Achillea millefolium (Yarrow)
Achillea millefolium, long known as yarrow, adds long-lived color to a native garden, actively blooming from May to October in the Bay-area enviroscape. A member of the Asteraceae (sunflower) family, it’s drought-tolerant and well-suited to use in a fire-resistant landscape for gardens large or small.
Plant in pots alongside geraniums, coreopsis and ornamental grasses for space-saving beauty, or take advantage of the fast-growing groundcover varieties as a lawn substitute that’s water-wise yet beautiful.
The name ‘millefolium’ means ‘coming of a thousand leaves’ and makes perfect sense upon examination. Small, semi-evergreen foliage is delicate in appearance: finely-divided and feathery. Take a closer look below: yarrow leaves may be fern-like and bright (Sonoma Coast), aromatic when crushed (Apple Blossom), or charmingly woolly and gray-green (Calistoga).
Left to right: Achillea millefolium varietals Sonoma Coast, Apple Blossom, and Calistoga
Individual flowers are tiny, spread out over flat, dome-shaped heads rising 18-36 inches in height. A variety of colors complement one another in mixed plantings for a meadow-like effect. Blossoms may be dense pink, soft yellow, brilliant red, or creamy to snowy shades of white. As cut flowers they add texture in fresh arrangements, but are also quite pretty when dried and used in winter bouquets.
Soil and Water Requirements
As a California native, Achillea millefolium is well-acclimated to growing in full sun and dry conditions with low soil fertility where other perennials fail. It is distinguished on the California Native Plant Society’s list of fire-resistant plants, alongside Mimulus (Monkeyflower) and Ceanothus (California lilac). For more information on fire-resistant plants, check out this list from readyforwildfire.org.
Achillea benefits from deadheading throughout the growing season and can be cut back significantly in late October, before winter dormancy. Every 2 – 3 years, thin the plant (divide into clumps and spread) to avoid overcrowding.
Pest-prone gardens will benefit from a generous planting of yarrow; it attracts many types of beneficial insects including ground beetles, hoverflies, lacewings, ladybugs, parasitic wasps (which feed on tomato worms and other vegetable pests), and spiders. An added benefit to fruit and vegetable gardeners: yarrow’s deep roots act as nutrient accumulators, and create natural fertilizer and mulch by mining potassium, phosphorus, and copper from the soil.
- Fast Growing
- Long Blooming
- Attracts hummingbirds and butterflies
- Attracts pollinators and beneficial insects
- Medicinal: Uses for yarrow herb abound and have long history through many cultures from ancient Greece to present-day. Read more
Evergreen Nursery stocks a wide variety of Achillea millefolium plants and we would love to assist you in choosing the varieties that are right for your garden. Visit the nursery for personal guidance, or use the Plant Finder to browse our selection before you arrive.