How to Plant, Grow, and Care for Yarrow Plants
Yarrow (Achillea millefolium) is a native North American plant that’s popular with pollinators and practically care-free, making it perfect for borders, ground covers, and open meadows. Here’s how to grow yarrow in your garden!
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 which has many healing properties!
Note: Despite yarrow’s many beneficial characteristics, it can also be an invasive grower that readily pushes out its neighbors. Plant responsibly!
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 soil that’s constantly wet. Loamy soil is recommended, but yarrow can also be grown in clay soil as long as it does not stay saturated with water all the time.
- 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 too-rich soil, 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 a bit of 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.
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!
- ‘Coronation Gold’, for its beautiful mustard-yellow flowers and silvery gray leaves.
- ‘Fanal’ (or ‘The Beacon’), for its rich red flowers with yellow centers.
- ‘Cerise Queen’, to add some bright pink color to your garden.