Achillea or Yarrow is a friend of the summer garden since it blooms consistently throughout the hot months.
Yarrows are part of the Aster family which is very well represented in Oklahoma gardens during the summer and fall. Achillea was named for the Greek mythological Achilles whose soldiers used yarrow to heal their war wounds. Yarrow has two common names that refer their healing properties: Allheal and Bloodwort.
Yarrows grow to about 2-feet tall and wide in a sunny border. The naturalized-native and most common Yarrow, Achillea millefolium, has white flowers and has been known to pop up in gardens and yards without any effort on our part. A. millefolium can spread by seed and by rhizomes.
Achilleas do well in unfertilized, moist to dry soil, in full sun to part-shade. Poor soil is fine if it does not stay wet. They even tolerate humid nights and late-summer droughts. If they get tall enough to flop over, just prune the stems back so they will bush out.
The most colorful Yarrows, the hybrids, are less likely to spread and have stronger stems. Rozanne and Friends (www.geraniumrozanne.com) is a good place to look at the color varieties before you order or purchase. There are several yellow, gold, red, violet and white colors available.
Yarrows are deer and rabbit resistant, cold hardy in zones 4-8, and are recommended for rock gardens, prairie garden beds, borders, containers and butterfly gardens. They are often planted with roses and make long-lasting cut flowers for bouquets.
The Achillea Ritzy Rose in the photo is a 4-year old plant in our sidewalk bed that receives minimal attention and has hot concrete next to it. Its companion plants are Joe Pye Weed and fall asters (Aster tartaricus). That little corner attracts bees, butterflies and other pollinators until the first freeze.