Yarrow is a flowering herb that is extremely beneficial in the garden. It has delicate foliage and flowers that attract good predatory insects. While it can become invasive and be considered a weed, yarrow is also beneficial to a healthy wildlife or herb garden in a number of ways. Yarrow has been used as a herbal remedy since ancient times and it goes by a number of different local names that reflect its various uses. Yarrow is a member of the daisy family and is a fairly close relative of camomile.

Growing yarrow:

Yarrow is usually bought as a plant or a division is gifted from a friend or neighbour's plant, though it can also be grown from seed. Yarrow seeds can be planted indoors around six to eight weeks before your last frost date, though they take a while to germinate – between 14 and 21 days – and it is essential to make sure that they get light or they will not germinate, so they are more often purchased as young plants.

Yarrow is not a particularly fussy plant and it is easy to grow. It does like full sun however, and will grow best in a well drained soil. The soil can be very dry or very low in fertility and yarrow will still grow. If you are planting several yarrow plants together you should separate them by around

Yarrow does not need much care but it will need watering in times of drought. Once established, yarrow can actually become invasive if you are not careful because it spreads so easily. If you would like to plant yarrow but don't want it to take over your whole herb garden you could plant it within a sunken container in the ground, or simply keep it in a pot close to other herbs.

Yarrow produces prodigious quantities of long-lasting seed so if you do not want yarrow to take over you must be sure to cut it down before it has a chance to go to seed in the first place.

Why grow yarrow in the garden?

When placed in the herb garden or with any aromatic plants it is said to increase the production of essential oils.

Yarrow can also improve soil quality when the leaves are used to enrich the compost or simply chopped and dropped.

Birds sometimes use yarrow to line their nests and it is thought this may be because it kills parasites.

Yarrow has historically had a range of medical uses, though it should not be used without the advice of a medical professional. This useful herb is an astringent and as such can be useful for making soaps and cosmetic products. 

Quick Facts

Latin Name
Achillea millefolium