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Native Plants Series: Common Yarrow

Here is your native yarrow, Achillea millefolium. This yarrow blooms in white from June through September. It is a very aggressive plant, so be aware of that when you plant it.

It needs protection from the wind and can become untidy looking. You can cut them back in spring to reduce plant height and floppiness. You can also cut them back to their basal foliage after blooming if they look too messy for your garden.

This yarrow prefers lean, dry, sandy soil, but will tolerate a range of soil types if kept dry. They are deer and drought resistant and attract butterflies. You are not likely to find the straight species for sale in garden centers, but rather cultivars that have been selected or bred for better growing characteristics (although I have started to see the straight species in specialty native plants nurseries). It can be very difficult to tell from a plant label if your yarrow cultivar is a North American species or something else. If your plant tag says "achillea hybrid", it MAY be too modified from the straight species to be beneficial to wildlife. However, Achillea millefolium is native to not only North America, but to Europe and Northern Asia as well. In fact, many of the yarrow plants you find growing in the wild may have been naturalized from plants brought over by European settlers.

Here in South Central PA, yarrow is a host plant to at least 16 species of moth and butterfly caterpillars.

Sources: USDA, National Wildlife Federation, BONAP, Missouri Botanical Garden

📷: dolvita108 on Pixabay

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