Content Detail

Common yarrow is a strongly aromatic, spreading perennial for hot dry sites. Numerous, small white flowers are borne in terminal dense clusters blooming in mid-to-late summer above the small, fern-like, gray-green leaves.

  • Family (English) Aster
  • Family (botanic) Asteraceae
  • Tree or plant type Perennial
  • Native locale Non-native
  • Size range Medium plant (12-24 inches), Large plant (more than 24 inches)
  • Light exposure Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)
  • Hardiness zones Zone 4, Zone 5 (Northern Illinois), Zone 6 (City of Chicago), Zone 7, Zone 8
  • Soil preference Acid soil, Alkaline soil, Moist, well-drained soil
  • Tolerances Alkaline soil, Dry sites, Occasional drought
  • Season of interest midsummer, late summer
  • Flower color and fragrance Fragrant, White
  • Shape or form Multi-stemmed, Upright
  • Growth rate Fast

Size and form:

An upright, erect plant growing 1 to 2 feet high. The foliage is often mat-like to erect and spreading.

Native geographic location and habitat:

It is native Europe, western Asia, and introduced to North America.

Attracts birds and butterflies:

Beneficial to bees, butterflies, and several other pollinators. Birds use leaves to line nests.

Leaf description:

Dark green to gray-green, deeply cut (bipinnate), fern-like foliage is 3 to 5 inches long near the base of plants getting smaller near the top of stems. Foliage is aromatic when crushed.

Flower description:

Numerous, tiny white flowers borne in flat-topped clusters (corymbs), 2 to 3 inches across at the terminal end of the stalk. Flowers bloom in mid to late summer and are good cut flowers, either used fresh or dried.

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions:

Fruit is a small achene that contains a single seed.

Plant care:

Common yarrow grows best in full sun in a hot dry site and requires well drained soil.  It tolerate both acid and alkaline soil pH. It tends to be floppy and may require staking. Some yarrow can become weedy and aggressive by spreading rapidly from invasive rhizomes. Deadhead early to promote a longer blooming period and prevent seedlings. Foliage can be cut to ground mid-spring to produce shorter, stockier stems. Leave basal foliage over winter to provide protection, cut back in spring.

List of pests, diseases and tolerances:

It is susceptible to powdery mildew, stem rot in wet sites. It is drought and deer tolerant.


Your support is vital to the Arboretum, where the power of trees makes a positive impact on people’s lives.

Make a gift