Also known as
Milfoil, Common Yarrow, Devil's Nettle, Hundred-Leaved Grass, Lace Plant, Nosebleed, Nose Pepper, Old Man's Pepper, Sanguinary, Savory Tea, Soldier's Woundwort, Thousand-Leaf, Thousand Weed
Yarrow (Achillea millefolium) by Petar Milošević (CC BY-SA 4.0)
5 months to reach maturity
More images of Yarrow
Achillea millefolium is known by many common names including Common Yarrow and Devil's Nettle. It became a gardener's favourite because it is tough, flowers repeatedly and tolerates a wide range of conditions. It also has a long history of being used in traditional, herbal medicines. It is classified as a wildflower in the UK. A spreading perennial, it has an upright habit and produces white to cream, pink-tinged flowers in flat clusters, in summer. Its leaves are fern-like - narrow and finely divided. Be aware however, that this species will self-seed, so only plant if you want lots of them in the garden! It prefers full sun and moist well-drained soil but will tolerate partial shade. (Heavy or waterlogged soils can result in powdery mildew and rust.) Ideal for wildflower meadows, prairie planting, herbaceous borders and medicinal herb gardens. It requires dividing every 2-3 years but is generally low-maintenance. This species is on the RHS 'Plants for Pollinators' list highlighting plants that produce large amounts of nectar and/or pollen. A great choice for encouraging beneficial insect wildlife into your garden!
Yarrow Companion Plants
How to propagate Yarrow
Sow seeds in spring or autumn.
Make basal cuttings of new shoots that are about 10cm tall in spring. Plant in pots and protect in warm position until they root, usually within 3 weeks. Plant out in the summer.
Most popular method and will prolong the plant's life if done every other year. Divides easily and can be done in spring or autumn. Plant the divisions 30cm apart directly in their new positions.
Special features of Yarrow
Attracts useful insects
Attracts parasitic wasps.
Repels harmful insects
Repels beetles, ants and flies.
Light feeder. Improves soil fertility and the essential oil content of nearby plants, thereby making their neighbours more resistant to insect pests.
Other uses of Yarrow
Yarrow was used to flavour beer in the Middle Ages before hops became fashionable. Use old stalks and cuttings to activate compost heaps.
Oil contains antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic properties.
All parts are edible. Young leaves can be eaten raw and are also used for tea and as a preservative. Essential oil from the flowers used as flavouring in cold drinks.