Among the flower bed ideas, yarrow or achillea, have attractive flower clusters in shades including white, yellow and pink on tall stems, along with fern-like flakes. It’s attractive to pollinators, too.
Yarrow is a low-maintenance option for the yard, but to help it thrive, you may be considering whether or not you should stop it, so we asked the experts for their verdict – and the reasons behind it.
Yarrow Deadheading: Verdict from the Pros
Yarrow is a great choice as a cut garden flower, and it’s also a drought-tolerant perennial. It should also be on any list of potential wildlife garden ideas. Yarrow care does not require a lot of effort, but deadheading it may be a good idea.
“The greatest benefit of deadheaded yarrow is an increased number of flowers,” says gardening expert Ashley Smith of True Leaf Market. “When a flower is deadheaded, energy is reinvested in the blooming process.”
This is what you need to know.
Causes of dead yarrow
The first reason why you should plant deadhead yarrow is a longer flowering period. “Yarrow, like many perennials, will produce more flowers if deadheaded,” says GreenPal co-founder Gene Caballero, a landscape specialist. “By removing spent flowers, you encourage the plant to refocus its energy on producing new flowers rather than seeds.”
However, deadheading is not only useful for prolonging the blooming period. ‘False yarrow flowers can look untidy. “Removing deadheads gives the plant a sleeker look,” says Jain.
Also keep in mind that deadheading prevents the plant from spreading. “If you don’t plant dead yarrow, it’s very likely that the plant will start setting seeds and spreading throughout your garden,” explains Autumn Hilliard Knapp, horticulturist at Perfect Plants Nursery. “It is also possible that plants propagated from self-sown yarrow will look more like their wild ancestors and not like the beautiful yarrow that many like to display in their yards.”
If you don’t mind this, on the other hand, don’t eat yarrow. “While spread may be considered a disadvantage for one person, it may also be a benefit for another,” points out Ashley Smith. “Leaving the flower heads alone can allow the seeds to form and spread for a larger display of flowers in coming seasons.”
How to mate yarrow
Killing dead yarrow is a simple process. “Your yarrow will flower first in early summer,” explains Autumn Hilliard Knapp. “Once those flowers look faded or spent, you can use sharp scissors or shears and snip the flowers about halfway down the stem. This will allow the plant to grow and bloom more. You may be able to enjoy the blooms all fall.”
“I like to repeat this deadheading process again after the second flowers of the fall have finished. When pruning, be sure to leave the delicate, fern-like leaves at the base. These are called basal leaves and will help protect the plant from winter weather.
Be careful when cutting off the head of yarrow. “It is recommended to wear some form of hand protection, such as gloves, as some people with sensitive skin may have a response to the plant material,” explains Ashley Smith.
Should you cut off dead flowers from yarrow?
If you want to encourage more blooms and avoid self-seeding, cut off dead flowers from the yarrow plant. “Spent or faded flowers should be cut back during mid-to-late summer to encourage another round of blooms,” says Ashley Smith of True Leaf Market. It’s also a good idea to keep the plant where you want it. “Yarrow can be very aggressive in its spread. Deadheading can help control its spread by reducing the number of seeds it drops,” says Gene Caballero of GreenPal.
If you want a longer flowering time, it’s a good idea to plant deadheaded yarrow, and don’t forget to do the same for plants in containers – yarrow is one of the best drought-tolerant plants in pots, and it’s not fussy. One place where you won’t be dead? Yarrow is one of the best plants for a green roof as it can be part of an impactful plant collection.