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The many different species of yarrow (Achillea) are popular not only with the woolly four-legged friends, to whom they owe their name. Gardeners, too, love the robust, versatile perennials, whose more than 100 different species are native to Europe and West Asia. The botanical name Achillea is due to Achilles, who according to legend, provided his wounds with the medicinal plant.


The plant, which belongs to the asteraceae family, includes species with stature heights between 10 (Achillea umbellata) and 150 centimeters (Achillea filipendulina). The habit varies from species to species. There are some that grow hirsutically, others form dense cushions, and others tend to proliferate and quickly colonize larger areas.


The finely feathered leaves sit alternately on the taut upright stems. They introduced the common yarrow their species name "millefolium" (thousand petalled), as it seems as if they were composed of innumerable small leaflets. The leaves are arranged alternately and usually cut one or more times. Rarely do you also find entire leaves. Depending on the species, the foliage is sometimes gray-green, sometimes green and slightly hairy. For some varieties, it also smells aromatic.


Yarrow flowers in many different colors, from soft pink to bright pink to rich carmine red. Also very attractive are the multicolored Achillea Filipendulina hybrids like 'Tierra del Fuego' or 'Terracotta'. While the flowers of the common yarrow are creamy white, the golden sheaf, whose hybrids are also called Edelgarben, lives up to its name and shines in intense yellows. Particularly popular here are the two bright yellow varieties 'Credo' and 'Coronation Gold', which are considered very stable. Common to all, however, is the flower form: Numerous, tiny single flowers form the striking cowslips. The individual flowers consist of small ray flowers, which can be colored differently. In their midst are tiny disc florets, which are usually yellow in all species and varieties. The flowers appear in June and then bloom in many varieties even into September. They emit predominantly an aromatic scent that magically attracts bees and other insects.

Yarrow 'Terracotta' (Achillea Filipendulina-Hybrida)

The flowers of the Achillea Filipendulina hybrid 'Terracotta' vary in color between yellow-orange and red


After flowering, yarrow forms inconspicuous yellowish to grayish fruits, in which are the tiny brown seeds.


The yarrow makes no high demands on their location, but is ideal for all species a sunny location in the living areas bed and open space.


Yarrows prefer a well-drained, light, sandy soil, but may be rich in nutrients. Especially the species with gray foliage need such a good drainage, because they prefer to dry. The green-leaved species also cope with humid soils.


Since most yarrows prefer nutrient-rich, well-drained soils, they should improve on lean soils before planting with some compost, loosen heavy clay soils with sand or gravel. The best planting times for yarrow are - as for most perennials - the spring and the fall. Before planting, the root balls are dipped, that is, kept in a bucket with water until no more air bubbles rise. Even after planting the perennials watering again penetrates. This ensures that the freshly set root ball and the surrounding earth connect faster.

Yarrow Achillea Coronation Gold

Coronation Gold is one of the most popular yellow flowering varieties of yarrow


Yarrow is not one of the longest-lived perennials in the garden; After about five years is usually over. Unless you divide the plants regularly every three to four years. The best period for this is the spring after the budding or early autumn immediately after flowering. Here, the eyrie is root-deep rooted and leveraged the piece to be split with the spade from the planting hole. Then divide the rooted soil with the spade in two pieces. When planting, hand over a handful of horn shavings into the planting hole to help plants grow. After insertion, the yarrow must be well-poured.
Denser flower beds can be achieved by snapping off weak shoots. If you remove deciduous umbels in time, they will be followed in most cases by a re-flowering. Fertilizing is usually not necessary. On the contrary: on too nutrient-rich soils, the stability of millefolium hybrids may even suffer.Species that prefer a nutrient-rich soil, but you can help in the spring with a composting the start of the new season.
You need to water your yarrow regularly just after planting. Otherwise, most species and varieties cope better with dry soil than with too wet. Waterlogging should be avoided as it can lead to root rot.


The yarrow can be cut back to the base in autumn. However, since their umbels are very stable and give nice pictures in the bed, it is worthwhile to let them stand over the winter and only shortly before the new shoot to grab pruning shears.

Sharp yarrow

Every three to four years you should rejuvenate your yarrow by division


The type of use depends on the stature height. While the native common yarrow mainly decorates natural gardens, gold sheaves and precious sheaves (Achillea-Millefolium and Filipendulina hybrids) are the perfect partner for many sun-loving magnificent perennials and come in individual stand out particularly well. Beautiful contrasts form plants with other flower forms, for example, purple sunhat (Echinacea), sage (Salvia) or ball thistles (Echinops), and ornamental grasses. The low species are suitable for use in rockeries as well as for troughs and bowls.
Above all, the high types of yarrow are good cut flowers, but they can also be used well for the production of dry bouquets. The common yarrow has been used for centuries as a medicinal plant and has analgesic effect.

Types and varieties

From the horticultural point of view, the common yarrow (Achillea millefolium) and the gold sheaf (Achillea filipendulina) are particularly interesting. Rarely, however, find in the gardens, the respective species use, rather it is the hybrids. One differentiates between the manifoldly colored Millefolium hybrids and the revolutionary Filipendulina hybrids. To understand the difference, it is best to mentally move to a meadow grazed by sheep. Her name was given to the common yarrow, which is valued in folk medicine, because it is so eaten by sheep. Their ability to rinse off after biting is also used in the garden, as it blooms here a second time after pruning - until late autumn.

Yarrow and ornamental grasses

New yarrow hybrids create flaming shades in the bed

Another survival strategy of the common yarrow is its proliferating. If you have the space to let them go, unplanned beautiful combinations can result. In contrast, the gold sheaves and their hybrids, which are still known from farmer gardens, grow rather harsh. For this reason, they are very popular with gardeners and now belong to the standard range of perennial gardeners. Some of the best-known Filipendulina hybrids come from the breeding of Ernst Pagels, a famous yarrow breeder from East Frisia, who discovered a novelty in his garden nursery in the 1990s. The yellow Beetstauden classic Achillea filipendulina had crossed on a neighboring field with wild forms. Meanwhile, this discovery has spawned a new generation of blooming, well-established and non-proliferating varieties of the Filipendulina hybrids, such as the red-orange 'Walter Funke' or 'Terracotta', whose color holds what the name promises.


Yarrow can be propagated both by division and by sowing. Especially in hybrids, the seedlings are rarely true to the species.

Diseases and pests

The yarrows are very robust plants. Occasionally, they can be affected by powdery mildew, mildew or rust. If the location is too humid, even snails can be a problem, so you should make heavy soils with some gravel permeable.

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