Common Yarrow

Common Yarrow is not only a decorative wild shrub for flower beds, it is also used as a medicinal plant. You can find planting and care tips here.

Jul 23, 2021 03:13 pm
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Growth type
  • Perennial plant
Growth height (from)
from 15 cm to 60 cm
Growth width (from)
from 40 cm to 50 cm
Growth characteristics
  • upright
  • foothills
Flower color
  • white
Flowering time (month)
  • June to October
Flower shape
  • Trumpets
Flower characteristics
  • remounting
Leaf color
  • green
page format
  • fiddly
  • lancéolées
Sheet properties
  • fragrant
Fruit shape
  • Capsule
  • sunny
Soil type
  • stony to clayey
Soil Moisture
  • dry to humid
ph value
  • neutral to weakly acidic
Lime compatibility
  • lime-tolerant
Nutrient requirements
  • nutrient-rich
  • rich in humus
Decorative or utility value
  • Flower Decoration
  • medicinal plant
  • Nectar or pollen plant
  • native wild plant
  • non-toxic
Winter Hardness
  • hardy
Climate zones according to USDA
  • 2
areas of life
  • FR1
  • B1
  • Flowerbeds
  • Bouquets
  • flower meadows
  • Single position
  • Group planting
Garden style
  • Pharmacy Garden
  • Flower garden
  • natural garden
  • Prairie Garden
Bee Friendly
bee friendly plant

Common Yarrow (Achillea millefolium) is a shrub native to Europe. It can be found throughout Europe on waysides from the plains to the mountains. It is also frequently found in meadows. The botanical name Achillea millefolium can be traced back to the hero of Greek mythology, Achilles. He is said to have saved the injured king Telephus with yarrow leaves during the Trojan war. The anti-inflammatory effect of the medicinal plant is scientifically proven. The species designated as Common Yarrow took on an important significance early on in folk medicine. The popular tea herb for digestive disorders and inflammatory gastrointestinal diseases is one of the edible wild plants. The decorative properties of this Asteraceae come into their own in flower bouquets.


Yarrow can grow from 5.91 to 23.62 inches tall, depending on the location. It remains very low in poorer soils. It grows taller in nutrient-rich ground. If the soil is too rich, the stability of the upright growing shrub suffers with its wiry stems. Unlike other garden species of Yarrow such as Fernleaf Yarrow, Achillea millefolium forms offshoots and rambles.


The botanical species name for Achillea millefolium, “thousand leaves”, describes it appropriately: The pinnatifid leaves are so delicate that you can really believe you are looking at a thousand tiny leaves. They are positioned slightly offset, to the left and right of a center rib. Each individual leaf of the lanceolate shaped foliage is divided once again into many points. Rubbing the dark green leaves releases a spicy smelling aroma.

Common Yarrow flowers
Common Yarrow flowers are not always pure white, sometimes they also have a pink tinge

The flat umbels of the Common Yarrow predominantly flower white, with color variants that play into pink. The flowering period generally begins in June and lasts for several weeks. After pruning, the shrub repeats and flowers a second time about four weeks later. In meadows the first mowing may delay flowering. During a long fall, the plants can shoot through again and flower after the third mowing. This is why the flowering period is given as June until the frost. The composite plants are insect and butterfly pastures during their long flowering period.


Seed capsules form from the Common Yarrow umbels. If they are left standing, they catch hoarfrost - an enchanting image!


The meadow plants need a sunny location. Otherwise, Achillea millefolium is undemanding and suitable for shrub beds as well as a free space with rock steppes.


In nature, Common Yarrow grows both on farmland and in lush meadows, as well as on semi-dry lawns and meager wasteland. So in the garden, all soils are suitable. But it may not be too wet. The Common Yarrow grows most luxuriantly in nutrient-rich soil. However, in nitrogen-rich soils, its tissues grow excessively, and the otherwise extremely stable plant falls over.


You can plant potted Common Yarrow all year round. Take care when planting out that the pot ball is not placed any deeper than it stood in the container. The roots with their short offshoots lie close to the surface. Allow for a planting distance of about 15.75 inches.


The fully winter hardy species is straightforward. It tolerates heat and drought very well. The varieties must only be regularly watered, in particular if they are kept in plant containers. The addition of compost in the spring is usually a sufficient fertilizer. Too much nitrogen reduces the stability. However, the grateful Yarrow species possesses a quality that can become a problem in a small garden: Achillea millefolium likes to ramble. The mother plants form short offshoots through which they open up new terrain. Where possible, the plants simply move a few inches further over time. Where space is limited, the stocks should be regularly re-accommodated (see Dividing). The plant is considered more of a weed in lawns, as its offshoots oppress the grass. You can combat Yarrow in lawns with a weed puller or, if all else fails, chemical agents.

Large Common Yarrow flowers
Common Yarrow species ensure pretty color accents with their large flowers in nature-inspired flower beds or prairie beds

Prune back Achillea millefolium and its varieties close to the soil after the first flowering in July. The shrubs repeat and push forth a second bloom in September.


Divide Common Yarrow and its varieties every two to four years. Do this by loosening the mother plant with a spade and lifting out the ball. The meadow plant can easily be broken up into smaller pieces by hand. These are then replanted. Dry soil falls away easily and you are left holding the offshoot roots in your hands. It’s quite simple. Lay the roots pieces flat in the soil and cover them with soil so that the green leaves on the root crown are showing.

Where to Plant

The attractive composite plant is an immediate eye-catcher during the flowering period. The varieties in particular with their unusual colors have a huge effect. This is due to the umbrella-shaped umbels. They are the same height and side by side, which creates a massive colorful effect on an area. Therefore, Achillea millefolium is the perfect filler shrub from a design perspective and a calming element in a mixed planting. The species looks best in a shrub bed in small tuffs of up to three plants. The continuous-bloomers play a major role on free ‘prairie style’ areas. The wild species are suitable for nature-inspired gardens. However, you can also cultivate Common Yarrow on the balcony or patio. The varieties are provide fantastic color in a pot.

Common Yarrow ‘Terracotta’
The Common Yarrow ‘Terracotta’ is particularly popular among hobby gardeners because of its iridescent light brown to brick-red flowers

The rich-flowering ‘Lilac Beauty’ and ‘Pretty Belinda’ have a naturally created pink tone. Red varieties, such as the brick-red ‘Paprika’, caused a sensation when they came to the market. ‘Petra’ flowers raspberry red. At 31.5 inches, the cherry red ‘Cerise Queen’ is somewhat taller than other varieties. The pomegranate red ‘Pomegranate’ is a compact variety from the “Tutti Frutti” series. ‘Red Velvet’ is a good choice for those who value color consistency. The play of colors itself is captivating in many varieties. So, ‘Lachsschönheit’ begins its flowering period in light pink and pales to a creme white. The initially reddish-brown ‘Wesersandstein’ lightens into a delicate pink. The initially light velvet red ‘Belle Epoque’ is similarly iridescent. The color spectrum of ‘Terracotta’ from light brown to brick-red is fascinating. ‘Tricolor’ has three colors. The flower colors of individual blossoms go from red to pink to light yellow from the outside inwards. The light yellow ‘Credo’ resulted from a cross with Achillea filipendulina.


Achillea millefolium can be divided or sown. Trade outlets predominantly sell mixtures and the wild form, but also pure varieties such as the cherry red ‘Cassis’. The fast germinating seeds are best sown at temperatures around 68 degrees Fahrenheit.

Diseases and Pests

Diseases rarely occur. The Common Yarrow doesn’t have any problems with snails.