What is Achillea?
Achillea (Achillea spp.) also known as Yarrow or Milfoil is a hardy herbaceous perennial. It is part of the Asteraceae or daisy family and is native to Europe. Achillea has lacy, finely divided leaves that looks very fern like in appearance and can be aromatic. The foliage will form a dense clump and is dark green in colour. During Summer the flower stems will push through the foliage and present large flower heads that are made up of clusters of small daisy like flowers. They will flower from Summer into Autumn. Flower colours range from white, yellow pink or red. They are not overly picky about the soil type as long as it is free draining and positioned in full sun.
Benefits of Growing Achillea
Achillea are very hardy and easy to care for. They are ideal for borders and rockeries and are a must for a cottage garden setting. Achillea is a very good plant to use for attracting beneficial insects to your garden, as bees and butterflies love them. They are drought and frost tolerant. Long flowering, Achillea make great cut flowers with their long stems and with their ability to hold colour they make excellent dried flowers as well. In addition, it has a number of health-supporting properties that make it desirable as a medicinal herb. For example, it’s traditionally enjoyed in a tea blend with elderflower and peppermint as a remedy for colds and flu.
How to Grow Achillea
While Achillea plants will grow in cool to tropical parts of Australia, they prefer temperate and cool-temperate climates and aren’t keen on tropical humidity.
Sizes vary. Some examples:
Achillea Cloth of Gold (Achillea filipendulina) Height 1-1.5m Width 30-40cm.
Achillea Cerise Queen (Achillea millefolium) Height 70-80cm Width 50-60cm.
Achillea ‘The Pearl’ (Achillea ptarmica) Height 60cm-1m Width 60cm-1m.
Achillea Summer Pastels (Achillea millefolium) Height 60cm Width 30cm.
When To Plant Achillea
Plant in late Winter.
Achillea tends to do well even in poor soil, although good drainage is needed. If desired, soil can be prepared with organic matter such as manure or blood and bone before planting. Note that overly fertile soil may lead to aggressive growth and plants that require staking.
How To Plant Achillea
Plant in full sun with the plant crown at soil level. Planting width with vary depending on the variety chosen.
Achillea Plant Care
Keep moist during the growing period. They are fairly drought tolerant and will tolerate dry periods.
No specific requirements are needed for fertilising.
Lightly prune after flowering to keep neat but it will eventually go dormant of its own accord in Winter. Cut plants back in late Winter to Spring to allow for fresh new growth once the warmer weather arrives.
If desired, plants can be lifted and divided during the Winter months. Replant immediately or store in moist peat temporarily. It is important to keep new plants watered preferably with a liquid seaweed fertilizer which will help with establishment of new root systems.
Recommended Achillea Varieties
Achillea has both attractive flowers and foliage that make this plant great not only in the garden but also beautiful in the house as a cut flower.