part is discarded and the sides are replanted.
All types of yarrow come from five main species of Achillea: A. clypeolata, A. filipendulina, A. millefolium, A. ptarmica, and A. taygetea. The University of Maryland claims that the majority of cultivars were hybridized from these five species. These herbs produce a lovely aroma, making it a popular option for fresh and dried flower arrangements. Yarrow has medicinal properties.
Types of Yarrow
Common yarrow (A. millefolium), also known as milfoil or soldier’s woundwort, can be slightly invasive if allowed to spread. This plant was probably introduced to the United States when it was dumped from English settler’s ships. Native white types of yarrow such as mountain yarrow (A. millefolium lanulosa) and western yarrow (A. millefolium occidentalis) were already growing in this country. Nowadays, it’s pretty much impossible to distinguish between native and introduced varieties.
Flowers heads range between 2 and 3 inches in white shade. This plant matures with a height of 3 feet. Buy common yarrow seeds here.
Cerise Queen (A. millefolium) is a beautiful addition to any garden because it has deep pink flowers and dark green foliage. This plant will bloom for several weeks in summer, releasing a fruity aroma. These flowers last for a long time in a vase after being cut. This type of yarrow grows between 12 to 36 inches in height. It is easy to take care of Cerise Queen, which is resistant to garden animals such as rabbits and deer. Buy cerise queen seeds here.
Apple Blossom (A. millefolium) is a cross between A. millefolium and A. taygetea. This hybrid is native to Germany where it is called “Apfelblute”. Flower heads spread between 2 to 3 inches wide. They produce purple-pink flowers on top of green leafed stems that reach a height of 18 to 24 inches. Apple blossom blooms from early to late summer and it’s often used for cut floral arrangements.
Gold (A. filipendulina) also known as fern leaf yarrow and commonly called milfoil. Some types of yarrow, like gold, have yellow saucer-like flowers that grow four inches across. Gold yarrow blooms for more than four weeks. Stems are quite tall between 3 and 4 feet in height. Silver green leaves grow like ferns from its base. Buy gold yarrow seeds here.
Gold Plate, Parker’s and Coronation
Gold plate (A. filipendulina) is a fern leaf variety that is quite similar to gold, but larger. Upright stems reach a height to 4 to 5 feet and have yellow-mustard flower heads that are 6 inches across. Green silver leaves come from the base of this plant. Other similar hybrids are “Parker’s Variety” and “Coronation Gold.”
Wooly Yarrow (A. tomentosa) has pretty yellow flowers that grow on evergreen foliage. This plant will bloom from late spring to mid summer. Like other types of yarrow, this variety needs full sunlight and can grow in normal or sandy soil with minimal water. It is a low growing species that is used as a ground cover. Foliage is very fragrant when brushed.
Moonshine (A. millefolium) produces plenty of lemon-yellow colored flowers that are quite aromatic. Cut the flower heads after the first bloom so they bloom again throughout the summer. Moonshine has silver-green foliage and grows between 18 to 24 inches tall. “Little moonshine” is a hybrid of A. clypeolata and A. taygetea that is perfect for containers since it is a compact, mounding plant that reaches a height of 9 to 12 inches.
New Vintage Rose
New Vintage Rose (A. millefolium) is a great variety of yarrow for those that live in hot and dry climates. Full sun is ideal for this plant’s growth just like other types of yarrow. It has rich green foliage with rose-pink-red flowers. Trim flowers after the first bloom to get a second mid-summer rebloom. New Vintage Rose is a compact, mounding variety of yarrow that reaches a height of 12 to 15 inches. It can be grown in containers.
Paprika (Achillea millefolium) is different from other types of yarrow since it has bright brick red flowers which bloom early summer. These flowers will fade to a light pink or creamy yellow. Paprika blooms less in soil that has too much moisture. Paprika yarrow has stems that reach up to 2 feet tall. It prefers little water and dry soil that has good drainage.
Red yarrow (A. millefolium rubra) also has red flowers, but they are a more rusty shade. Flowers are used for bouquets or dried flowers. Like other types of yarrow, this plant is excellent for attracting pollinators. Red yarrow reaches a height of 12 to 30 inches when mature. Buy red yarrow seeds here.
Strawberry Seduction (A. millefolium) has medium size flowers that look like ripe, red strawberries. Flowers fade to yellow late in the summer. Its green stems grow in compact mounds reaching a height of 2 feet. Plant this variety of yarrow if you live in a hot and humid area. It can be planted in a container.
Sunny Seduction (A. millefolium) is one of the types of yarrow that can tolerate heat and humidity. It can be grown in containers because it has compact, sturdy foliage. This plant has a long blooming season with yellow blossoms on top of stems that reach a height of 18 to 30 inches.
Summer pastels (Achillea millefolium) is a great choice for gardeners who want color in their garden. This type of yarrow comes in many pastel shades that range from soft white, lilac, salmon, light pink and yellow. Flowers are often cut for flower arrangements, since they last for quite some time. This plant requires a lot of sunlight like other types of yarrow. Summer pastels do great in warm and humid areas, although its colors may fade during heatwaves. Buy summer pastel seeds here.