Fernleaf yarrow – planting, care and tips

Flower of fernleaf yarrow
Flower of fernleaf yarrow

The fernleaf yarrow and its varieties are very popular as cut and dried flowers. With the right planting and care, the perennials will thrive in your garden too.

Profile of fernleaf yarrow:

Scientific name: Achillea filipendulina

Plant family: aster family (Asteraceae)

Other names: milfoil, nosebleed

Sowing time: spring

Planting time: spring and autumn

Flowering period: July to September

Harvest time: May to September

Location: sunny

Soil quality: sandy to loamy, nutrient rich, hums rich, toelrates lime

These information are for temperate climate!

Use as a medicinal herb: chapped hands, eczema, indigestion, menopausal symptoms, menstrual, cramps, skin inflammation, varicose veins, wounds

Use in: flowerbeds bouquets, stand-alone, planters, borders, cottage garden, flower garden, natural garden, prairie garden

Winter hardiness: hardy, USDA Plant Hardiness Zones: 3 (-37 °C / -35 °F)

Bee and insect friendly: Yes

Plant characteristics and classification of fernleaf yarrow

Plant order, origin and occurrence of fernleaf yarrow

The fernleaf yarrow (Achillea filipendulina) is a particularly ornate representative of the genus of yarrow. The home of the perennial is in the Orient and Caucasus. Botanically it belongs to the aster family (Asteraceae). If you are looking for bee-friendly perennials for your garden, you have come to the right place.

Characteristics of fernleaf yarrow


With its upright stalks, the fernleaf yarrow grows 70 to 120 centimeters (28 to 48 in) in height. This makes it significantly larger than some of its relatives. Overall, the perennial grows in clumps.


The pinnate leaves of the milfoil appear gray-green and are 10 to 20 centimeters (4 to 8 in) long. The basal leaflets are elongated or lanceolate and deeply divided into 10 to 15 pairs of segments. The foliage gives off a spicy scent.


From July to August, often even into September, the large flower umbels shine in a sunny golden yellow. The distinctive sham umbels, which are made up of numerous individual flowers, are very popular with bees, bumblebees and butterflies. With some varieties of the fernleaf yarrow, the flower plates are even larger or in the colors red, white or orange.


The fruits of the milfoil contain tiny seeds and are rather inconspicuous.

Fernleaf yarrow (Achillea filipendulina)
Fernleaf yarrow (Achillea filipendulina)

Fernleaf yarrow – cultivation and care


Like many of its relatives, Achillea filipendulina prefers a sunny, warm spot in the garden.


As for the soil, the fernleaf yarrow does not have high standards. It feels most comfortable in permeable, sandy-loamy and nutrient-rich soil that is dry to fresh. The perennial also copes well with summer drought.


The best time to plant the fernleaf yarrow is in spring and autumn. To prevent waterlogging, heavy soils should first be loosened up with sand or gravel. Lean soils are enriched with compost before planting. Before planting, immerse the root ball in water and water the perennials well after planting. For safety, tall varieties receive a support.


The perennial only needs water on very dry days. It is watered in the evening or in the morning. Avoid watering in the midday sun. Flowers and leaves do not tolerate contact with the irrigation water.


The fernleaf yarrow does not necessarily need fertilizer. A little compost in the spring will do. It keeps the perennial healthy and vital.


The robust and hardy fernleaf yarrow does not require a lot of care. In order to promote the growth of the side flowers, snapping out or cutting out the strong central flower has proven itself. To avoid sself eeding, faded umbels are cut off. If the pruning is done in good time, a second flowering can often be encouraged.


The easiest way to propagate the fernleaf yarrow is by division. Sowing is best done in spring, between April and June, under glass. Cuttings are cut from the new shoots in spring.


So that the perennial remains vital and its flowering pleasure does not diminish, it should be divided about every three to four years, preferably in spring. To do this, the clump is dug out with a spade and divided into two or more pieces with several shoot buds. The parts are planted directly again and watered well.

Diseases and pests

The milfoil is quite robust and resistant. Powdery mildew infestation is rare. Some varieties are completely avoided by snails.


The fernleaf yarrow is hardy down to -37 °C / -35 °F.

Use in the garden

The fernleaf yarrow is a classic in the cottage garden and a shining eye-catcher in the sunny perennial bed. It is often combined with the purple varieties of woodland sage (Salvia nemorosa). Other beautiful partners are pearly everlasting( Anaphalis), globe thistles (Echinops), sneezeweed (Helenium), blazing star (Liatris), perennial flax (Linum perenne), goldenrod (Solidago) and switchgrass (Panicum). In addition, fernleaf yarrow are attractive cut flowers and can also be used dried for flower arrangements.


There is now an enormous selection of varieties on the market. The Achillea-Filipendulina hybrids are also often referred to as noble yarrow.

  • “Coronation Gold”, a hybrid of Achillea filipendulina and Achillea clypeolata, is 60 to 70 centimeters high (24 to 28 in). The golden yellow flower color is a little brighter than that of the species
  • ‘Credo’ is a newer variety from Ernst Pagels with a height of 80 centimeters (32 in). The large umbels sit on sturdy stems and shine lemon yellow. The hybrid is characterized by strong growth
  • “Parker” is a tried and tested standard variety that can reach a height of around 120 centimeters (48 in) particularly quickly. It blooms golden yellow
  • The ‘Terracotta’ hybrid lives up to its name and develops orange-brown inflorescences

Use as a medicinal plant

At first glance, the fernleaf yarrow looks like a yellow blooming yarrow, and at second glance it resembles mugwort. Their scent is similar to that of mugwort, but the fernleaf yarrow smells gentler and friendlier.

The fernleaf yarrow does not occur wild in most parts of the world, but due to its beauty you can often find it in gardens, from which it sometimes escapes.

As a medicinal plant, the fernleaf yarrow is rarely used, but due to its active ingredients it can be used in a similar way to yarrow, albeit a little more cautiously because, like mugwort, it also contains powerful substances.

Fernleaf yarrow can be used either as a tea or as a tincture. If you cultivate the plant in the garden, you can use it in small quantities as a substitute for yarrow.


For a tea, dash one or two teaspoons of fernleaf yarrow with a cup of boiling water and let it steep for ten minutes. Then strain and drink in small sips. One to three cups of this tea are consumed daily.

To be on the safe side, the fernleaf yarrow should not be used in large quantities or regularly over longer periods of time.


Fernleaf yarrow can be used internally, as a tea or tincture against women’s complaints.

In addition, it helps against poor digestion.


Externally, fernleaf yarrow tea can be used in the form of compresses, baths or washes. This type of application can be used to reduce skin inflammation. When used this way, the herb also helps against circulatory disorders and weak veins.

Fernleaf yarrow can be used for these ailments and diseases

  • chapped hands
  • eczema
  • indigestion
  • menopausal symptoms
  • menstrual cramps
  • skin inflammation
  • varicose veins
  • wounds

Medicinal properties

  • anti-inflammatory
  • antispasmodic

Side effects

Not known.


During the flowering period, cut off all of the flowering herb about two hand’s widths above the ground. Then you tie small bundles from the plants and hang them with the flowers down in a dry, shady place. As soon as the plants are dry, get them down, chop them, preferably with scissors, put in a box and keep them cool, dry and protected from light.


Ask your doctor or pharmacist. Visiting this page can not replace the visit to the doctor. For serious or unclear complaints, consult your doctor.

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