Growing Yarrow Plants in Your Garden
Gardeners particularly love yarrows for their resilience as they can withstand cold weather, humid summers, poor soil conditions, and even drought to bloom beautifully. These plants have fern-like foliage and colorful flowers, making them a pretty addition to wildflower and cottage gardens. Over the years, they breed a range of hybrids to boast a garden with vibrant blooms of all colors. If you are looking for ways to cultivate yarrows in your garden, continue reading to find out all you need to know about their types, nurturing tips, and propagation.
What Is Yarrow?
Yarrows are perennial herbs that grow in the wild and are known for their resilience and drought-resistant qualities. They are invasive in several parts of the country as they can grow quite well even under harsh weather conditions and unfavorable soils. In the wild, yarrows mostly come in white and cream. For years, they have been bred to produce flowers in varied colors such as bright yellow, soft pink, warm apricot, and rich reds.
Yarrows are extremely easy to grow because of their inherent ability to thrive in minimal conditions, making them ideal for budding gardeners or those looking for a low-maintenance addition to their flower beds. Since these plants are highly adaptive in drought conditions, they need well-drained soils to thrive and do not grow well in wet soils. They also need abundant sunshine and can tolerate some shade.
In recent years, newer varieties of the plant have been developed to improve their flaws. They are shorter, making them more resistant to breaking in the strong winds, and the color choices are getting richer. Yarrows are excellent to decorate the balcony, and the newer variants also maintain their blooms longer.
What Are the Basic Requirements of Yarrow?
Before you go about planting yarrows, here are some basics you need to know:
- Plant Type
They do well in zones 3-9
- Bloom Time
Depending on the climate, they bloom from early summer to early fall. In warmer zones, they start flowering earlier. And, in colder zones, the flowering can go until fall.
- Length of Bloom
3 months or more
How tall the yarrow would grow depends on the species. However, they can grow from anywhere between 8 inches to 5 feet.
- Ornamental Qualities
The plant produces flowers that are flat-topped and clustered. Each cluster could be made of a dozen florets. The colors of the flowers range widely from white to yellow, red, and gold. The foliage is also feathery and attractive that remains evergreen.
Varieties of Yarrow Flowers
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Here we list some very popular types of yarrow that you can choose from for your garden:
- Common Yarrow- Achillea Millefolium
The achillea yarrow is the native species of these plants in North America. They have excellent drought resistance and are often found in the most inhospitable conditions. You will see them on roadsides and blanketing abandoned fields. The plant is very low maintenance and grows to about 3 ft. tall. It is found in zones 3-9.
- Coronation Gold- Achillea
This dazzling golden-yellow variety is a hybrid of two different yarrow types- A. filipenddulina and A. clypeolata. The flowers can be up to 5 inches across, and the foliage is a complimentary gray-green. It can grow up to 3 ft. and thrives well in zones 3-9.
- Moonshine- Achillea
This variety has lemon-yellow flowers that stay from early summer to fall. Some gardeners prefer them as they can be easily contained. The plants are sterile and so do not self propagate. They grow up to 2 ft. tall and thrive in zones 3-9.
- Serbian Yarrow- Achillea Serbica
This small yarrow species is particularly chosen for its characteristic low, dense mat of green foliage covered with pretty daisy-like flowers and can be a perfect decoration for rock gardens. The plants grow to 4 inches in height and thrive in zones 3-9.
- Sassy Summer Taffy- Achillea millefolium
The plants are bred by the wholesale nursery, Walters Gardens, and produce dark pink flowers that eventually turn light pink as they mature. Their dense cluster offers a nice contrast of pink flowers with green foliage.
- Summer Pastels- Achillea millefolium
The summer pastels are particularly bred to include various shades such as purple, pink, rose, and salmon. They are grown from seeds and bear flowers in only a year. They reach 2 ft. in height and can thrive in zones 3-8.
- Red Velvet- Achillea millefolium
These are of the same species as the last two but feature intense red flowers. They are resistant to fading and blooms for a longer period, retaining its hue throughout. The plant can grow up to 3 ft. and thrive in zones 4-8.
- Peachy Seduction- Achillea millefolium
This flower has orange-red and peach-colored petals that are densely packed. The overall plant has a shorter stature and does well in flower beds and planters. They grow up to 24 inches tall and thrive in zones 4-8.
- Paprika- Achillea millefolium
The paprika is a favorite among many as the pinkish-red flowers with bright yellow centers. They self propagate quickly to form dense mats of the plant. These species grow about 2 ft. tall and flourish in zones 3-8.
Pros of Yarrow
Here are some of the reasons why yarrows are excellent plants to grow:
- The flowers are easy to cut and last for weeks in a vase.
- They are mostly untouched by common beasts and animals such as rodents and deer.
- They can grow even in soil of lower quality.
- The leaves give off a strong and beautiful aroma when crushed.
Cons of Yarrow
Here are some of the reasons why yarrows may not be a preferred plant to grow:
- The taller varieties need staking.
- They can be easily infected by diseases like mildew and stem rot if planted in wet soil or very shaded places.
- They need periodic division after every few years to stay invigorated.
- They can be harmful to some animals, especially dogs, cats, and horses. Accidental consumption can cause diarrhea, hypersalivation, and depression.
How to Plant Yarrow?
Yarrows are often sold as seedlings or as a plant since it is propagated mostly through division. Once you buy them from a nursery, plant them 12 to 24 inches apart if you wish to grow more than one in a flower bed. You can also grow yarrow from seed by sowing them indoors 6 to 8 weeks before the last frost date. First, sow the seeds in a moist potting mix in a planter. Next, place the planter in a location that receives enough sunlight. The seeds will germinate in 2 to 3 weeks, depending on the conditions. Covering the germination pot with a plastic sheet to retain moisture and heat will speed up the germination process.
The seedlings should be planted in full sunlight. They need as much sun as they can get to thrive well. When planting them in a flower bed, space them 1 ft. to 2 ft. apart to give them room to spread.
How to Grow and Care for Yarrow
Follow these tips to grow and care for your yarrow:
One of the first questions that pop up in your mind is how much sun does yarrow need. The answer is yarrows do well with a minimum of 6-8 hours of direct sunlight every day. So avoid planting them in the shade.
- Soil Requirements
Although yarrows are famous for growing in poor soils, damp soils will cause the tall varieties to flop. They typically do well in well-drained or dry soil that is slightly acidic.
Prepare the beds by tilling about 12 to 15 inches of the soil and mixing it with a 2-4 inch layer of compost. Plant the seedlings in later spring or early summer.
- Water and Fertilizing
Yarrows thrive well even with scanty watering. Lightly spray water periodically to keep the bed moderately damp but not too moist while the plants are still growing. After they grow, water the plants only when the ground turns dry. Yarrows need almost no fertilizing.
To propagate the yarrow, divide the bed every 2 to 3 years and plant new beds. Dividing also reinvigorates old plants.
When Is The Right Time to Plant Yarrow?
Here are a couple of tips to plant your yarrow at the right time:
- When planting seedlings outside in the garden, ensure it is done after the frost. Late spring and early summers are ideal times to plant them.
- When planting them as tip cuttings, plant them early summer.
Where to Plant Yarrow?
Consider these tips when looking for a place to plant yarrows:
- Yarrows are naturally sun-loving plants that need well-drained soil for good growth. Therefore, your flower bed should be in a location that gets 6 hours or more sunlight every day. Too much shadow makes them leggy.
- Yarrows cannot tolerate damp soils. Therefore, avoid placing them close to other plants that thrive well in damp soils. The yarrow bed could be the driest place in your yard.
- Yarrows grow quite quickly wherever they are placed, especially the native species that are not sterile. They grow aggressively and can take over other parts of the yard. If possible, ensure they are separated from other beds by stone or concrete pavements.
- If you have a patch in your garden with natural unworked ground that you don’t wish to work on any time soon, it can make an excellent location to plant the yarrows.
What Pests and Diseases Yarrow Is Susceptible to?
Pests or diseases rarely attack yarrows. However, certain conditions predispose to attacks from:
- The fungus causes mildew and botrytis, which look like white powder on the leaves. It can be treated with common fungicides.
- Spittlebugs that clump like spit on the plants often attack the leaves and stem. They can be blasted away with a jet of water.
Yarrow plants are native to North America and are popular for their vibrant blooms that contrast well with their feathery leaves. Being drought-resistant, they are preferred by gardeners as the plants need very low maintenance and can grow in poor soil conditions.