Growing Yarrow Plants – A Full Planting Guide

Introduction to Growing Yarrow Plants:The scientific name of the Yarrow plant is Achillea millefolium and it is a herbaceous flowering perennial. It is easy to grow Yarrow in flower beds or a herb garden and it is a lovely addition to your yard. Yarrow plant care is so easy.

Yarrow is a perennial plant with fern-like leaves and small blooms that are white but can also available in many colors like yellow, pink, or purple. Growing Yarrow seeds are a fun and easy process. When growing Yarrow from seed, these pretty perennial bloomers flower the first year. Though, Yarrow seeds provide an economical alternative when you need many Yarrow plants to fill in a garden bed. Then, all you need to get started is soil, a container, and some patience.

A Planting Guide for Growing Yarrow Plants

A Planting Guide for Growing Yarrow Plants
A Planting Guide for Growing Yarrow Plants (Image source: pixabay)

Some Recommended Yarrow Varieties

  • ‘Coronation Gold’ – It has beautiful mustard-yellow flowers and silvery gray leaves.
  • ‘Fanal’ (or ‘The Beacon’) – It has rich red flowers with yellow centers.
  • ‘Cerise Queen’ – It grows deep pink flowers and dark green foliage.
  • ‘Little Moonshine’ – It is a compact variety that only grows to 9 to 12 inches tall; features bright yellow flowers and silvery-green leaves
  • ‘New Vintage Red’ – It grows to 12 to 15 inches tall with vibrant red flowers and bright green leaves
  • ‘Paprika’ Yarrow – ‘Paprika’ blooms in brilliant scarlet red with a distinctive yellow eye. With age, the flowers take on a pink hue and the plant blooms all summer if deadheaded. Zones 3-9. A Galaxy hybrid that grows brick-red flowers that are 2 to 3 inches wide with blooms that eventually fades to shades of pink.
  • ‘Wonderful Wampee’ Yarrow – It blooms from early to late summer with light pink flower clusters that mature to apple-blossom pink. The drought and heat-tolerant plants don’t meltdown in summer’s heat. It grows 18 to 24 inches tall and wide, gradually spreading to form large clumps. Zones 3-9
  • ‘Pomegranate’ Yarrow – It has deep red blooms that hold their color well in the garden. If deadheaded after the first flush of bloom, plants push out additional flowers until a hard freeze in fall. ‘Pomegranate’ Yarrow grows 24-30 inches tall and wide. Zones 3-9
  • ‘Pink Grapefruit’ Yarrow – ‘Pink Grapefruit’ Yarrow is a compact, vigorous plant with large domed flowers that open deep pink and slowly change to creamy rose. Zones 3-9

Quick Overview about Growing Yarrow Plants

  • Botanical Name – Achillea millefolium
  • Common Name – Yarrow, Common Yarrow, devil’s nettle, sanguinary
  • Plant Type – Herbaceous flowering perennial
  • Mature Size – 2 to 3 feet tall, 2 to 3 feet wide
  • Sun Exposure – Full sun
  • Soil Type – Sandy, loamy, clay, well-draining
  • Soil pH level – 4 to 8
  • Bloom Time – June to September
  • Flower Color – White, Yellow, Red, Orange, and Pink
  • Hardiness Zones – 3 to 9, but can vary depending on the cultivar.
  • Bloom time – Early summer too early fall, depending on the climate. In warmer growing zones, Yarrow flowering begins earlier; in cooler zones, it often continues into the fall season.
  • Length of bloom – 3 months or longer
  • Height – Changes by species, ranging anywhere from 8 inches to 5 feet.

Preparing a Planting Site for Growing Yarrow Plants

  • For growing Yarrow plants, the selected site receives full sun to encourage compact growth and many flowers. In the partial sun, Yarrow will grow leggy.
  • Yarrow plant performs best in well-drained soil. It thrives in hot, dry conditions; and it will not tolerate constantly wet soil.
  • If you grow Yarrow in too-rich soil, the plants could require staking due to overenthusiastic growth. To keep it from growing Yarrow too tall, choose a site with average to poor soil and supplement it with a bit of compost to give the plants a good start.

Soil and Light Requirement for Growing Yarrow Plants

For growing Yarrow plants, it prefers full sunlight but it can grow well in partial shade. If the Yarrow plant doesn’t get enough sunlight, the long stems can become floppy and need to be staked. Common Yarrow plant grows best in dry to medium, well-drained soils, whether sandy clay or sandy loam soils. It can tolerate poor garden soils. Soils that are too nutrient-rich will encourage aggressive growth, so they must be avoided. Although Yarrow plants will grow well in just about any type of soil, taller types tend to flop in soils that are rich or overly moist. They are at their best growing in well-drained and slightly acidic soil. If you have trouble growing a Yarrow plant, it’s most likely because your soil is too wet.

Avoid soil with excessive moisture and it grows best in drier soil but will still flourish in moist soil if it is properly drained. If you notice that the soil retains a lot of water or always looks wet, it is probably not a good place to plant Yarrow. Soils composed of sand tend to drain sufficiently, but clay-based soils do not. Creating a raised bed with a mixture of clay and then coarse sand can allow for better drainage if necessary.

The ideal soil for growing Yarrow is sandy, and of average to poor quality. This is one plant that does not have a preference for organically rich loam soil. It can grow in fertile soil, but will likely grow too fast and become “leggy,” and result in the plant stems flopping under the weight of heavy blooms. The soil pH level should be between 4.0 and 8.0. A measurement of 6.4 is considered optimal. To determine your soil’s pH level, conduct a soil test through your local agricultural extension office. The soil quality may be somewhat poor, but the drainage should be excellent. The Yarrow plant is not a plant that puts up with wet feet, nor does it appreciate humid conditions.

Propagation of Yarrow Plants

Yarrow propagates easily and in several ways, including via division, stem cuttings, and seeds. Usually, a division is the most convenient method to propagate Yarrow, because it grows best if divided about every 3 years, and you can plant the divided segment immediately in the garden. Stem cuttings need a period of indoor planting, and seeds take the longest of the 3 methods to see results. To grow this colorful Yarrow perennial, you can sow seeds, divide existing plants, or take tip cuttings.

Growing Yarrow from Seeds

  • During the winter season, Yarrow can be grown from seeds indoors and transferred to the garden in spring.
  • Generally, Yarrow seeds need light to germinate, so it’s best to sow the seeds in a tray with enough potting mix to barely cover the seeds.
  • Place the tray in a warm place and the seeds will germinate in about 14 to 28 days.
  • For flowers in the 1st year, you can start seed indoors or in a greenhouse in February or March. Then, sow in seed trays with well-draining potting soil.
  • Germination takes 1 to 2 weeks. Some ideal conditions for growing Yarrow include a temperature of approximately 18-21°C and 90% humidity.
  • Once sprouted, the temperature level may be reduced to 12-15°C.
  • You can thin the seedlings and then transplant the sturdiest plants to individual pots at this time, and fertilize with a high nitrogen fertilizer based on the package instructions.
  • Alternatively, you may direct sow seeds in the garden at a depth of about 1/2 inch, after the last average frost date for your region has passed.
  • Apply high nitrogen fertilizer once, just after the Yarrow seeds sprout. Expect flowers in the second year.

Propagating Yarrow by Cuttings

  • You can make new plants by dividing mature ones in the early spring season. The advantage of this process is that divisions will replicate the exact traits of the parent plant.
  • Choose a section of the plant with 2 or 3 stems and cut straight down through the thick rhizomes to separate it from the main clump, for immediate planting elsewhere.
  • Propagating Yarrow from cuttings, use a sharp knife and cut a stem of soft spring growth off at the 3rd or 4th leaf node down from the top, about 6 inches long.
  • To start, cut off about 6 inches of tender growth. Then, strip the bottom about 2 inches of the cutting and dip it into the rooting hormone. And, you can buy rooting hormones at most nursery stores.
  • After that, place the cuttings into a pot that is filled with potting soil and then keep it in a sunny location. Be sure to keep the soil moist. Around 3 weeks after placing the cutting into the ground, check for root growth by gently tugging on the plant.

Propagating Yarrow by Division

  • Propagating Yarrow by division is important because it helps it grow more vigorously and keeps the plant healthy. To begin the division process, loosen the soil around the Yarrow plant and use a shovel to dig it up. Then, cut the plant in half with a shovel and you can divide it several times, as long as each segment has about 3 shoots.
  • Carefully, dividing Yarrow plants is the act of taking a grown plant and dividing it into segments.
  • To plant a new segment, carefully dig a hole in a sunny location with well-drained soil. The hole must be large enough to easily accommodate the root ball. Then, cover up the roots and water the plant until the soil is thoroughly moist. Do not divide the Yarrow plant during its bloom period.

Process of Planting Yarrow

  • Yarrow is mostly propagated by division, so chances are you’ll buy Yarrow as a plant. Space your plants about 12 to 24 inches apart if you’re planting more than one Yarrow plant. Also, you can start Yarrow herb from seed.
  • Start Yarrow seeds indoors about 6 to 8 weeks before your last frost date. Sow the seeds in moist, normal potting soil. Then, the seeds should be covered by the potting soil. Depending on the conditions, the seeds must germinate in 14 to 21 days.
  • By covering the top of the pot with plastic wrap to keep in moisture and heat you can speed up the Yarrow germination process. The Yarrow plants thrive in a wide variety of soils but do best in well-drained soil. Yarrow plants will even grow in poor dry soils with low fertility. Some caution must be taken when growing Yarrow in the right conditions; it can become invasive and will then need control.

Tips for Growing Yarrow

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Tips for Growing Yarrow
Tips for Growing Yarrow (Pic source: pixabay)
  • Yarrow is a popular perennial plant because it’s drought-tolerant, pest-resistant, and attracts butterflies, ladybugs, and beneficial insects.
  • Yarrow is very easy to grow and requires little maintenance for it to thrive. The most important thing to know is that Yarrow will not do well in wet soils, so make sure to plant it in well-drained soil. Once established, the Yarrow plant is extremely drought-tolerant, making it a great plant for use in low-maintenance, dry gardens.
  • The Yarrow plant is adaptable, tolerating a wide range of conditions. It grows in poor, alkaline soils, as well as slightly acidic and moist soil. It tolerates drought, cold, and heat. The seeds germinate quickly and the Yarrow plant also spreads through underground rhizomes.

Growing Yarrow in Containers

  • Yarrow plants are easy to grow in containers. Then, it is a flower; it can masquerade as a decoration rather than an herb.
  • Dried Yarrow can be applied to a bleeding wound to encourage rapid clotting. Also, it has some cleansing and supporting qualities if taken internally as a tea, and it goes well with mint.
  • There are several ways for growing Yarrow. The first method is to buy an established plant, which can be done online. Usually, it will be delivered in a small pot or container for potting on. The second way is to start from seed. Yarrow plant grows quickly, so seed growing method is the better and also cheaper option. Unusually, the seeds need light to germinate so keep them in a warm and bright spot. The seeds can take up to about 3 weeks to germinate.
  • Yarrow plant is very unfussy and grows in a range of different conditions in the wild. If you want to blend your mix, simply combine about ⅓ compost, ⅓ coir, and ⅓ perlite. Forking some slow-release fertilizer into the surface of the potting soil at the beginning of spring will lead to vigorous growth through the summer season. Yarrow plant prefers a sunny spot but, if you’re short on space, will manage quite happily in dappled shade.
  • West and east-facing locations are perfect. It’s also a good companion plant; repelling pests whilst attracting predatory insects such as wasps and ladybirds, so put your pot in amongst other edibles if possible. Remember that the Yarrow plant is herbaceous, meaning that the foliage above the soil line will die back over winter. Through the plant growing season, it will reach a maximum height of between 20 to 40 inches. As with most edible container growing plants, use the biggest pot you can manage. Any container that’s 4 liters and above will be ok.

Water and Fertilizing Requirements for Growing Yarrow

Yarrow plant is drought-tolerant, but if the garden receives less than 1 inch of rain in any given week, give the plant extra water. Yarrow plants are very low-maintenance plants, so an annual side-dressing with compost should be enough. A soil that is too nutrient-rich can encourage the invasive spreading of the plant. Keep the soil evenly moist until the roots become established but after that only water your Yarrow plants when the soil is completely dry. Fertilization is rarely needed.

Water your Yarrow plants deeply at least once a week the first summer. Yarrow plant likes dry soil, watering helps the plant develop its thick roots and sets the stage for longevity and growth. Once the plant has been established, no extra watering is required if located outside, especially on an irrigated lawn. Apply fertilizer to your Yarrow, if needed.

How to Prune a Yarrow Plant

Yarrow plant needs to be pruned regularly for a few reasons: Firstly, deadheading will keep the flowers in near-continual bloom. Also, the plant stems can begin to flop, particularly if it’s grown in a hot, humid climate. Cut back the plant stems in the late spring season, before the Yarrow flowers, to reduce the plant height and avoid that flopping. Finally, Yarrow can, in certain conditions, become invasive. The pruning process will help keep the plant in check by avoiding self-sowing.

Dividing and Transplanting Yarrow – Yarrow must be divided at least every three years to keep the plants healthy and to avoid the center part dying off. The best time to divide the Yarrow plants is in early spring. Then, the outer portions can be retained and the middle sections discarded.

Pests and Diseases Control for Growing Yarrow

Yarrow plant is susceptible to the following problems;

  • Aphids
  • Powdery mildew
  • Rust
  • Stem rot

While the Yarrow plant needs little care, it is susceptible to a few diseases and pests. Most commonly, Yarrow plants will be affected by either botrytis mold or powdery mildew. These will both appear as a white powdery covering on the plant leaves. Both can be treated with a fungicide. Also, Yarrow plants are occasionally affected by spittlebugs.

Yarrow doesn’t need much attention, but it can be susceptible to botrytis mold and powdery mildew, both of which will appear as a white powder on the plant leaves. Then, treat it with an appropriate fungicide. Also, Yarrow can be affected by spittlebugs, which look like a little bit of spit on plants.

Yarrow plant has few disease or pest problems, although it is prone to a few fungal diseases. To reduce some disease problems, plant Yarrow in sun and thin it out when the plant becomes crowded, so that air circulates freely. Don’t compost them. If the disease is a problem, use drip systems or soaker hoses instead of overhead sprinklers, which spread disease by wetting the plant leaves. Water early in the morning, rather than at night, so plant leaves dry quickly, and don’t work in the garden while it’s wet.

Powdery Mildew – This fungal disease causes white growth to form on plant leaves. It appears late in the season, particularly in hot and dry weather conditions. Carefully remove any parts of plants that have powdery mildew on them. Some growers say that baking soda is also an effective preventative method. You can help to reduce powdery mildew disease by improving air circulation around your plants by thinning and pruning.

Rust – It is a fungal disease and that starts on the underside of leaves. You might notice white, raised spots on the plant leaves and stems. Then, these spots turn into reddish-orange spores that eventually become black. Severe infestations cause deformities and lead to plant leaves dropping off. Make sure that you remove infected leaves and apply copper sprays or sulfur powders to get rid of this disease.

When and How to Harvest Yarrow

All parts of the Yarrow plant are edible and it is best to harvest just after flowering. The way you harvest will change depending on whether you are planning on growing from seed every year or want to keep it as a perennial. In either case, snip off all of the flower heads, which make a yummy tea, when they appear. Some people will just harvest the Yarrow flowers, leaving the stems and leaves intact. It’s possible to have multiple harvests in one season because the plant will keep producing blooms until it enters dormancy over winter. If you’re growing Yarrow from seed every year, it’s best to harvest in one go after the appearance of flowers, cutting the main stems near the ground. Alternatively, if you want good growth next year, only snip off about ⅓ of stems, leaving the rest until they die back in autumn. By cutting off only a third, you will allow the plant to replenish its roots with nutrients that will be used for next year’s growth. Leaves and stems are best used in salads and flowers can be dried and used in tea.

Your timeline for harvesting Yarrow will vary based on winter and spring weather patterns. Variables from one year to the next can make harvest earlier or later.  Once the flower stalks and buds appear, you’ll know that your Yarrow harvest is only a few weeks away.

Yarrow is an excellent dried flower, and then you can harvest and dry them for medicinal purposes. Dig up the entire Yarrow plant at full bloom and hang the stalks and flowers upside-down in a well-ventilated room out of direct sunlight. Brush the soil off the roots (don’t wash) and dry them in a warm oven, then store them whole in a dark, dry, cool cupboard until you are ready to use them.

Commonly Asked Questions about Growing Yarrow

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Questions about Growing Yarrow
Questions about Growing Yarrow (Pic source: pixabay)

How much sunlight does Yarrow need?

Yarrow plant prefers to grow in a position that is in full sun. The plants can survive in areas that are partially shaded but the stems will stretch and become floppy.

Is Yarrow easy to grow from seed?

Yarrow is incredibly easy to grow from seed.

How long does it take to grow Yarrow from seed?

For growing Yarrow plants, it takes approximately 10-14 days.

Does Yarrow need full sun?

When planting Yarrow, start with a place in full sun.

How long does Yarrow take to mature?

Yarrow plants begin to bloom in late spring to the early summer season. Many species of Yarrow continue to bloom until the early fall season.

How much space is needed between plants?

Each plant should have at least 12 to 24 inches of space in all directions as they spread out a lot.

Can Yarrow Grow in the Shade?

Yarrow plant is best grown in full sun where it produces compact plants and tight flower heads. Yarrow planting in the shade results in long stems that tend to droop in the wind.

Can Yarrow Grow Indoors?

Yarrow plants can be grown in containers indoors but they will need to be placed in an area that receives lots of light.

Will Yarrow Grow in Clay Soil?

Yarrow plant will grow in just about any soil as long as it’s well-drained and not too rich. It doesn’t like constantly wet soil.


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