Common Yarrow, Milfoil
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 do best in well-drained soil. Water established plants occasionally (they tolerate considerable drought once established). Cut back after bloom to encourage rebloom. Divide when clumps get crowded.
Variable species, native to much of the Northern Hemisphere. An erect grower with narrow green or grayish green leaves and flat-topped white flower clusters on stems up to 3 ft. tall. Attracts beneficial insects. Spreads by underground runners. Can be invasive, but garden varieties and hybrids are better behaved, shorter, and available in a range of colors. Look for pale yellow ‘Hoffnung’ (‘Great Expectations’), bright rose-pink ‘Fanal’ (‘The Beacon’), deep pink ‘Cerise Queen’, lavender-pink ‘Lilac Beauty’ and ‘Apfelblute’ (‘Appleblossom’), salmon-pink ‘Lachsschönheit’ (‘Salmon Beauty’), and bright red ‘Fire King’, ‘Fireland’, and ‘Paprika’. Blooms of ‘Terracotta’ open salmon-pink and age to russet and coppery orange tones.
Varieties developed from California’s native yarrow include ‘Calistoga’, with silver foliage and white flowers on foot-high stems, and ‘Island Pink’ (‘Pink Island Form’), with bright green leaves and rose-pink blossoms to 2 ft. tall.
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