Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Perennials A-Z

Achillea filipendulina 'Coronation Gold' after cutback
Achillea filipendulina 'Coronation Gold' foliage before cutback
Achillea filipendulina 'Coronation Gold'

Achillea millifolium 'Paprika'

Achillea is hardy to the upper midwest. The name represents the Greek God, Achilles. The story is that Achille saved the lives of his soldiers by applying yarrow to their wounds to stop bleeding. Easy to grow, Achillea is hardy, insect and disease resistant, and drought tolerant. A sunny spot and well drained soil is essential. The flowers are good for cutting and drying.

A. millefolium. Common Yarrow. Millefolium comes from the French word "mille" for 1,000 referring to the plants many leaf segments. This plant is distributed widely throughout the temperate northern hemisphere. Flower heads are often white, and cultivars range from yellows to pinks to reds. Common cultivars include 'Paprika', 'Cerise Queen', 'Terracotta'. A. millefolium spreads via seed and rhizomes. The white flowering common yarrow can be invasive in certain areas. Keep this variety out of the home garden.

A. filipendulina. Fern Leaf Yarrow. Common cultivars include 'Parker's Variety', and 'Coronation Gold'. A. Filipendulina is a clump forming perennial, and has much more attractive foliage than the A. millefolium. Good drainage and air flow is essential. This plant can be used for massing as long as the foliage is cut back after bloom.

Maintenance: Deadhead to next lateral bud to increase flowering time. A. millefolium needs to be deadheaded so it will not flop over. The foliage on A. millefolium can look quite untidy after bloom. Cut back to basal foliage after bloom. Keep towards the back of the border. I prefer the foliage of the A. filipendulina. It has a nice green/gray color. It will also appear untidy after bloom. Cut back at this time to basal foliage for an attractive plant until frost.

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