Achillea filipendulina [ak-ih-LEE-a, fil-ip-en-DOO-lin-uh] also known as fern leaf yarrow is an Asian perennial plant belonging to the aster family (Asteraceae) along with the Joe Pye weed plant.
Now found in Europe, North America, and Canada, this herbaceous plant is native to the Caucasus, Iran, Afghanistan, and central Asia.
This particular species of the Achillea genus is one of the tallest ones and it’s similar to the Achillea millefolium (Common Yarrow).
The genus name references Achilles, the hero of the Trojan Wars in Greek mythology, who planted medicinally to stop bleeding and to heal the wounds soldiers.
It’s characterized by its long-lasting golden flowers and fern-like foliage.
An interesting aspect of the plant is it releases a spicy aroma when its semi-evergreen foliage is crushed.
Compared to other perennials, it’s a well-behaved plant which doesn’t overtake garden soils.
Positioned in a sunny location, it creates a bushy mound of fragrant flowers which thrive even in substandard growing locations.
The common names you may hear include:
- Fernleaf Yarrow
- Coronation Gold
- Gold Plate
Fern Leaf Yarrow Care
Size & Growth
Yarrow has herbaceous foliage with fern-like texture leaves.
This long-lasting foliage is dotted with clumps of tiny, bright yellow/golden flowers.
The plants bloom time is during early summer to early fall growing to impressive heights.
It can reach a height of 35″ – 59″ inches and spreads 18″ – 23″ inches in diameter.
This plant has a fast growth rate, which means you will see it bloom not too long after you plant it in your garden.
Flowering and Fragrance
Achillea is known for its bright flower color.
During the summer season, the plant blooms tiny bright yellow flowers on stiff, erect stems.
The stems are usually longer than the foliage and could rise above to 3′ – 4′ feet.
The flowers appear in flattened, plate-like compound corymbs.
They start blooming early during the summer and lasts through the fall season.
To promote long-lasting blooming, deadhead flowers so lateral buds can bloom.
Light & Temperature
The bright yellow flowers love bright full sun.
They do extremely well when planted in sunny locations where they get light throughout the day.
The plant’s quite tolerable and hardy in USDA hardiness zones 3 to 9.
They are heat tolerant and grow in locations where summers are long and hot.
Make sure they get enough sunlight during the day to remain healthy for the growing season.
Watering and Feeding
Fernleaf Yarrow has average water needs and can tolerate hot and humid summers.
It’s drought tolerant and can even moderately tolerate salt.
Since they prefer a drier climate, don’t overwater it.
Overwatering can lead to root rot and negatively impact the plant’s health.
Soil & Transplanting
Yarrow is favored because of its ability to grow beautiful flowers, even in poor soil conditions.
However, they do well when planted in well-drained soil with dry to medium soil moisture.
Unlike some other plants, avoid using heavily enriched and moist soils.
This can cause your plant to get leggy.
A mixture of average or sandy soil type with a neutral pH is sufficient for healthy foliage and flowering.
Grooming and Maintenance
Since Achillea doesn’t tend to spread and overtake, it’s pretty low maintenance.
Although not necessary, deadheading is used to encourage further growth.
As soon as you see spent flowers, remove them.
It will promote lateral flower buds to be exposed and bloom.
Furthermore, cutting back the plant after initial blooming will also promote rebloom and extend the bloom season for the year.
Although Yarrow is not a spreading species, it does have a clumping habit.
Staking is necessary from time to time.
How to Propagate Achillea Yarrow
Yarrow propagates by seed and division.
If you’re propagating from seeds:
- Collect them in late summer.
- Cut the flower heads as they start turning light brown and let them dry.
- Wrap them in paper towels and let them chill in the fridge for four weeks.
- In late spring, sow the seeds in a ¼-inch deep hole.
- It will take approximately 14 to 30 days to germinate if kept moist.
- When they grow a few inches tall, transplant them to their permanent position in early fall.
If you’re using the division method:
- Divide the young plants away from the main one in early spring.
- Plant them the clumps immediately at the same level as they were and water well.
Achillea Pest or Disease Problems
The diseases commonly found in Achillea include stem rot, powdery mildew, and rust.
Learn more on How To Get Rid Of Powdery Mildew
The plant is usually problem-free and even deer resistant.
Suggested Uses For Achillea Filipendulina
The clusters of bright yellow flowers on Fern Leaf Achillea look striking when planted in groups or masses in garden beds or borders.
The plant looks beautiful as cut flowers in arrangements or as dried flowers in dried arrangements.