How to Grow Yarrow

Tips for growing and caring for Yarrow

Growing Yarrow is easy for beginner gardeners and in this article you’ll learn how to grow gorgeous, healthy Yarrow plants in your garden.

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Yarrow (Achillea millefolium) is native to North America and will grow in most areas that get plenty of sunshine throughout the day.

Yarrow is a popular perennial because it’s hardy, drought tolerant, pest resistant and attracts butterflies, lady bugs and other beneficial insects.

It has ferny foliage and flower heads made up of clusters of tightly-packed flowers. The flowers can be white, yellow, pink and red.


Best Soil for Yarrow

Yarrow prefers light, well drained, soil that isn’t too rich.

How much sunlight does Yarrow need?

Yarrow prefers to grow in a position that is in full sun. They can survive in areas that are partially shaded but the stems will stretch and become floppy.

How long does Yarrow take to mature?

Yarrow plants begin to bloom in late spring to early summer. Many species of Yarrow continue to bloom until early fall.

How high does Yarrow grow?

Yarrow can grow 2 – 4 feet (60 – 120 centimetres) in height.

RELATED: 10 Stunning Tall Perennials

Red yarrow flowers

How much space is needed between plants?

Each plant should have at least 12 – 24 inches (30 – 60 centimetres) space in all directions as they spread out a lot.

Growing Yarrow from Seeds

Yarrow can be grown from seeds indoors during winter and transferred to the garden in spring.

Yarrow seeds need light to germinate, so it’s best to sow the seeds in a tray with just enough potting mix to barely cover the seeds.

Place the tray in a warm place and the seeds will germinate in about 14 – 28 days.

Yarrow Varieties to try in your Garden

Watering Yarrow

Yarrow is drought tolerant and doesn’t require much water, but young plants will need regular watering to help them establish new roots.

Fertilizer for Yarrow

Yarrow is a low maintenance plant that doesn’t need regular fertilizing.

Yellow yarrow flowers

Dividing & Transplanting Yarrow

Yarrow should be divided at least every three years to keep the plants healthy and to avoid the centre part dying off.

The best time to divide the plants is in early spring. The outer portions can be retained and the middle sections discarded.

Pests & Diseases

Yarrow is mostly free of pests and diseases but it can be affected by mold or powdery mildew, which can be treated with a fungicide.

If you see spots or mildew on the leaves, it’s best to cut them off so that the mildew doesn’t spread.

Cutting Yarrow back at the end of Flowering

Yarrow can be cut back at the end of flowering to produce another round of flowers.

Fall is a good time to remove dead foliage and old stems.

Yarrow growing in garden

Companion Planting for Yarrow

Yarrow attracts lady bugs, lacewings and other beneficial insects that feed on aphids, so they’re helpful for plants that are affected by aphids including citrus trees and vegetable crops. [1]

Harvesting and Using Yarrow

Yarrow leaves can be used fresh or dried to make herbal tea, infusions and poultices.

The best time to harvest Yarrow is during summer when the flowers are open.

Cut the stem half way down and tie the stems in small bunches.

Hang them upside down in a well ventilated place, out of direct sunlight. When they’re fully dry, they can be stored in a glass jar.

Yarrow tea can be made by brewing 1 to 2 teaspoons of dried Yarrow in hot water. Allow the tea to steep for 10 minutes before drinking.

How to grow yarrow

Common questions about growing Yarrow

Can Yarrow Grow in the Shade?

Yarrow is best grown in full sun where it produces compact plants and tight flower heads.

Growing Yarrow in the shade results in long stems that tend to droop in the wind.

Is Yarrow Frost Tolerant?

Yarrow can survive cold winter temperatures and tolerates frost.

Can Yarrow Grow Indoors?

Yarrow can be grown in containers indoors but it will need to be placed in an area that receives lots of light.

Will Yarrow Grow in Clay Soil?

Yarrow will grow in just about any soil as long as it’s well drained and not too rich. It doesn’t like soil that is constantly wet.

Where Does Yarrow Grow?

Yarrow is native to North America but it’s also found in Europe, Africa, Asia, South America and Australia.

Final Thoughts

Yarrow is a hardy perennial that is easy to maintain and will tolerate most conditions.

They’re a great plant for borders and rock gardens and they don’t need much ongoing care so it won’t matter if they’re a bit neglected.

If Yarrow is given plenty of sunshine it will thrive.


Have you tried growing Yarrow in your garden? Let me know in the comments below.

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How to grow yarrow

How to grow Yarrow

Kelly Martin

Hi, I'm Kelly Martin, a landscape gardener and designer with over 10 years experience. I have a passion for small space gardening and I love designing and creating beautiful outdoor spaces that maximize the potential of small urban gardens. Read more

This Post Has 9 Comments

  1. Scott DeNicola

    We have yarrow growing on the side of my house and it just appeared there. I never planted it and almost pulled it out years ago but my wife likes it so much. You are so right about it spreading as I have pulled out a bunch for my neighbors to grow. I did not know about yarrow leaves being used for tea.

  2. Sonia Seivwright

    Yarrows are so beautiful. The flowers are very lovely too. It’s nice to see some flowers, feels like it’s summer again. Summer next year, I will grow some Yarrow in my garden.

  3. Kristy Bullard

    I love Yarrow, especially the pastels! They are so pretty. Thanks for all of the great gardening tips!

  4. Alexxandra

    I have actually never heard of a Yarrow plant. I really love the ruby one. Unfortunately it wouldn’t do well at my home, though we do have full sunshine for the predominant part of the day. Now I can’t really remember why it wouldn’t do well here except that it is a North American plant and I live in Florida. Also, I’m not sure what dividing a plant is. You mentioned that you should do that every few years. This is probably where I would end up messing them up. I just don’t really know how to take care of plants and shrubs and I really wish I did because I would like to have plants and shrubs outside my home and I do have some but I really don’t know how to take care of them.

    1. Kelly Martin

      Hi Alexxandra, dividing Yarrow just means digging it up every few years and separating the clumps. It helps to keep the plants healthy.

  5. Lindsay Brown

    Great article on growing yarrow! I grow the yellow variety in my yard and now I will know how-to better care for it. I especially liked your section on dividing and transplanting it because I’ve been thinking of moving it for a while now. The pink yarrow pictured in your post is absolutely stunning!

  6. Luna S

    I love butterflies and I’ve always wanted a butterfly garden, but living in Arizona a lot of flowers you try to plant get burned alive during the summer. I will have to look into planting some of these In my yard!

  7. Ro

    I planted a yarrow plant to honor the recovery of a teenager who was in a car accident. It was the best choice cuz it grew tall and healthy with beautiful pink flowers. The girl in question is fully recovered and my plant has given me three more plants which are kept dearly in my garden.

    1. Kelly Martin

      That’s such a nice story Ro. I’m happy to hear that the yarrow plants and the teenager are all doing well.

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