24 March 2016

Yarrow for Every Garden!

Yarrow (Achillea or Achillia) comes in many colors and heights so there is something for everyone and every garden style. Cottage gardens are usually planted with the bright yellow and citrus colors; and, tidy and tightly planned gardens usually feature swaths of red and pink Yarrow.


Some recent colors that will stimulate your imagination include: Pineapple Mango, Peachy Seduction, Pink Grapefruit, Pomegranate, Queen Elizabeth, Cerise Queen, Wexer River Sandstone, Fire King, Lilac Beauty, Altgold and Summer Gold.
Seeds can be purchased in mixed packets of summer pastels, bright colors, all yellows, creams, etc.

All Yarrows love heat and will bloom for several months. Another one of their endearing qualities is that they prefer to be on the dry side so you can leave for summer vacation without worry. And, they are perennial, returning year after year, with minimal care.

Soil and fertilizer preferences are minimal. Lean soil and no fertilizer are best. Yarrows are also deer, rabbit, drought and dry soil tolerant.

Yarrow seeds are tiny so they are sown on top of the soil and kept moist until they emerge. It is time to buy seeds now since the soil temperature they prefer for germination varies from 40 to 68. Current soil temperature is 50-degrees F. (www.mesonet.org)

Not all Yarrow varieties are equal and it is a good idea to know what you are buying. Some spread by underground rhizome and take over a flower bed and others drop lots of seeds as their method of spreading. Many varieties are ideal as cut and dried flowers and there is even one that forms a low-growing ground cover. 
A. tomentosa groundcover 

The ones that are right for your garden depend on whether you need filler between existing perennial plants, an accent color or an entire new planting for a flower bed.

Achilles was the Greek hero of the Trojan War in Homer’s Iliad. The plant's names of staunch weed and Woundwort come from its early medicinal use for blood clotting but dozens of plants were named woundwort over the years.

The name Old Man’s Pepper, came from when dried Yarrow leaves were used as a as snuff. The spiritual properties assigned to Yarrow came from a belief that an ounce of Yarrow under the pillow of a single man or woman would bring a night-time vision of their intended spouse.

Less romantically, Yarrow tea is now used to treat colds and flu and has found its way into herbal cosmetics.

Yarrow is a member of the Asteracaea plant family of substantial and hardy plants for our zone 7 area. Others in that family are asters, daisies, mums and sunflowers.

Here are some tips on how to choose Yarrow varieties.

The native and somewhat invasive variety, Achillea millefolium grows 3-feet tall. The less-troublesome hybrid varieties to look for include Hoffnug (light yellow), Fanal and The Beacon (bright rose-pink), Liclac beauty (lavender-pink), Lachssenheit and Salmon Beauty (coral), Paprika and Trracotta (salmon-pink).

Achillea tomentosa or Wooly Yarrow makes a flat, spreading mat to 1.5 feet tall at the most. The leaves are fernlike or hairy. The flowers are a flat cluster of gold on 10-inch tall stems.

Achillea 'Anblo' Anthea (Achillea clypeolata x A. 'Moonshine') has flowers in a creamy light yellow from May to August.  This variety in particular is widely used in landscaping where the look of a fern would be desired but not practical.
 
Pure white Achillea, Boule de Neige matures at 2-feet tall. Perry’s White grows 3-ft. tall with large, double, white flower heads. The Pearl has button-like, double white flower heads.

Achillia Forncett Candy has pink flowers on 3-ft. tall plants.


Wet roots, too much fertilizer and too little sun are the only things to watch out for with Achillea.

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