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Yarrow is a classic garden perennial known for its ruggedness and drought tolerance. It works well in a cottage garden setting and in wildflower gardens. With its tall stems of flat blooms and fern-like foliage, this plant fits well in any garden setting.
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From 6 inches to 3 feet
garden plans for Yarrow
When yarrow was first introduced, it was typically available in drab whites and creams. Today you can find the perennial in a wide array of colors, including the pastel spectrum. Soft pinks, yellows, reds, and apricots are held against a backdrop of silver-green foliage. The leaves themselves are finely dissected and form tight mats of foliage. The blooms of yarrow also make long-lasting cut flowers that can be easily dried.
Yarrow Care Must-Knows
Yarrow is extremely easy to grow and requires little maintenance in order for it to thrive. The most important thing to know is that yarrow will not do well in wet soils, so make sure to plant it in well-drained soil. Once established, yarrow is extremely drought tolerant, making it a great plant for use in low-maintenance gardens.
Yarrow loves the sun. While it tolerates some shade, it increases the likelihood of several other problems. The biggest issue yarrow runs into in shade is flopping or snapping stems. Too much shade can also lead to foliar disease and rot. Powdery mildew is fairly common in old varieties of yarrow; luckily it is mostly a cosmetic problem, and plants will rarely die from it.
Yarrow plants spread quite aggressively by underground rhizomes. These rhizomes can grow densely and create heavy mats of foliage and roots, which is great for weed suppression, but it can also choke out other plants you're trying to grow in your garden. Yarrow also escape their planting area and spread to unwanted zones of your garden into the lawn. If you are hesitant about planting them because of this, look for varieties that are less aggressive, and be vigilant when controlling any outward growth.
Since most of the groundbreaking innovations happened years ago, the current breeding research is focused on improving the flaws of yarrow. The biggest change has been creating dwarf varieties of plants that won't flop or break in the wind. Color options are getting richer as well, as many varieties are branching out from the pastel palette. New yarrow types also boast longer bloom times and blooms that repeat all season; be sure to cut back spent flowers to help them in the long run.
More Varieties of Yarrow
Achillea 'Anblo' is a hybrid yarrow that bears 3-inch-wide clusters of soft primrose-yellow blooms that fade to cream. The plant has silvery-gray foliage and is resistant to powdery mildew, making it a good choice for regions with high humidity. It grows 18-24 inches tall and wide. Zones 4-9
Achillea millefolium is a drought-tolerant native plant with ferny green foliage and white flower clusters in summer. It is also deer-resistant and attracts butterflies. The spreading clumps of common yarrow grow 1-3 feet tall. Another common name for the plant is bloodwort, a reference to its historical use as a topical wound dressing. Zones 3-9
Achillea millefolium Tutti Frutti 'Pomegranate' has deep red blooms that hold their color well in the garden. If deadheaded after the first flush of bloom, plants push out additional flowers until a hard freeze in fall. 'Pomegranate' yarrow grows 24-30 inches tall and wide. Zones 3-9
Achillea ptarmica has the unfortunate common name of sneezewort or sneezeweed. It is also occasionally called bride flower, a reference to its pure white buttonlike flowers that resemble oversize baby's-breath or tiny carnations. The long-lasting blooms are excellent as cut flowers and may dry naturally on the plant in the garden. Sneezewort grows 15-20 inches tall and wide. Zones 3-8
'Wonderful Wampee' yarrow
Achillea millefolium Tutti Frutti 'Wonderful Wampee' blooms from early to late summer with light pink flower clusters that mature to apple-blossom pink. The drought- and heat-tolerant plants don't melt down in summer's heat. 'Wonderful Wampee' grows 18-24 inches tall and wide, gradually spreading to form large clumps. Zones 3-9