My SoCal Garden

How to Grow Yarrow

By Steve Thomas-Patel·
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Yarrow is an easy to grow, highly versatile native plant

There are too many good reasons to grow Yarrow, Achillea millefolium, it's a wonder many people haven't heard of it. While it is native to California, it isn't endemic. It can be found naturally occuring in many parts of the world.

Yarrow has many uses, but I like to grow yarrow simply as an ornamental plant. It's got a nice, fernlike base and shoots off delicate looking flowers that pollinators love. The flowers can be different colors, white is the most common.

Yarrow also makes a wonderful groundcover. I'm always looking for alternatives to grass for groundcovers, yarrow fits the bill quite nicely. You can mow yarrow to keep it low (it loves to flower). It's also very resilient if trampled. And of course, as a native it takes very little water. So if you need a grasslike groundcover, just grow some yarrow and mow it every couple of weeks.

Yarrow has also long been used as a medicinal herb. One of its names is "soldiers bloodwort," because it is an effective coagulant that has been used on the battlefield to stop bleeding.

How to Grow Yarrow

Yarrow is a plant that loves to be ignored. I have two that I allowed to grow quite bushy in one of the hottest parts of my yard and I always skip them when watering.

I also have one mixed in my herb garden that gets lots of runoff from the other waterings. That yarrow is happy as well.

Of those two that I neglect as much as possible, my dog once, for no apparent reason decided to rip one out one day. She didn't get the whole plant but really chopped it down to it's base. Within a month it had fully recovered and was looking healthy.

Yarrow is known to like well-draining soil. Mine is growing in heavy clay. So all of this is to say, you don't have to worry a lot about how you grow your yarrow!

Yarrow likes sunlight and is very drought tolerant. You don't have to amend the soil you put it in. You can grow it in containers or in the ground.

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