There are so many other plants which steal the show and some of them do it in a way which is more subtle than just big wonderful blooms. Achillea ageratum ‘Moonwalker’ is one such plant, the rich green foliage has a fern-like appearance that is just as much the star as those wonderful golden umbels.
Sown early, Achillea 'Moonwalker' blooms easily the same year. It is a fairly compact plant growing to just 60cm (24in) tall by about the same width. Keeping it slightly under-watered will keep the floral stems from sprawling. Cut it back after its first flowering for it to repeat later in the summer and divide it every couple of years to keep it vigorous. It looks good year round with tidy foliage and bright non-fading flowers which are numerously produced.
Achillea works as an accent, specimen, or in mass planting. They are suitable for cut flowers production and make excellent dried flowers. Hardy to -30°C (-20°F) and drought proof, the plants will takes most climates and most kinds of soil as long as it is well drained.
Achillea will attract many species of pollinating insects to your garden during the summer and certain species of birds will also use it to line their nests. An added bonus is it is both deer and rabbit resistant
Sowing: February to June or September to October.
Sow the seeds on the surface of lightly firmed, moist seed compost in pots or trays. Cover seed with only a light sprinkling of compost or vermiculite as light aids germination. Water from the base of the tray, Place in a propagator or warm place, ideally at 15 to 20°C (59 to 68°F). Keep the compost moist but not wet at all times. Germination 5 to 10 days.
Prick out each seedling once it has its first set of true leaves and transplant into 7.5cm (3in) pots containing free-draining compost and grow them on in frost free conditions until large enough to plant outside. Plant out in well drained soil in full sun.
Gradually acclimatise to outdoor conditions for 10 to 15 days before planting out after all risk of frost has passed. Overwinter autumn sown plants in frost-free conditions before planting out the following spring. Plant 30 to 60cm apart.
Transplant to full sun and light soil; if the soil is rich, the stems get floppy. The plants dislike wet ground, particularly during winter. Improve heavy soil conditions by adding coarse grit or sharp sand prior to planting.
Achillea is a very easy plant to care for and once established is reasonably drought tolerant. In summer, stake the flower stems of tall varieties with canes or brushwood before the flowers appear to prevent them drooping in wet weather.
Blooming is prolonged by regular removal of faded flower stems. Cut down to the ground in late winter, but resist the urge to do this earlier, as the seed heads look lovely in the winter light. Lift and divide large clumps in late autumn or early spring.
In very heavy soils cut flowering stems off at ground level in late September to early October to allow the plants to bulk up at the base and thereby get through the winter more easily.
Cut when the flowers are well open but before the oldest flowers on the stem start to show signs of browning. Rain can damage the quality of the flowers, so cut back poor quality stems and wait for a second flush.
To dry, hang upside down in a warm (not hot) place with good air circulation. Drying too fast at high temps can cause browning, but drying too slowly may result in colour loss on the stems and leaves and give a less fresh appearance.
Coastal, Cottage/Informal Garden, Flower Arranging, Borders and Beds, Dry or Gravel Garden, Prairie Planting, Wildlife Gardens. Low Maintenance.
In the garden, yarrow is said to increase the health of nearby plants and will intensify the flavour of herbs grown near it. It is also a good compost activator.
Its flowers attract many beneficial insects, including ladybirds and parasitic wasps that prey on garden pests, in particular aphids. Ants do not like the smell; crushed leaves can be used as a deterrent.
Achillea is used for making natural dyes and will give a range of yellow, tan and green colours.
Achillea ageratum is native to southern Europe.
Achillea is a genus of about 85 flowering plants, in the family Asteraceae, commonly referred to as yarrow. They occur in Europe and temperate areas of Asia with a few growing in North America. These plants typically have frilly, hairy, aromatic leaves.
Named by Linnaeus, its name is said to derive from Achilles. Homer’s hero in the Iliad, who was well-trained in healing wounds as well as in causing them. He was reputed to have used it to staunch the bleeding wounds of his soldiers.
The species name ageratum is from the Greek ageratos or ageraton and means 'not growing old' in allusion to the flowers which retain their colour for a long time
Achillea ageratum is commonly known as Sweet Maudlin, Sweet Nancy and Sweet Yarrow. Yarrow has been used for thousands of years to staunch the flow of blood and for other medical purposes, In antiquity, yarrow was known as herbal militaris or soldier’s herb, nosebleed plant, and soldier’s woundwort.
It has the synonyms of Achillea decolorans (from the Latin colorans meaning ‘coloured’), Achillea serrata (meaning 'saw-toothed' in reference to the foliage) and Balsamita faemina (Balsamita meaning ‘aromatic’ and faemina Latin for ‘female’).
In some countries Achillea ageratum 'Moonwalker' is also marketed as Achillea ageratum 'Moonshine'.
- Additional Information
Packet Size 25mg Average Seed Count 275 seeds Seed Form Natural Seeds per gram 11,000 seeds / gram Family Asteraceae Genus Achillea Species ageratum Cultivar Moonwalker Synonym Also marketed as 'Moonshine' Common Name Sweet Yarrow, Sweet Nancy, Sweet Maudlin Other Common Names Thousand-leaf or Thousand-seal. Other Language Names Achillee Hardiness Hardy Perennial Hardy Hardy to -30°C.(-20°F) Flowers Golden Yellow Natural Flower Time May to August Foliage Rich green foliage with a fern-like appearance Height 60cm (24in) Spread 60cm (24in) Position Full sun preferred Soil Most kinds of soil as long as it is well drained. Time to Sow February to June or September to October. Germination 5 to 10 days at 15 to 20°C (59 to 68°F).