Yarrow plant: simple rising pollinator bait

There are some people who regard the yarrow as a weed and a nuisance. Others appreciate its beauty and the wonderful biodiversity it brings to the garden. Whether you hate or love yarrow, it is undoubtedly a plant that needs to be appreciated and better understood.

Yarrow is native to the northern hemisphere, where it grows abundantly in fields, meadows and on disturbed soils. It easily establishes itself in favorable conditions and let's just say that's basically everywhere!

If yarrow's reputation as an invasive weed is preventing you from growing it in your garden, then you'll be delighted to learn that the yarrow, Achillea millefolium, is found in many ornamental varieties such as & # 39; Red Velvet & # 39 ;, & # 39; Cerise Queen & # 39; and & # 39; Paprika & # 39; Has yarrow. All look fabulous in garden flower borders, adding splashes of vibrant color and texture.

So why grow yarrow? Not only are the leaves and flowers a pretty addition to any flower garden, they are edible and can be used fresh or dried in many culinary dishes and remedies. Yarrow is also an accumulator of minerals and nutrients from the soil, taking advantage of its deep roots and producing leaves that make excellent fertilizer.

The large flat flower heads are a perfect landing platform for predatory and pollinating insects. Yarrow is often grown in orchards to attract pollinating bees in the spring and to improve soil fertility when mowed and left as mulch.

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Brief instructions for care

The yarrow blends in well with most garden spaces. Source: tess

Common names Yarrow, yarrow, nosebleeds, soldier aroma, yarrow
Scientific name Achillea millefolium
family Asteraceae
Height & Spread 24 × 24 inches (60x60cm)
Bright Full sun to partial shade
floor Loam, sand, silt, clay
water Water when the soil is dry
Pests & Diseases Aphids and powdery mildew

Everything about yarrow

White yarrow flowersWhite yarrow flowers tend to have yellow centers. Source: anneke1998

The botanical name of the yarrow is Achillea millefolium. Common names include yarrow, nosebleed plant, and soldier's wound herb, with the last two names reflecting the medicinal properties of the plant. Achillea millefolium are native to most of the northern hemisphere countries and are particularly common in North America.

You may be surprised to learn that despite the appearance of the flower, the yarrow belongs to the Asteraceae family, rather than the umbelliferae. Take a close look at the flat flower clusters and you will see that each individual flower is a miniature daisy. The flowers are formed in compound umbels that look like a large, flat flower head, when in reality it is a collection of many individual umbels made up of many individual, tightly clustered flowers. Achillea millefolium has mostly white flowers, but can vary with light yellow petals and yellow centers.

Yarrow forms dense clusters of basal leaves that are 15-30 cm long and are deep green, pinnate and aromatic. The name "millefolium" comes from Latin and means "a thousand leaves", which is reflected in the feathery foliage.

Branching spikes of white flowers, about 24 inches (60 cm) in height, develop in summer and last through fall. The leaves on the stems are much smaller and less abundant.

Yarrow spreads easily via its thousands of tiny seeds and sturdy rhizome roots. The seeds are easily carried in the wind to new locations where they can remain viable for up to nine years before germinating. The rhizomes spread quickly underground and multiply easily from the smallest fragment. So be careful when digging them out.

As a semi-evergreen perennial, the old growth dies off in winter, leaving the basal leaves behind to harden it over the winter. Yarrow is an extremely hardy plant that can withstand temperatures well below freezing. The plants will grow in early spring and be ready for a new bloom. Most plants will produce two inflorescences if you remove the early flower spikes before the seeds begin to mature.

Yarrow is perfect for country style, animal or herb garden cultivation. It can also be cared for as part of a lawn or ground cover and adapts well to repeated mowing. The leaves are edible but slightly bitter, so it is best to eat them at a young age. The plant has been used throughout history for its medicinal properties to treat minor wounds, sore muscles, and stomach cramps. It is also used in the beauty industry as an astringent in body washes and shampoos.

The architectural beauty of this plant in the flower borders and the wide variety of insects it will attract into your garden is undeniable. The large, flat flowers attract bees, wasps, butterflies, and beetles who will pollinate your plants, feed on pests such as aphids and mealybugs, and provide food for birds and small mammals.

Plant yarrow

Store-bought plants or grafts grown from seed can be planted outdoors in the spring after the last frost. Choose a bright, sunny spot with well-drained soil, either in the ground, a raised bed, or a very large container. Growing yarrow in containers and raised beds will keep them from becoming invasive, but they need to be split every few years if the plants are overcrowded. Yarrow will quickly outgrow small containers and affect the overall health of the plant.

To grow yarrow, simply place the plants or grafts in the soil at the same depth that they were in the pot or modular tray. If you plant too deep, the crown will rot and too shallow will dry out. Place the plants 30–60 cm apart and keep the soil moist, but not wet, until it is established.


Yarrow budsBefore blooming, the yarrow produces large numbers of flower buds. Source: scottks1

Yarrow is generally self-sufficient. Under the right growing conditions, they are pretty indestructible and very easy to grow.

Sun and temperature

Yarrow grows best in full sun but tolerates light shade. Too much shade and the stems can become leggy and weak and need to be staked out. Yarrow tolerates temperatures down to -25 ° C as well as warm weather and longer dry periods. As soon as temperatures rise above 30 ° C, plants can suffer heat damage.

USDA hardiness zones 3-7 are best for growing yarrow. Old stems and leaves naturally die off in autumn, leaving only the basal leaves that protect the crown and roots over winter. No additional protection is required.

Water and moisture

As a drought tolerant plant, yarrow can do without watering for several weeks. You can wait until the soil is completely dry before watering. However, to keep your yarrow in healthy, pristine condition, it's best to keep the soil slightly moist. Watering with time-controlled soaking hoses or by hand with a watering can or with a water hose directed towards the ground.

Yarrow doesn't like it when its roots are permanently wet. So check the soil moisture levels if the plants show signs of stress. No watering is necessary in winter.


Yarrow isn't picky about soil type. It grows well in sandy, silty, loamy, and clayey soils as long as they are well-drained. Avoid soil that is too nutrient-dense as it will encourage rapid long-legged growth that cannot support the weight of the flower heads. The optimal pH for yarrow is 6 to 8.5.


Fertilizing the yarrow can lead to weak, spindly growth. Yarrow prefers well-drained, poor soil, collects minerals and nutrients from deep within the soil and stores them in the leaves. The leaves can also be harvested and used to make liquid fertilizer or as mulch.


Cut back the first flowering stems in early summer to encourage a second flowering in late summer / early fall and in late fall as part of a general garden cleanup. Removing seed heads before they are ripe also reduces the risk of self-seeding.

If left to its own devices, yarrow can quickly invade other plants in the garden, be invasive, and difficult to manage. To avoid this, raise and split the yarrow every couple of years to control its size and reduce the spread.


Start indoors in spring, 6-8 weeks before the last frost, or early fall for the following spring sowing. Sow in modular trays filled with moist, free-flowing potting soil and lightly cover with sifted compost or vermiculite. Put the pods in a sunny and warm place to germinate. When all threats of frost have passed, place your grafts 30-60 cm apart in a sunny spot in well-drained soil.

Germination of yarrow seeds can be slow and sporadic. An easier alternative is to start with purchased plants or divisions in late spring. Space plants 30-60 cm (12-24 in) and water well.

You can have your own divisions of full-grown yarrow in the fall or spring. Carefully dig around the perimeter of your plant and pull it out of the ground. Using either a sharp knife or two forks, cut the crown back-to-back through the center of the plant into as many subdivisions as you need, making sure that each subdivision has many roots.


Yellow yarrow flowersYellow is another common shade for yarrow flowers. Source: di.wineanddine

Yarrow grows well in most settings and suffers from very few pests and diseases. The main problem with growing yarrow is managing its vigorous growth and potential to become invasive. Here are some tips to help you with any problems you may encounter.

Growing problems

There are a few steps you can take Keeping yarrow under control. This includes cutting off flowers that have faded to prevent self-sowing; Divide plants regularly to keep size in check, or grow yarrow in a raised bed or very large container to limit spread.

Wilting or lack of vitality can be an indication that the Earth is too wet. Yarrow doesn't like to grow in wet conditions, which can lead to stem or root rot. Cut down on watering to allow the soil to dry out, or transplant in soil with improved drainage.

A weak, spindly plant can be the result of soil that is too fertile or a plant that doesn't get enough sunlight. To solve the problem, move the plants in full sun and withhold fertilizer.


The young shoots of the yarrow can be attacked by Aphids (Aphidoidea), small pests that feed on the sap of the new growth. A companion planting with marigolds or marigolds will help deter aphids and encourage beneficial insects in the garden to feed on them. Alternatively, spray with an organic insecticidal soap or neem oil. Crushing aphids with your fingers or a quick spray of water can also help reduce numbers.


Yarrow is prone to mildew when it is overloaded or overshadowed. It grows as thick dust on leaves, inhibits photosynthesis and hinders growth. Maintain good garden hygiene and remove infected leaves to prevent the disease from spreading and re-infecting in years to come. Provide adequate sunlight and air circulation, and break up large clumps if they are overcrowded. Treat affected plants with organic fungicides such as sulfur or potassium bicarbonate before or when disease first appears.

frequently asked Questions

Yarrow and beePollinators love the flowers of the yarrow. Source: alderney boy

Q: Does yarrow like sun or shade?

A: Yarrow prefers to grow in full sun, but tolerates light shade.

Q: is yarrow poisonous to humans?

A: Achillea millefolium leaves are edible and have many culinary and medicinal uses.

Q: Are yarrow plants spreading?

A: Yarrow plants are distributed by underground rhizomes and self-seeding. Under optimal growing conditions, yarrow can become quite invasive.

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