The botanical name of Yarrow is Achillea millefolium and is a member of the daisy family. Yarrow plant is perfect for growing in containers. The plant is best-known as an ornamental and is also completely edible. Yarrow plants acts as a great pest deterrent and the plant has a variety of medicinal properties. Yarrow plant is perennial and extremely hardy, it is unfortunate that this herb is not too popular. Continue reading to learn how to grow yarrow in containers.
Growing Yarrow Plants in Containers
There are actually 2 ways to start growing yarrow plant. The first is to purchase an established yarrow plant, which can be easily done online. After purchase, it will usually be delivered in a small container for potting on. The second way is to start the yarrow plant from seed. Yarrow plants grow quickly, so starting it from seed is usually the better (and even cheaper) option. The yarrow seeds need light to germinate so you need to keep them in a warm, bright spot. The seeds can take about 3 weeks to germinate. Yarrow plants are very unfussy and they grow in a range of different conditions in the wild. The plant does not have any specific soil requirements, so any standard potting mix will be okay. If you want to blend your own mix you can simply combine ⅓ compost, ⅓ coir and ⅓ perlite. Actually forking some slow-release fertilizer into the surface of the potting soil at the beginning of spring will lead to vigorous growth through summer. Yarrow plants actually prefer a sunny spot but, if you are short on space the plant will manage quite happily in dappled shade. The perfect location for the plant is West and east-facing locations. Yarrow plants is also a good companion plant, repelling pests and attracting predatory insects like ladybirds and wasps, you can even put your pot amongst other edibles (or ornamentals) plant if possible. Remember that yarrow plant is an herbaceous plant, which means that the foliage above the soil line will die back over winter. Through the growing season, it will reach a maximum height of between twenty to forty inches. As with most edible container plants, make sure you use the biggest pot you can manage. Any containers that is about four liter and above will be very okay.
How to Harvest Yarrow
It is actually best to harvest yarrow just after flowering, and all parts of the plant are edible. The way you harvest this herb will vary depending on whether you are planning on growing them from seed every year or you want to keep it as a perennial. Whichever way, just snip off all of the flowerheads, which actually make a yummy tea, when they appear. Most gardeners will just harvest the flowers, leaving the stems and the leaves intact. It’s possible to have multiple harvests in one season this way because the yarrow plant will keep producing blooms until it enters dormancy over winter. If you want to eat the stems and the leaves too then there are a few routes you can take. If you’re growing the yarrow plant from seed every year, it’s actually best to harvest in one go after the appearance of flowers, cutting the main stems near the ground. On the other hand, if you want good growth next year just only snip off ⅓ of the stems, leaving the rest until they die back in autumn (the flowers can all be harvested when they appear). By cutting off only a third, you’ll allow the yarrow plant to replenish its roots with nutrients that will be used for next year’s growth. The leaves and the stems are best used in salads and also make wonderful additions to soups. The flowers can be dried and used in tea.
This herb can also be used to help with hay fever, the common cold and also stomach upsets. When the herb is dried it also gives off a wonderful aroma.