Yarrow - Asteraceae - How to care for and grow your Yarrow

Yarrow - Asteraceae - How to care for and grow your Yarrow

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There Yarrow it is a herbaceous plant, which grows spontaneously but can also be used to decorate gardens and borders thanks to its flowers with particular colors and its bushy habit.






: Angiosperms


: Eudicotyledons


: Asteris







(formerly Composite)











: see the paragraph on "Main species"


The genre Yarrow of the family Asteraceae, includes about 85 very different species. In any case, these are deciduous perennials, that is to say that they lose their leaves during the winter, located mainly in the temperate zones of the northern hemisphere. In Italy there are numerous spontaneous species distributed throughout the peninsula, both on humid and heavy soils and in marginal soils reaching up to 3000 m s.l.m. and even beyond.

Some species are native to the prairies or dry areas and in this case the plants develop in height and maintain a herbaceous posture while the species native to the mountainous areas grow little and form low cushions.

Leaves they are gray or green in color, often aromatic with a slight camphor aroma. They can be similar to ferns or whole with the basal leaves larger than the apical ones.

In summer and autumn many achilles produce delicious flowers peeking out like many small daisies collected in acorimbo inflorescence of very different colors.

THE fruits they are pappus-free deliachens and their shape is compressed and a little flattened.

They lend themselves well to adorn gardens and as a border.

In Italy there are about twenty spontaneous species located throughout the peninsula from the plain up to 3000 m s.l.m. and even beyond.


There are about 85 species in the genus Yarrow among which we reorder:


There Achillea millefolium(photo below) is a perennial herbaceous plant with a creeping rhizome, an erect and hairy stem at the top of which are the flowers gathered in corymb inflorescences variously colored and perfumed depending on the variety. The leaves are very jagged enough to give the plant a bushy appearance typical of the species. The fruit is an indehiscent achene without pappus (set of hairs found at the apex of the fruit).

These are quite common species on a spontaneous level, especially in northern Italy. We return it to flower in uncultivated areas and along the edges of the paths and up to 2200 meters above sea level It does not suffer from drought or cold, but it does not like too humid environments.It is a plant that can become a weed.

There are numerous varieties grown for ornamental purposes that produce very decorative and colorful flower heads, among these we mention:Achillea millefolium 'Cerise Queen' very vigorous plant that forms a cushion of dark green leaves with bright magenta pink flowers with a white inner part; there Achillea millefolium 'Paprika' which produces orange-red flower heads that gradually become lighter with time; there Achillea millefolium 'Sammetriese' with dark green leaves with flowers gathered in dark red inflorences that turn to magenta over time.

Achillea millefolium Cerise Queen

Achillea millefolium Paprika

Achillea millefolium sammetriese


There Achillea Umbellata (photo below) is a semi-deciduous perennial that forms beautiful, very decorative bushes. The leaves are ovate pinnate, silvery gray and slightly hairy. The flowers are gathered in umbrella-shaped inflorescences up to 3 cm wide which appear between April-May.


There Achillea ptarmica (photo below) is a rhizomatous perennial plant that has simple linear-lanceolate thickly serrated dark green leaves. It blooms from the end of summer forming corymb inflorescences no more than 10 cm wide of a dull white color.


The Yarrow they are very rustic plants and therefore easy to cultivate that grow well even in poor soils as long as they are well drained.

It is a plant that needs to be exposed in full sun or in any case in a place where it receives sunlight for a good part of the day.

It tolerates heat well but also resists intense cold and lives well even near the sea.

It can be grown both in pots and in the ground. In the case of pot cultivation, the latter must be large enough to allow for good root development.


During the whole growth period of the plant theYarrowit should be watered in moderation and taking care not to leave water stagnations that are not welcome. During the other periods, just enough to keep the soil from drying out.


It is not particularly existent in terms of soils as it adapts to any type of soil even if it has a more luxuriant development in soils rich in organic substance, light and well drained. However, it also grows in stony or sandy soils and for this reason it is suitable for forming carpets in rock gardens.

If the plant is grown in pots, repotting is done at the end of winter and only when the roots have occupied all the available space and come out of the drainage holes of the pot. A larger pot than the previous one and a new, fertile and well-draining soil should be used, as described above.


To produce beautiful blooms theYarrow in the first year of cultivation it needs a good basic fertilization before sowing or transplanting with organic substance.

From spring to autumn, use a liquid fertilizer in the irrigation water, administered every 15 days, halving the doses compared to that indicated in the fertilizer package. In fact, if you do a good basic fertilization at the time of transplanting, large quantities of fertilizer are not needed. In the other seasons the fertilizations must be suspended.

Use complete fertilizers that is to say that they have both macro elements such as nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K) and micro elements such as iron (Fe), manganese (Mn), copper (Cu), zinc (Zn ), boron (B), molybdenum (Mo), all important for a correct and balanced growth of the plant.


They are plants that cannot be pruned. Only the leaves that dry up or get damaged are eliminated to prevent them from becoming a vehicle for disease.


L'Yarrow it has a very long flowering period from early spring to late autumn and pollination occurs by insects (entomogama). To speed up subsequent blooms it is good to remove the flowers as they wither.

In Achillea millefolium as the flowers change color as the blooming progresses, with the passing of the days there are spots of different color that are very nice to see.


Plants can be multiplied by seed or by division of the tufts.

In choosing the multiplication mode of theYarrow it must be borne in mind that multiplication by seed does not allow plants to be perfectly identical to the mother plant as genetic variability takes over, therefore, if you want to obtain a precise specimen or are not sure of the quality of the seed, multiply by division of the tufts .


The multiplication by seed of the A.chillea it is carried out in spring. Since the seeds are very small, it is preferable to mix them with sand and then distribute them by broadcasting them in the ground and then cover them with soil.It is important, before sowing, to clean the soil from brushwood, stones and anything else present. of the previous vegetation. Subsequently it is advisable to make a basic fertilization with organic fertilizer before sowing.


If multiplication by plant parts is adopted, proceed as follows: take the twigs containing 2/3 large and robust plant buds and when they are put to root in the ground itself, keeping it moist until the new plant has took root. After which the cutting treats like an adult plant.


The Yarrow are plants subject to attacks by aphids and powdery mildew, especially the A. ptarmica which is more sensitive than other species.

Deformed leaf tips and presence of small mobile insects

If you notice small white-yellowish-greenish mobile insects you are almost certainly in the presence of aphids or as they are commonly called lice. You observe them with a magnifying glass and compare them with the photo on the side, they are unmistakable, you can't go wrong.

Remedies: treat the plant with specific pesticides that you can find from a good nurseryman. These are generally systemic products, that is, they enter the lymphatic circulation of the plant and therefore are absorbed by insects during feeding (To learn more about their knowledge and the fight against these parasites, go to the page dedicated to them).

Presence of a whitish patina on the green parts of the plant

This symptom is to be associated with a fungal attack and in particular a white sore attack caused by fungus. The disease first manifests with a whitish mold and then the leaves turn yellow and fall off.

Remedies: if caught in time, this disease is not fatal and it is sufficient to eliminate the affected parts. However, if the attack is particularly serious, sulfur-based pesticides can be used (To learn more about their knowledge and the fight against these parasites go to the page dedicated to them).


The name Yarrow it was given by Linnaeus associating it with the name of the great hero Achilles (note 1). In fact, legend has it that Achilles had used a particular plant, at the suggestion of Venus, to percolate the wounds of Télefo (caused by Achilles himself), theYarrow precisely.

Contact with the leaves can cause allergies.

The flowers lend themselves very well to being kept dry.

There Yarrow it is also known by the name of herba militaris, soldier's herb, yarrow, grass of cuts or dogwood, names that recall its haemostatic properties. Achillées as the British call them yarrow or milfoil.

Some species of Yarrow they are used for food purposes. For example the Yarrow muscat it is used in Switzerland to make a stomachic liqueur while in Sweden they are often used to flavor beer. The plant also has medicinal properties, in fact its dried flowers are used for its antispasmodic (relaxing baths), anti-inflammatory, astringent and healing properties.

The species Achillea ptarmica it is often eaten raw as a salad.

In England it is also used dry and powdered to make snuff called "sneezing weed".

It is also a nectar plant, appreciated by bees for making honey even if, since there are no large plots, it is very rare to find honey from Yarrow.


1. Achilles is a hero of Greek mythology protagonist of the Iliad written by the great Homer. He is the hero of the Trojan War, son of the mortal Peleus, king of the Myrmidons and the Nereid Thetis.

Video: How To Make More Yarrow Plants