Yarrow uses, planting and care

Yarrow (Achillea millefolium ‘Asteraceae’) is shown here growing with purple coneflower and Russian sage. Yarrow, which can grow 1 to 3 feet tall, is a drought tolerant herb capable of growing in most of the continental United States. The flat-top bloom is formed by clusters of tiny flowers that appear in late spring through mid-summer in colors of yellow, red, white, pink, orange or mauve.

Uses

Cut yarrow blooms for floral arrangements or for drying. Cutting blooms encourages new blooms. To dry yarrow, stand blooms in a vase with no water and allow to air dry. Clip dried blooms for inclusion in crafts such as a dried wreath. As a folk medicine, the University of Maryland Medical Center indicates that yarrow is useful “applied topically, for wounds and minor bleeding; to reduce inflammation, especially in the digestive tract; and to alleviate anxiety or insomnia.”

Planting

Plant yarrow in the fall or spring where it will receive full sun. Dig the hole twice as wide and deep as the plant container to loosen soil for drainage and root penetration. Return enough soil to the bottom of the hole so the top of the root ball is level with the surrounding soil. Back fill the hole with the remaining soil and water well. After planting yarrow, expect two to three years before seeing blooms. Set plants about 12 inches apart. If planting from seed, cast the seed on top of moist soil. When seedlings are about 3 inches tall, pull the weaker seedlings to open the area.

Care

If desired, spread1 to 2 inches of organic mulch such as wood chips or leaf mold. Keep soil moist for seeds to germinate. Water plants every seven to 10 days spring to fall if there is no rainfall. Apply an all-purpose, water-soluble fertilizer during the growing season if desired.

Deadhead blooms to prevent self-seeding. After blooms fade, cut the plant to the ground to promote new growth and possibly a second bloom during the season.

Propagation

Extend the garden coverage by digging up and dividing the root ball every two to three years. Planting seeds is also an option, including allowing the drying yarrow blooms to self-seed. Click here to learn how to collect yarrow seeds annually in late summer from dried flowers.

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