These hardy perennials are great for the herbaceous border and the rock garden. They are easy to cultivate and many will survive in poor soil. Their height varies from 6 inches to 3 feet. Their foliage is pretty and dainty and somewhat resembles a fern. They produce bunches of single or double, small flowers resembling daisies. They are mainly found wild in the countries of southern Europe. They belong to the Daisy family, Compositae. A.ptarmica is an erect, spreading plant. Its shiny, dark green leaves are thin and serrated. The snow-white flowers resemble pom-pons and they are borne in large, branched heads in the summer. They are great for drying, for garlands, and for winter arrangements. A. ageratum (Sweet Nancy) is a spreading plant with thin, finely toothed and divided foliage. The small, white flowers grow in loose, branched heads in the summer. Their centers are off white and they are also good for drying. In fact, the flowers of almost every variety of Achillea can be dried. A. Forncett Candy produces tiny flowers in large, compact, flat heads atop stiff, leafy stems during the summer. They are pale pink with darker centers. The feathery leaves are a flat green color.
This plant should be divided every 3rd year to maintain vigor. A. Lachsschonheit is an upright plant that produces tiny flowers in flat heads that terminate rigid, leafy stems during the summer. The flowers are pale salmon-red fading to a creamy yellow. The leaves are feathery and finely divided into oblong to lance-shaped segments. This plant should also be divided every 3rd year to keep it growing actively. Other Achilleas will be mentioned below in the varieties section.
These plants should be grown in fertile, moist, but well-drained soil in full sun. All, except A. ptarmica and A. ageratum should be lifted and divided every 2nd or 3rd year to keep them growing actively. Coronation Gold and A. Filipendulina should be planted in well-drained, moisture-retentive soil.
The herbaceous kinds spread quickly and may be increased by detaching rooted pieces in the spring or fall. They will need to be supported by stakes in the summer, since they have loose habit of growth. Those grown in the rock garden may be increased by cuttings taken from young shoots in the summer or by division of old plants in the spring or fall.