Grow yarrow for its beautiful flowers, which do more than just look good.
Fill your garden — and home — with the long-lasting beauty of yarrow flowers. Few perennials bring the flower power of yarrow to planting beds. This beauty opens flowers all summer long. Yarrow flowers come in a host of colors. Whether your tastes run to bold hues or pastels, you can find yarrow flowers that please.
Common yarrow (Achillea millefolium) kicks off the flower party with classic white or gray blooms. You can find all kinds of yarrow flower colors in this group alone. Some named varieties bring pastel hues to life, like apricot, rose, lavender or pale yellow. Other common yarrow varieties open flowers with boldly colored blooms in shades of fiery red, glowing gold or sizzling pink.
The ‘Summer Pastels’ series blends heat and drought tolerance with yarrow flowers that refuse to fade in shades of cream, apricot, rose and lavender. ‘Colorado Mixture’ yarrows open blooms in red, white, pink, yellow, beige and apricot on plants that boast heat tolerance and a shorter size (24 inches tall). Plant this mixture in a bed for a meadow look that’s reminiscent of a Monet painting. For large yarrow flowers, choose ‘Debutante Mix’, which open blooms about 6 inches across. The colors in this mixture include salmon, purple, rose, white and lilac.
For brilliant gold flowers, plant fernleaf yellow yarrow (Achillea filipendulina). The flower heads on this plant measure up to 4 inches across and feature individual blooms that are packed so tightly together they form a nearly solid surface. This is the yarrow flower to grow for drying. These flowerheads, once dried, retain their color for years if kept out of direct sunlight. The flowering window on fernleaf yarrow is a few weeks shorter than for common yarrow.
All yarrow flowers make great candidates for snipping and adding to garden bouquets. The stems tend to last about a week in a fresh bouquet. Remove all ferny leaves that fall below the water line to achieve this long flower life.
To gather yarrow flowers for bouquets, clip stems in midmorning or late afternoon, when sugar content is highest. Choose flowers that are fully open — that means that every individual blossom in the flower head should be open. The trick is selecting fully open flowers that haven’t started to fade in color. Use these blooms for fresh bouquets or for drying.
Healthy yarrow flowers start with healthy plants. Make sure when planting yarrows that you select a spot in full sun with well-drained soil. The soil itself can be lean and offer low fertility, or it can be an average-type soil. Avoid soils enriched with large amounts of compost over time. Rich soils cause yarrow flower stems to grow weak and lanky, and they’ll likely need to be staked to stay upright.
It’s also a good idea to grow yarrow flowers in a protected location where winds won’t beat and damage plants. This is especially important if you’re growing yarrow flowers for cutting and adding to fresh or dried arrangements.