Achilleas, or yarrows, are traditional border perennials. They have long been valued for their feathery foliage and the beautiful, flat-topped flowers that bloom right through the summer months. But in recent years, they have become fashionably popular, used widely in perennial and wildlife planting schemes.
There are many cultivars and colours to choose from, ranging from white and yellow to shocking pink and the flat flower heads make the perfect landing platform for pollinators, particularly hoverflies.
Take a look at our handy Achillea Grow Guide, below.
How to grow achilleas
Where to plant achilleas
The ideal site for achilleas is free-draining soil in full sun to partial shade. However they will tolerate quite a wide range of soil types, as long as they don’t suffer from water-logging.
Achilleas look good in the middle of an ornamental border or wildlife garden. They also make a good choice for growing in gravel gardens.
How to plant achilleas
Plant in spring. If you’ve bought a new achillea plant, dig a generous hole, deeper and wider than the pot and add a handful of horticultural grit for added drainage. Plant in the hole, backfill and firm the soil around the plant and water in well.
How to look after achilleas
Achilleas are quite straightforward in their requirements. Cut back old foliage in spring and deadhead flowers through the summer to encourage more blooms. Leave a few flowerheads if you want to collect seed.
They are clump-forming perennials, although relatively slow-growing, but they need dividing every three to five years to revitalise the plant. Some varieties that flower prolifically, such as ‘Moonshine’, will simply exhaust themselves after a few years, so will need replacing.
How to propagate achilleas
The best method of propagating achilleas is by division in spring. You can also take cuttings in early spring. Pull away new shoots, leaving a heel, and plant into potting compost with added sand. Your cuttings should form new roots after a few weeks and can be potted on into individual pots when the plant is well established.
Some varieties will self-seed happily, although they may not come true to type. However, it is worth collecting the seed which can be sown in autumn or spring.
Follow our guide to sowing seeds in autumn.
Achilleas: problem solving
Five great achillea varieties to grow
Achillea ‘Moonshine’ – a variety with grey-green foliage and pretty light yellow flowers. The plants are clump forming but spread slowly.
Achillea filipendulina ‘Cloth of Gold’ – with light green foliage and deep golden blooms.
Achillea millefolium ‘Cerise Queen’ – one of the pink varieties. The cerise flower heads have dark margins and paler colouring towards the centre.
Achillea millefolium ‘Fanal’ – the bright orange-red flowers with yellow eyes are very striking. Use in a hot colour scheme for an end of summer burst of glory. It has a great reputation as a good cut flower.
Achillea ‘Terracotta’ – the beautiful blooms open orange and fade to yellow with age.
Discover more achilleas in our Plant Finder.