Growers Guide for Yarrow – Achillea

How to Grow Achillea Yarrow

Named after Achilles, who is said to have used it as a treatment for his wounds (Compositae). Yarrow, milfoil. Hardy perennials, for the border or border rock garden.

Species grown today

  • Border Achilles filipendulina, large, plate-like heads of yellow flowers in summer; cultivars include ‘Gold Plate,’ 4-5 feet, ‘Flowers of Sulfur, 2 feet, soft sulfur yellow flowers and powdered leaves, and ‘Canary Bird,’ 1-2 feet.
  • Achilles millefolium, form of the native ‘Old Man’s Pepper’ ; cultivars are `Cerise Queen’, 2 feet, with rose-cerise flowers in July in a loose head, `Crimson Beauty, 24feet, and ‘Fire King, 2-2.5 feet (probably the best).
  • Achilles ptarmica (sneeze-wort), 2 feet, a white-flowered native, has several good cultivars of which ‘The Pearl’, 2feet, with small, tightly double flowers is the best.
  • Achilles sibirica, 1 feet, White flowers; `Perry’s White , 2-3 feet, is a fine variety.

Rock Garden Yarrows

  • Achilles ageratifolia, 4 inches, grey-white leaves and white flowers.
  • Achilleschrysocoma has mats of grey leaves and yellow flowers on 4-6-inch stems.
  • Achilles huteri, silvery tufts, short-stemmed white flowers.
  • Achilles King Edward‘ (syn. A. x lewsii)4 inches, grey-green mats, buff-yellow flowers all summer.
  • Achilles portae, 4 inches, grey leaves, white flowers.
  • Achilles prichardii 4 inches, grey mats, white flowers.
  • Achilles rupestris, 4-6 inches, foliage creeping, sprays of white flowers, May.
  • Achilles tomentosa. 9 inches. leaves grey, flowers golden yellow; needs protection from winter dampness; var. aurea flowers deeper yellow.

Where to plant and grow Yarrow

Achilleas flourish in almost any soil, provided it is not sour or waterlogged, and revel in the sunshine. They prefer lime but are quite tolerant of acid conditions. They have tiny or double daisy-like flowers collected in loose clusters or flat heads and bloom in summer. Foliage is fern-like, stems stiff and unbreakable and the fragrance somewhat pungent. Some varieties are recommended for winter arrangements of dried flowers, the best being A. filipendula, *Gold Plate’, and if the heads are stored in powdered alum until quite dry, they last well and retain all their color. Plant in autumn or spring or divide the plants at this time. Sow seed 1/2 inch deep in early summer. Border kinds should be lifted and divided every three or four years and the shoots cut down in winter.

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