Achillea is a summer flowering herbaceous perennial which flowers from June to September. Each flower head comprises hundreds of tiny flowers which are long lasting. Although often referred to by its common name Yarrow, this really refers to Achillea millefolium which is a white variety seen growing wild and illustrated below. The foliage of Achillea is attractive, light, feathered and a little like dill foliage in appearance. The foliage varies in colour from green to grey green, depending on the variety. Because Achillea is herbaceous, it does back over the winter to bare earth.
Achillea looks good mixed in a border and is a good plant for beginner gardeners, being is easy to grow. Achillea has a wide range of flower colours, from the subtle shades in the image top left, ranging to bold coloured Achillea such as A. 'Golden plate' which is a strong bright yellow, image far right and A. 'Cerise Queen' center image.
All Achilleas are easy to grow, requiring no special attention except planting in the right place and sometimes staking, particularly the taller varieties. Achillea grows best in sun, the more sun the happier the plant, and those with the grey foliage prefer the most sun. If the soil is heavy clay/on the wet side it will help to introduce some grit to improve drainage. Achillea is a short-lived perennial which will need replacement. Despite their lack of longevity, Achillea mix so well with many other great garden plants they are well worth growing, and they self seed.
Achillea require no pruning or attention and are generally pest free. In the long term Achillea often runs out of steam after about three to five years, especially on heavier soils. Stocks can be replenished by taking cuttings, pot and grow on in gritty compost until large enough to plant out in the borders. Achillea are not keen on heavy wet soils and it is best to defer planting out any small plants until the spring to avoid the winter wet. You can also divide to extend the life of the plant. Achillea are fully frost hardy all over the UK.