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Zones A1-A3, 1-24, 26, 28-45
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Achillea

Yarrow
Asteraceae (Compositae)
Perennials

Among the most carefree and generously blooming perennials for summer and early fall, several being equally useful in the garden and as cut flowers (taller kinds may be cut and dried for winter bouquets). Leaves are gray or green, bitter-aromatic, usually finely divided (some with toothed edges). Flower heads are usually in flattish clusters. Yarrows need only routine care: some watering (though they endure drought once established), cutting back after bloom, dividing when clumps get crowded.

Achillea filipendulina (photo courtesy of Laura Dunkin-Hubby)
Achillea filipendulina (photo courtesy of Laura Dunkin-Hubby)

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Achillea filipendulina

Tall, erect plants 4–5 ft. high and to 3 ft. wide, with deep green, fernlike leaves. Bright yellow flower heads in large, flat-topped clusters. Dried or fresh, they are good for flower arrangements.

Achillea millefolium
Achillea millefolium

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Achillea millefolium

Native to Europe and western Asia. Erect plant with narrow green or grayish-green leaves and flat-topped white flower clusters on 3-ft. stems. Spreads by underground runners. Many garden varieties have been selected for their flower color, which includes shades of cream to yellow, pink, and red.

Achillea tomentosa ‘Aurea’ (photo courtesy of Denver Botanic Gardens)
Achillea tomentosa ‘Aurea’ (photo courtesy of Denver Botanic Gardens)

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Achillea tomentosa

This native of Europe and western Asia makes a flat, spreading mat (to about 1 1/2 ft. wide) of fernlike, gray-freen, hairy leaves. Golden flower heads in flat clusters top 6–10-in. stems. Makes a tidy edging or a neat groundcover for small areas; useful in rock gardens. Shear off dead flowers to leave an attractive gray-green mat. ‘Aurea’ (‘Maynard’s Gold’) is vigorous, with large heads of lemon yellow flowers. ‘King George’ is lower growing than the species, with grayer foliage and creamy yellow blooms.

Achillea x taygetea

Native to eastern Mediterranean. Grows 1 1/2 ft. high and wide, with gray-green, divided leaves 3–4 in. long. Dense clusters of bright yellow flower heads fade to primrose yellow—excellent contrast in yellow until it’s time to shear off old stalks. Good cut flowers.

Achillea ‘Moonshine’ (photo courtesy of Emerisa Gardens)
Achillea ‘Moonshine’ (photo courtesy of Emerisa Gardens)

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Achillea ‘Moonshine’

This popular hybrid grows to 2 ft. tall and wide, with ferny gray-green leaves and long-lasting deep yellow flowers.

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