Cedar Valley Arboretum & Botanic Gardens

Plant of the Week: Yarrow

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Some plants never disapoint: they come up every year, grow with little fuss and bloom profusely.  Yarrow is one of those perennials for me.  The only negative comment I can make about yarrow is that every once in a while you can pick a weedier cultivar that spreads beyond its given space.  If that happens, I simply dig the overzealous plant up (you could also regularly thin if you want to keep) and try out another cultivar.

Genus:  Achillea

Other common names I found when searching included:  gordaldo, nosebleed plant, old man’s pepper, devil’s nettle, sanguinary, milifoil, soldier’s woundwort, thousand-leaf, and thousand-seal.  What a collection!  I have heard milifoil before, but none of the others.

Family:  Asteraceae (this family used to be called Compositae)

Other flowering perennials in this family are often easy to pick out with their daisy-like blooms.  Zinnia, coreopsis, chrysanthemums and black-eyed susans are also in the Asteraceae family.

The soft (sometimes hairy), feathery foliage is aromatic and if grown too thick, might develop fungal problems.  If you do start seeing fungal growth, simply thin out your perennial for better air circulation and make sure you are not overwatering.  Most yarrow cultivars have a prominent, flat-topped bloom cluster called an umbel.  The blooms are long-lasting in the garden and also make excellent dried cut flowers.  To encourage second blooming and refresh the perennial, consider cutting back after first bloom.  This will also discourage legginess in your plant.

The airy texture of yarrow make it an excellent companion plant to uprigth perennials like liatris and veronica.  Last summer I planted Achillea millefolium ‘Appleblossom’ in the Rose Garden as a rose companion plant along with artemesia, salvia, huechera and poppy.  Already I can tell it is going to be a great “filler” plant and look forward to seeing it take off next summer.


See you in the gardens.


Written by cedarvalleyarboretum

January 19, 2011 at 7:38 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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