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As usual, if there's a particular plant you'd like me to address, just drop me a line at shell@michellesgarden.com.


Fern-Leaved Yarrow
Achillea filipendulina

Fern-leaved yarrow bears flat-topped heads of tiny flowers on dozens of tall leafy stems. This aromatic herb grows from fibrous roots and has deeply incised, ferny, olive green leaves.

Flower Color

Dozens of tightly-packed golden yellow flowers cluster in heads 4-5 inches (10-12.5 cm) across.

Flowering Time

Summer. Flowers last for several weeks; plants rebloom if deadheaded.

Height and Spread

3-4 feet (90-120 cm) tall; 3 feet (90 cm) wide. Forms broad, tight clumps.

Temperature Requirements

Zones 3-9. Thrives in low to moderate summer humidity.

Position

Average, dry to moist, well-drained soil. Full sun to light shade. Overly rich soil promotes luxuriant growth, but weak stems.

Cultivation

Fern-leaved yarrow is a touch, easy-care perennial. Plants spread rapidly and need frequent division. Lift and divide clumps every three years to keep plants vigorous.

Propagation

Take tip cuttings in spring or early summer. Divide in early spring or fall. Replant strong, healthy divisions into soil that has been enriched with organic matter.

Pest and Disease Prevention

Plants develop powdery mildew, a cottony white coating on the leaves, especially in areas with warm humid night. Rot causes stems to blacken and topple over. Remove and destroy all affected parts and dust plants with sulfur.

Landscape Use

Plant fern-leaved yarrow at the front or middle of formal perennial borders or with grasses in wildflower meadows and other informal gardens. Use them in cutting gardens or on dry, sunny banks to control erosion.

Cultivars

'Gold Plate' is taller than the species with 6-inch (15 cm) deep yellow flower heads on 6-foot (1.8 m) stems. 'Parker's Variety' grows 3-4 feet (90-120 cm) tall, with golden yellow flowers on self-supporting stems.

Other Species

A. x 'Coronation Gold' grows 3 feet (90 cm) tall with stout self-supporting stems, gray-green leaves, and 5-inch (12.5 cm) wide clusters of mustard yellow flowers.

A. millefolium, common yarrow, grows 1 to 2-1/2 feet (30-75 cm) tall. White, pink, or red flowers are produced on stout stems for several months in summer. Plants may spread rapidly and become invasive. Choose a named selection such as 'New White', 'Cerise Queen', or 'Fire King'. The closely related Galaxy series of new yarrows arose from hybrids with A. taygetea. Plants resemble common yarrow with 2-3 inch (5-7.5 cm) flower heads on sturdy stems. Colors range from creamy yellow to salmon-rose and brick red. Flowers fade with age, giving the plants a multicolored appearance. A. x 'Moonshine' is a popular hybrid. It grows 1-2 feet (30-60 cm) tall, with soft blue-gray foliage and sulfur yellow flowers.


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