Yarrow (Achillea)

achillea-millefolium-paprika-yarrow-dbg-lah-006Appearance

Common Yarrow might be common, but it’s still a worthy plant for Colorado gardens. Plants form spreading clumps of dark green, finely cut leaves about one foot tall. Flat-topped clusters of tiny flowers that rise above the greenery provide landing places for butterflies, which are attracted in large numbers. Blooms may be white, pale to golden yellow, or various pastel shades; ‘Paprika’ is a cultivar with red flowers the color of their namesake.

achillea-millefolium-paprika-plantCultivation

Common Yarrow is the perfect perennial for the less-than-perfect gardener. Grown in full sun, it will provide years of bright blooms for minimal effort. Any well-drained soil will do: sand or clay, fertile or not. Keep newly planted seedlings damp the first year. Established plants are drought-tolerant. Deadhead to prolong bloom, or allow flowers to mature into russet-hued seedheads for winter interest or dried arrangements.

achillea-filipendula-yarrow-dbg-lah-012Landscape Use

Although Common Yarrow presents few problems, the roots have a tendency to spread underground. Provide a barrier or divide the plants every few years to keep them contained. Companion plants should have similar growing requirements. Pink and purple penstemons look particularly lovely with pink yarrow, while deep purple salvia (such as May Night) contrasts vividly with cultivars such as ‘Coronation Gold.’ Or try mixing  yarrow with native shrubs and grasses (particularly ‘Little Bluestem’).

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