How to Choose and Grow Yarrow Plants

purple yarrow plants

The Spruce / Adrienne Legault 

Yarrow (Achillea millefolium) is also called "milfoil." It's a flowering ornamental perennial that's often included in butterfly gardens. Different species of yarrow are native to different parts of the world; native species are found in Asia, Europe, and the United States. Because there are so many species and cultivars, it's possible to find yarrow in many different colors.

Growing Yarrow Plants

Yarrow plants can be grown in planting zones 3 to 8. In other words, they thrive across most of the United States except in extreme climates such as deserts and high mountains. The fact that a particular species and cultivar can grow in your area, however, does not mean that it is native to your area. You may want to check to be sure that the species you've selected is not an invasive that will push out other, local flora.

Once you've selected the particular type of yarrow you'd like to grow, it's helpful to know these facts about caring for your plants.

  • Yarrow plants can reach 3 feet in height with a spread of about 2 feet. These perennial fragrant plants are known for their feathery foliage and flattened flower clusters. Blooming occurs June to September. Flowers come in a variety of colors, including white, yellow, pink or red.
  • Yarrow plants grow best in full sun and in well-drained soil, but they will tolerate clay soil better than many plants. They are drought-tolerant once established.
  • Yarrow plants are especially popular as edging plants and in rock gardens. As a deer-resistant perennial, they are useful in deer control. They also make for a good cut flower.
  • Yarrow plants should be staked, or else you may find the stems flopped down on the ground after high winds. Trim plants back after flowering to encourage additional blooms. Dividing every other year or so promotes good air circulation, cutting down on problems with powdery mildew.
  • Yarrow plants spread by rhizomes and have been known to naturalize. They are considered somewhat invasive plants.
yellow yarrow
The Spruce / Adrienne Legault 
white yarrow
The Spruce / Adrienne Legault 
pink yarrow
The Spruce / Adrienne Legault