Yarrows are flowering and easy-care perennials with a wide range of growth heights and flower colors. We present the most beautiful species and varieties of yarrow plants.
The yarrow genus is diverse and includes many adaptable species for almost any location. In this article, we present the main yarrow species and popular varieties.
Yarrow Plants: Flowering Time And Properties
Yarrows (Achillea) belong to the large family of composite plants (Asteraceae). With the exception of Bertram’s yarrow (Achillea ptarmica), the various yarrow species prefer mainly sunny, warm, and well-drained, loose, and dry sites. They grow between 19 and 31 inches high and often have a spicy and aromatic fragrance.
The flowers, arranged in false umbels or umbels, can be white, yellow, orange, red, or pink in color. The flowering time of yarrow begins between May and June, depending on the species and variety. Bees and other pollinating insects are attracted to the often large, plate-like inflorescences.
If cut back after the first bloom, yarrow often shows a second bloom in September. Yarrow is ideal as a cut and dried flower, and some species are also used as medicinal plants.
The Most Important Yarrow Species And Varieties
The various yarrow species differ in growth height, flower color and size, and site requirements. We give an overview of the most beautiful yarrow species and varieties for the garden.
Bertram’s yarrow (Achillea ptarmica)
Bertram’s yarrow plant is also known as marsh yarrow because it grows along watercourses in fresh to moist and even waterlogged soils. It sprouts runners and can spread well in suitable locations. The small leaves of this yarrow are narrow, lanceolate, and serrated at the leaf margin.
- ‘Nana Compacta‘: Dwarf yarrow with a dense, stocky habit and no runner growth. It grows up to 30 inches tall and forms large, clumped, white flowers. Flowering begins in July and again in September after pruning.
- ‘Snowball‘: double Bertram’s sheaf with strong growth and runner formation. The white flowers appear from June and sit together in loose false umbels.
- ‘The Pearl‘: Densely double, white flowering Bertramsgarbe up to 60 cm high. It forms runners and can also spread by seed.
Dalmatian Silver Sheaf (Achillea ageratifolia)
The Dalmatian Silver Sheaf is a stocky and wintergreen perennial native to southeastern Europe. It usually does not grow taller than 6 ” and forms silvery gray-green leaves. The large, white single flowers sit on long stalks singly or loosely together in groups but do not form a false umbel. Achillea ageratifolia blooms between May and July. It prefers calcareous, stony soils or graveled areas in full sun. Dalmatian silver sheaf is therefore ideal for planting in rock gardens, steppe beds, and plant troughs.
Noble Yarrow (Achillea nobilis)
Noble or fragrant yarrow plants are a rare native perennial. The honesty plant reaches a growth height of 12 to 20 inches and shows its creamy white, partly slightly overhanging umbels from May to July. The extremely finely divided gray-green leaflets of the noble yarrow have a strong and aromatic fragrance. The ideal location is full sun on dry, well-drained, and rather lean soils. Rock gardens, wooded edges, and lean wild herb meadows are particularly suitable for planting the Noble Yarrow.
Common Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)
Common yarrow also called common or meadow yarrow is a widespread native perennial. The small-pinnate leaves of this yarrow have a pleasant aromatic fragrance. It spreads by stolons and originally displays white inflorescences on plants 15 to 27 inches tall. The flowering time of the common yarrow is between June and August. It prefers moderately acidic to neutral, well-drained, humus-rich, and sunny sites. Parts of the plant, such as leaves and flowers, are used in herbal medicine to aid digestion, relieve cramps and reduce inflammation.
- ‘Cherry Queen‘: Yarrow cultivar with pink petals that lighten to a pale pink hue as they fade. The perennial, which grows to 27 inches tall, forms runners.
- ‘Salmon Beauty‘: yarrow with salmon pink flowers that fade to creamy white as they fade. It has very finely divided foliage and reaches a growing height of up to 23 inches.
- ‘Paprika‘: red yarrow plants with flowers up to 4 inches tall and a growth height of 15 to 23 inches. The bold flower color turns to washed-out orange and sulfur yellow as it fades.
- ‘Schneetaler‘: white yarrow to 23 inches growing height and flowering from June to August. The upright and hosting growing Achillea variety is well suited as a cut flower.
Golden yarrow (Achillea filipendulina)
The golden yarrow plants or noble yarrow plants originate from Asia and the Caucasus region. It reaches a height of 23 to 47 inches, blooms from June to July, and is cut back again in September. The honesty perennial forms finely pinnate green to tomentose gray-green foliage and typically golden yellow inflorescences. Golden yarrow plants prefer full sun to bright sites in well-drained, humus-rich, fresh, nutrient-rich soil. It is particularly well suited as a long-lasting cut flower if the inflorescences have not yet fully bloomed when cut. Different varieties of golden yarrow can also produce white, light, or sulfur yellow, salmon, or fire red flowers. Indeed, many golden yarrow cultivars are hybrids of crosses between Achillea filipendulina and Achillea millefolium – as are most of the cultivars we present below. Thus, they can develop white and red flower colors in addition to a yellow hue.
- ‘Coronation Gold‘: golden-yellow cultivar to 27 inches growing height with sunny yellow inflorescences. When cut back early after the first flower, this variety easily forms a second by September, making it suitable for growing as a cut flower.
- ‘Credo‘: Achillea filipendulina hybrid with initially bright pale yellow inflorescences that fade to creamy yellow as they bloom and appear almost white when they fade. This sturdy cultivar, which received top marks in perennial screening, grows to about 31 inches tall.
- ‘Helios‘: Golden sheaf hybrid with lemon yellow flowers and comparatively graceful growth to 23 inches tall. The perennial grows compactly and is sturdy.
- ‘Fireland‘: Achillea filipendulina hybrid with fiery red petals and a yellow center. The variety grows to a height of 31 to 39 inches and grows hostile without runners.
Golden-whiskered Yarrow Plants (Achillea clypeolata)
The golden whorled sheaf originates from the Balkan region and is closely related to the native Achillea millefolium. It grows to a height of 8 to 23 inches and is especially noticeable for its felt-like, gray-green leaflets. The small sunny to sulfur-yellow inflorescences appear between June and July, and again in September if cut back. The yellow yarrow species prefers dry, well-drained, nutrient-rich soil in sunny locations. The compact growing perennial is ideally suited for steppe and stone beds. A popular variety, for example, is the hybrid ‘Moonshine’ with long-lasting sulfur-yellow flowers.
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Greek silver sheaf (Achillea umbellata)
Greek silver sheaf grows low and mat-like to 6 in tall. It is hardy to -68 °F and extremely hardy to drought and heat. The comparatively large, silvery-white single flowers are in loose, umbellate inflorescences and bloom between June and July. Its silvery-haired leaves do not die but remain standing through the winter. It is ideal for planting in rock gardens and troughs but requires good drainage and infrequent watering.
Musk Yarrow (Achillea moschata)
Musk yarrow plants are native to the Alps up to 2 miles above sea level and reach a growth height of 2 to 8 inches. It prefers loamy, calcareous, stony soils and rubble areas in full sun. The strongly fragrant perennials feature glandular-spotted, pinnate leaves and single white flowers in loose umbels. Flowering begins in June and continues through August. Musk yarrow is ideal for planting in rock gardens and wall crevices.
Carpet yarrow (Achillea tomentosa)
Carpet yarrow is native to southern Europe and western Asia. It forms flat, slow-growing, mat-like cushions up to 6 in tall and 12 in wide, with gray felt-like leaves. From June to July, carpet yarrow blooms, displaying golden yellow flowers. It grows in sunny, dry to fresh, well-drained, nutrient-rich soil. Achillea tomentosa is particularly suitable for rock gardens and extensive green roofs. Popular varieties are ‘Aurea’ and ‘Golden Fleece’.
In addition to yarrow plants, there are numerous other bee-friendly perennials that we would like to introduce to you in our special article.