Hardy herbaceous perennials, most Achillea (ak-il-lee-uh) form aromatic, soft, feathery, fern-like foliage with clusters of small daisy-like flowers. Tolerant of hot, humid summers, drought, and most growing conditions; plant Achillea, or yarrow, in well-drained soil and full sun.
Achillea is in reference to Achilles, hero of the Trojan Wars in Greek mythology, who used the plant medicinally to stop bleeding and to heal the wounds of his soldiers.
Common yarrow is a rhizomatous, spreading, upright to mat-forming perennial that can be an aggressive. Yarrow is deeply-dissected, fern-like, aromatic, with medium green foliage and tiny, long-lasting flowers that appear throughout the summer on stems typically rising 2 to 3 feet tall. Foliage has a strong, somewhat spicy aroma that persists when used in dried arrangements.
Cultivars and hybrids of common yarrow, most of which have stronger stems, more upright habits and larger flowers, that have become popular flowering plants for ornamental gardens. Cultivars also extend the range of flower colors to include pinks, reds, creams, yellows and bicolor pastels.
Yarrow thrives in average to poor, well-drained soil. Planted in too rich soil, plants have a tendency to be tall and floppy. Tolerant of humidity, heat and drought, after the flowers have faded, pruning the plant back by half should awaken additional blooms for late summer. In the right location, yarrow can spread aggressively. Plants from seed are not reliable to be true to variety. Divide every few years to keep plants to a manageable size.
With a little maintenance, blooms are possible throughout summer in cottage gardens, wild gardens, meadows, prairies and naturalized areas. Common yarrow is often used as a flowering ground cover or lawn for sunny out-of-the-way areas, and sometimes mowed with a rotary mower (use highest setting). Plants slowly spread by rhizomes and can naturalize into substantial colonies over time. Plants grown in warmer zones may require staking. Slightly spicy aroma of stems are stronger when nighttime temperatures are consistently below 70 degrees F; aroma continues when used in dried arrangements. Achilleas make excellent dried flowers.
Yarrow is one of the easiest perennials to grow and is a good choice for beginners. More yarrow common names, include milfoil, thousandleaf, soldier's woundwort, bloodwort, nose bleed, devil's nettle, sanguinary, old-man's-pepper and stenchgrass.
Excellent as a border plant, in containers or for cut and dried flowers, in mass plantings, and Salt Tolerant. Attracts butterflies, Deer and Rabbit resistant.