Achillea millefolium-Fern Leaf Yarrow

Achillea millefolium on 8-1-11, #68-1.

Fern Leaf Yarrow, Milfoil

Achillea millefolium

Ack-ih-LEE-uh  mill-ee-FOH-lee-um

Achillea millefolium L. is the correct scientific name for this plant. It was first documented by Carl von Linnaeus in Species Plantarum in 1753.

The 2013 version of The Plant List named 151 accepted species in the Achillea genus (plus 33 accepted infraspecific names), 352 synonyms (Including  335 infraspecific synonyms), and 220 unresolved or un accessed names (including infraspecific names).

The species Achillea millefolium alone includes 130 synonyms, 11 infraspecific names including 4 accepted subspecies names.

The Plant List is no longer maintained and Plants of the World Online by Kew (Royal Botanic Garden) doesn’t list the accepted species for Achillea. They are fairly new and still uploading data.


Achillea millefolium at 38″ tall on 7-2-12, #106-1.

A friend of mine, Mary Botler, gave me my start of Achillea millefolium in Leland, Mississippi in 2011. It was pretty funny to see Mary pulling up these plants by the handfuls so I had plenty to put here and there at the mansion.

My first experience with the Achillea millefolium was when I bought a plant from Bluestone Perennials in 1981 or 1982. My grandfather (mom’s dad) passed away in 1981 and I moved into my grandparents home on this same farm. The house is gone, but I rejuvenated the flower beds I made way back then.

I didn’t realize there are MANY Achillea millefolium growing wild on the farm, although they seem quite different than the cultivated strain.


Achillea millefolium flowers on 6-21-13, #156-2.

I sold the mansion in Mississippi and moved back to the family farm in mid-Missouri in February 2013. I gave up around 200 plants but I took most of my cactus and succulents, Alocasia, some of the perennials and a few other plants. I took two clumps of the Achillea millefolium with me and put them in the bed I had dug along the south side of the house.


Achillea millefolium on 8-23-13, #178-1.


Family: Asteraceae
Origin: Native to many countries. Who knows where it originated.
Zones: USDA Zones (° F)
Size: 24-36″ tall
Light: Sun to light shade
Soil: Well-drained
Water: Average. Drought tolerant


Achillea millefolium on 10-15-13, #198-1.

As cooler temps started arriving it was time to think about winter. I had been used to fall arriving later after several years in Mississippi. Even though I grew up in mid-Missouri, I was not looking forward to it.



Achillea millefolium on 6-1-14, #6-1-14, #228-1.

I moved the two bigger clumps of Achillea millefolium in the spring of 2014. I moved the bigger one in front of the chicken house and the other next to the porch on the north side of the house. I had a few stragglers so I put them along the basement steps on the south side.


Achillea millefolium on 6-29-14, #230-2.

The Achillea millefolium did very well on the north side of the house despite more shade than it preferred.



Achillea millefolium in front of the chicken house on 3-22-15.

Achillea millefolium is always one of the first perennials to return in the spring.


Achillea millefolium in the north bed on 3-22-15, #233-3.

Even though the soil in the north bed stays a little damper than on the south side, the Achillea millefolium seems to have no problems surviving in cold, damp soil.


Achillea millefolium along the basement steps on 4-4-15, #235-1.

Achillea millefolium prefers a location where they receive full sun. They will do OK in light shade but they won’t tolerate too much of it. I tried that in Mississippi and found out that is about the only thing they won’t tolerate.


Achillea millefolium in front of the chicken house on 5-1-15, #248-1.

If you plant Achillea millefolium where they receive full sun all day, even in the most intense heat, they will thrive and spread. I think my Achillea being where they receive “just enough” sun and not to much shade has kept them from going crazy. The Equisetum hyemale (Horsetail) is planted at the other corner and nothing can stop it…


Achillea millefolium along the basement steps on 5-8-15, #252-1.

The Achillea did very well along the basement steps on the southeast corner of the house for a while then just fizzled out. That was very weird since they prefer full sun and well-drained soil. If you plant your Achillea where it is happy, you will always have it.


Achillea millefolium in the north bed on 6-3-15, #265-2.

The Achillea millefolium in the north bed has always done well there, but every year is gradually moving all by itself. It wants more sun so it is creeping to where it can get more. I am thinking about moving it but I haven’t decided where…


Achillea millefolium along the basement steps on 6-3-15, #265-3.

I am kind of running out of words, so you’ll just have to look at the photos…


Achillea millefolium in front of the chicken house on 6-4-15, #268-1.



Achillea millefolium flowers on 7-9-16, #274-1.

I didn’t take many photos for a while because I was temporarily without a camera…



Achillea millefolium in front of the chicken house on 6-18-17, #345-2.

To successfully grow Achillea millefolium, you only have a few very simple rules. They prefer full sun in well-drained soil. They appreciate a little extra water during dry spells, but even without it, they are OK. While other plants may be drooping because of the intense midday sun, the Achillea loves it. I have never seen my Achillea complain about the heat or being dry.


Achillea millefolium in the north bed at 37″ tall on 8-20-17, #367-1.

As I mentioned earlier, the Achillea millefolium on the north side do well even though it wants more sun. It gets morning sun and again in the late afternoon. It can see the sun beyond the shade so it has a tendency to lean toward it. It may be at least 2 feet from where I originally planted it. I just make the bed bigger…


Achillea millefolium flowers on 9-2-17, #370-2.

Even though I have taken several photos of Achillea millefolium flowers, I keep taking more…



Achillea millefolium in the north bed on 2-18-18, #411-11.

Even though January 2018 was very cold at times, the Achillea millefolium wasted no time coming up whenever it warmed up for a few days.


Achillea millefolium on 4-8-18, #423-1.

it seemed like everytime we had a couple of warm days, the Achillea would sneak out for a peek. I am still wondering about moving this clump to a sunnier location. This clump and the one in front of the chicken house get a little more shade than they would like.

I will continue adding more photos as time goes by.

I hope you enjoyed this page and maybe found it useful. If you have any comments, questions or suggestions, I would like to hear from you. Please click on “like” if you visited this page. It helps us bloggers stay motivated. 🙂 You can check out the links below for further reading. The links take you directly to the genus and species of this plant.



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