At it’s best:
Achilleas generally flower from July through August and September, providing colour ranging from whites, pinks and reds through to shades of yellow and muted orange tones, perfect for reflecting the hazy golden sunlight of late summer and early autumn. Foliage is fernlike, sometimes silvery and downy. The seed-heads continue to offer interest into late autumn and winter, both in the garden and when dried. For the best effect allow Achillea to form a good sizeable drift and try pairing with large daisy-like flowers such as Helenium and Rudbeckia. It also makes a great cut flower.
When and where to plant:
Plant out in a sunny or partially sunny location. Reaching from anywhere between 45cm (18″) to 200cm (6ft) with a spread of up to 50cm (19.5″), depending on growing conditions. Achilleas tend to do best on chalky soils but will be fine on slightly acidic soil too. Longevity is prolonged when planted on poorer, drier, free-draining soils.
If you have a heavier soil, then try cutting the flowering stems back to the ground around early-October as this can bulk up the base and allow the plant to fare a little better over winter.
Tolerance and Resistance:
Good resistance to both pests and disease, though you might find the odd greenfly in warmer weather. A hardy perennial and drought-tolerant too, Achilleas are mostly trouble-free plants.
Loved by hoverflies and butterflies, though not bees. The seed-heads will also attract finches, who enjoy feeding on the seeds in winter.
Named after the Greek hero Achilles. Legend has it that his soldiers used Achillea to treat their wounds, which explains why it’s also known as All Heal and Bloodwort.