While often sold as a flowering perennial, Yarrow (Achillea millefolium) is actually an herb. Whether you decide to grow Yarrow in your flower beds or in your herb garden, it's still a lovely addition to your yard.
Yarrow has many uses as an herb. It is commonly used as a medicinal herb that can treat the bleeding of minor wounds, swollen or cramping muscles, reducing fever or to help with relaxing. As with any medicinal herb, it should not be taken without first consulting a physician. On the non-medicinal side, Yarrow is an astringent and makes a good facial wash or shampoo. Whether you grow Yarrow as a decorative plant or an herb, you can be sure that it will add beauty to your garden. Since Yarrow care is so easy, you have nothing to lose by giving this ancient herb a small place in one of your flower beds.
Growing Conditions and General Care
It is most often propagated by division, so chances are you'll buy your Yarrow as a plant. Space your plants 12 to 24 inches (30 to 60 cm) apart if you're planting more than one plant.
You can also start your Yarrow from seed. Start seeds indoors about six to eight weeks before your last frost date. Sow the seeds in moist, normal potting soil. The seeds should just barely be covered by the potting soil. Place the pot with the seeds in a sunny and warm location.
The seeds should germinate in 14 to 21 days, depending on the conditions. You can speed up the germination by covering the top of the pot with plastic wrap to keep in moisture and heat. Remove the plastic wrap once the seeds have sprouted.
Regardless of whether your plants are grown from seed or bought as full plants, you will want to plant them in full sun. They thrive in a wide variety of soils but do best in well drained soil. Yarrows will even grow in very poor dry soils with low fertility soil.
Some caution should be taken when growing Yarrow, as in the right conditions, it can become invasive and will then be in need of control.
Once you have planted your Yarrow, it needs little care. It doesn't need to be fertilized and only needs to be watered during times of severe drought.
While Yarrow needs little care, it is susceptible to a few diseases and pests. Most commonly, plants will be affected by either botrytis mold or powdery mildew. These will both appear as a white powdery covering on the leaves. Both can be treated with a fungicide. Yarrows are also occasionally affected by spittlebugs.