Western yarrow is a staple in sunny pollinator gardens and parking strips. It has an impressive bloom-time, sporting flat-topped clusters of showy, white flowers from spring to fall. The flowers sit upon hardy stalks making them ideal for fresh or dried arrangements – or to simply leave in the low-maintenance winter garden for birds and overwintering insects.
Yarrow is highly attractive to pollinators, butterflies, and other beneficial insects – providing them with nectar and a larval food source. The foliage is delightfully-delicate, lacy and fernlike. It can also be also used as a lawn substitute if mown infrequently.
- Plant type/canopy layer: deciduous, perennial, herbaceous plant
- Size at maturity: 12-24" tall, 24" wide
- Light requirements: full sun
- Moisture requirements: moist to dry soil
- Growth rate/ease: fast growth rate, easy to grow
- Bloom time: April - October
- Wildlife support: flowers attract and provide nectar to adult butterflies, bees and other insect pollinators; overall plant attracts and support beneficial and other pest eating insects and is a caterpillar host plant and larval food source for native butterflies and moths
- Native range: common across a wide diversity of habitats from open woodlands, shrublands, grasslands, pastures, rocky slopes, roadsides and even highly disturbed areas, lawns, and your neighborhood bus stop. Native to all ecoregions of Oregon and is widespread across the Pacific Northwest and even in many areas of North America, Asia, and Europe. Portland Plant List – yes.
- Special features & uses: drought tolerant, beneficial insect, pollinator and wildlife favorite, medicinal, lawn substitute
What to Expect + Gardening with Western Yarrow: Hardy, easy to grow - an excellent addition for sunny wildflower meadows and pollinator parking strips. It spreads vigorously, but not obnoxiously, by rhizome and seed. Incredibly low-maintenance and drought tolerant. Over time, you’ll have enough to share with friends. The spent flowers stay upright on a sturdy stalk and, if left, can provide winter interest and habitat resources for birds and overwintering beneficial insects.
Seed Sowing Instructions: Can be fall or spring sown - no stratification required. Spring seeds on the surface of bare earth at a rate of about 60 seeds/sq ft. Do not cover. If planting in small pots outside, put one small pinch per pot. Then, protect from heavy rains so the seed does not get washed away. Alternatively, can be directly sown in situ, one small pinch in each area you want it to grow.
Fall-winter sown seed may not germinate until temps warm in the spring. Spring sown should germinate within a couple of weeks. Each packet contains approximately 650 seeds.
Photo Credit 1: "Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)" by Peter O'Connor aka anemoneprojectors is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0
Photo Credit 2: Hoddick Photography
Photo Credit 3, 6: Nikkie West, Sparrowhawk Native Plants
Photo Credit 4: "File:Eristalis arbustorum - Achillea millefolium - Keila.jpg" by Ivar Leidus is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0
Photo Credit 5 : Tara Lemezis