Their wide range of colours makes yarrows the perfect plant for the border. It’s no wonder this plant has been such a favourite for so many years. From so many varieties, everyone will find just the right one. Bees and butterflies also love this garden plant.
With its dozens of tiny flowers in a flat flower head, the yarrow is classified as a member of the composite family (Asteraceae). Their huge palette of colours, including yellow, pink, purple, orange, red and white, can be enjoyed from June until September. Every one of its individual florets produces nectar that attracts bees and butterflies. And new varieties are constantly being introduced.
Achillea and Achilles
An old folk tale has it that the yarrow’s Latin name – Achillea – is related to Achilles, the ancient Greek hero who cured a wound on the centaur Chiron with this plant. The narrow pinnate leaves of many yarrow varieties are aromatic. The shortest varieties are only about 10 centimetres tall while the tallest flower heads can easily reach a height of 120 centimetres.
Yarrows are easy-care plants that love full sun. They should be planted in well-draining soil. This is especially important during the winter when they don’t like to get their feet wet. Except for heavy clay, any kind of soil is suitable. Yarrows can easily withstand some drought so water them only during long periods without rain. For a repeat flowering, remove spent flowers.
Tips for yarrows
- Yarrows make good cut flowers that you can also dry. Today, dried flowers are a major trend, so you can enjoy your yarrows even longer.
- These plants make a beautiful display when planted among ornamental grasses as well as plants with different flower shapes such as coneflowers (Echinacea), blazing star (Liatris) and giant hyssop (Agastache). Experiment with colours: use similar hues or try contrasting ones.
- Divide the plant every couple of years in the spring and then replant them. This will reinvigorate the plants and keep them beautiful in the border for years to come.