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Yarrow: How to Plant, Grow, and Care for Yarrow Plants | The Old Farmer's Almanac

How to Grow Yarrow: The Complete Yarrow Flower Guide

Yarrow plant
Caption

Yarrow can come in a bright yellow variety, but it can also be red or pink.

Photo Credit
Alexander Boeckmann
Botanical Name
Achillea spp.
Plant Type
Sun Exposure
Soil pH
Bloom Time
Flower Color
Hardiness Zone
Special Features
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Planting, Growing, and Caring for Yarrow

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Yarrow (Achillea millefolium) is a native North American plant popular with pollinators and practically carefree, making it perfect for borders, ground covers, and open meadows. Here’s how to grow yarrow flowers in your garden!

About Yarrow

Sold as a hardy and versatile perennial, yarrow has showy flower heads composed of many tiny, tightly-packed flowers rising above clusters of ferny foliage. The flowers may be yellow, red, pink, or any shade in between. Yarrow is pest-resistant, drought-resistant, attracts butterflies, and is excellent for cutting and drying.

The plant is also an aromatic herb that has many healing properties! See this wonderful article, Yarrow and Its Medicinal Uses.

yellow yarrow flowers
Yarrow. Credit: Alexander Boeckmann
Planting

When to Plant Yarrow

  • Plant in the spring or early summer after the danger of frost has passed. See local frost dates.
  • If you plant yarrow from tip cuttings, plant them in spring or early summer.

Choosing a Preparing a Planting Site

  • Plant in an area that receives full sun to encourage compact growth and many flowers. In partial sun or shade, yarrow tends to grow leggy. 
  • Yarrow performs best in well-drained soil. It thrives in hot, dry conditions; it will not tolerate constantly wet soil. Loamy soil is recommended, but yarrow can also be grown in clay soil as long as it does not always stay saturated with water.
  • Use a garden fork or tiller to loosen the soil in your garden to about 12 to 15 inches deep, then mix in a 2- to 4-inch layer of compost.
  • If you grow yarrow in soil that is too rich, the plants may require staking due to overenthusiastic growth. To keep it from growing too tall, choose a site with average to poor soil and supplement it with some compost to give the plants a good start.

How to Plant Yarrow

  • Space the plants 1 to 2 feet apart.
  • They are quick to establish and spread, though some species, like Achillea millefolium, are extra-aggressive growers, so be careful when choosing your plants. Most kinds grow to be about 2 to 4 feet tall.

Yarrow with pink flowers

Growing

How to Grow Yarrow

  • Add a thin layer of compost around your plants each spring to keep them fed.
  • Yarrow is very drought tolerant, but if you receive less than 1 inch of rain a week in the summer, remember to water your plants to keep them looking their best.
  • Cut off “deadhead” flowers when they start to fade in mid-summer; this encourages most varieties to produce another round of flowers. 
  • Divide yarrow plants every 3 to 5 years to sustain vigorous, healthy plants. Lift the clumps in early spring or fall and remove any dead stems from the center of the clump. You can replant the divisions elsewhere in the garden or share with a friend!

pink Yarrow flowers.

Harvesting

To dry yarrow flowers, you can hang the plants upside down in a dark, dry location or use a dehydrator. 

Gardening Products
Wit and Wisdom
Pests/Diseases

Yarrow is generally disease-free and easy to keep, though it is susceptible to the following:

About The Author

Catherine Boeckmann

Catherine Boeckmann loves nature, stargazing, and gardening so it’s not surprising that she and The Old Farmer’s Almanac found each other. She leads digital content for the Almanac website, and is also a certified master gardener in the state of Indiana. Read More from Catherine Boeckmann

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