A steady staple in the summer garden, yarrow is a perennial that comes in different colors. Common yarrow, a native flower with white blooms, is a great plant to have in your garden.
At the beginning of the farm journey, I began by planting mostly vegetables with a few flowers scattered in the mix. Common yarrow was one of those flowers. It was an easy choice as it was perennial, drought-tolerant, pest-resistant, and a beautiful flower.
As I learned more about cool flowers and experimented with planting cool flowers in the fall, I learned that yarrow is a hardy plant, as well. Cold snaps that would take out many of the cool flowers without protection would not touch the uncovered yarrow. It rebounded from every drop in temperature. Even though it looked scorched and brown in the winter, it came back each spring.
I started yarrow in other colors, as well. Cool flowers are often treated as annuals, but I wanted to see how the yarrow performed as a perennial. Would the color return or would it morph back to a white color? You can see from the image above that the yarrow has returned in vibrant color this year.
Care & Maintenance
Yarrow can be planted in the fall for spring blooms or in the spring for summer blooms.
Plant yarrow in a sunny location with well-draining soil. In fact, yarrow will do well in poor soil. Cut back stems in the fall and mulch around plants for the winter. In the spring, add compost around the plants.
If you leave any flowers on the plant, cut those back as they fade to encourage more growth. Leave flowers on the stem toward the end of the season to encourage reseeding, if that is what you want.
I space my plants close together for flower farming, spacing them 9" apart. If you are planting for your garden or around your house, you can spread plants out more. Divide the plants every 3-5 years to keep the plant healthy and encourage growth.
I have found that the best time to harvest yarrow is at the end of the day. When I harvest yarrow in the early morning, the umbel sags and does not stand upright. By waiting until the end of the day, the flower stays upright and works well in bouquets and arrangements.
Harvest the flower once most of the individual flowers have opened. Cut the stem at the base, stripping the foliage off the stem. Cut the stem down if it is long. Harvest into a clean bucket with clean water using clean snips.
Other things to consider
This post is part of a year-long series on flowers and plants that we love and grow on the farm. Check out other flowers that we love.