Fern-leaf Yarrow (Achillea Filipendulina ‘Cloth Of Gold’)

Plant: Table of Contents

Plant Profile: Fern-leaf Yarrow (Achillea filipendulina ‘Cloth of Gold’)

Plants play a significant role in our lives, providing aesthetic beauty, medical benefits, and environmental support. One such plant of interest is the fern-leaf yarrow, scientifically known as Achillea filipendulina ‘Cloth of Gold’. In this article, we will delve into the various facets of this plant, including its description, characteristics, cultural requirements, uses, propagation methods, common diseases and pests, and much more. Whether you are an avid gardener, a landscape enthusiast, or a botany aficionado, the fern-leaf yarrow holds a wealth of information to explore and appreciate.

What is Fern-leaf Yarrow (Achillea filipendulina ‘Cloth of Gold’)?

Fern-leaf yarrow, or Achillea filipendulina ‘Cloth of Gold’, is a perennial herbaceous plant known for its feathery, fern-like leaves and vibrant, flat-topped, golden-yellow flower clusters. It belongs to the Asteraceae family and is native to the Caucasus region in Europe. The plant’s striking appearance and ease of cultivation have made it a popular choice for gardens, landscaping, and even medicinal use.

Key Takeaways

Before we delve into the specifics of fern-leaf yarrow, let’s outline the key takeaways that will be covered in this comprehensive guide.

  1. Fern-leaf yarrow Description: An overview of the physical attributes and appearance of Achillea filipendulina ‘Cloth of Gold’.
  2. Characteristics of Fern-leaf Yarrow: The distinctive features and behaviors of this plant.
  3. Growing Fern-leaf Yarrow: Guidelines for cultivating and nurturing this species.
  4. Care Requirements for Achillea filipendulina ‘Cloth of Gold’: The essential needs in terms of water, sunlight, soil, and fertilizer.
  5. Uses of Fern-leaf Yarrow in Landscaping: How this plant can be utilized to enhance outdoor spaces.
  6. Propagation of Achillea filipendulina ‘Cloth of Gold’: Techniques for multiplying and growing new plants.
  7. Fern-leaf Yarrow Plant Profile: A detailed profile outlining its characteristics and attributes.
  8. Achillea filipendulina ‘Cloth of Gold’ Varieties: Different variations and cultivars of the fern-leaf yarrow.
  9. Fern-leaf Yarrow Benefits: The advantages and positive impacts of incorporating this plant in gardens and landscapes.
  10. Foliage and Flowers: A closer look at the leaves and blooms of Achillea filipendulina ‘Cloth of Gold’.
  11. Cultivation Tips: Detailed advice for successfully growing and maintaining this species.
  12. Medicinal Properties and Herbal Uses: The potential health benefits and traditional uses of fern-leaf yarrow.
  13. Sun and Soil Requirements: The specific conditions necessary for optimal growth.
  14. Drought Tolerance and Water Needs: How well this plant tolerates dry conditions and its water requirements.
  15. Pests and Diseases: Common issues and problems associated with fern-leaf yarrow.

Fern-leaf Yarrow Description

The fern-leaf yarrow, Achillea filipendulina ‘Cloth of Gold’, is a herbaceous perennial known for its delicate, fern-like foliage and stunning, flat umbels of golden-yellow flowers. Here are some detailed descriptions of its physical characteristics:

  • Leaves: The plant’s foliage is finely dissected, with fern-like, aromatic leaves that are alternate and deeply pinnatifid. The leaves are typically 8–20 cm long and give the plant a lacy, delicate appearance.
  • Flowers: Fern-leaf yarrow produces large, flattened clusters of bright yellow flowers. These blooms are highly attractive to pollinators, making it an excellent addition to wildlife gardens or pollinator-friendly landscapes.
  • Height: Typically, it grows to a height of about 60-90 cm (2-3 feet) and spreads to about 30-60 cm (1-2 feet). These dimensions make it a versatile plant suitable for a variety of garden settings and designs.
  • Growth Habit: This species has a clump-forming growth habit, and its upright and mounding nature creates a beautiful visual impact in gardens and landscapes.
  • Fragrance: Achillea filipendulina ‘Cloth of Gold’ emits a pleasant, aromatic scent, adding a sensory dimension to outdoor spaces.

Characteristics of Fern-leaf Yarrow

The fern-leaf yarrow possesses several distinct characteristics that contribute to its appeal and value as a garden and landscaping plant. These features are:

  • Perennial: As a perennial plant, fern-leaf yarrow returns year after year, making it a sustainable and long-term addition to gardens and landscapes.
  • Drought Tolerant: This species exhibits a high level of drought tolerance once established, making it a resilient choice, especially in arid or xeriscaped environments.
  • Pollinator Friendly: The abundant, nectar-rich flowers of the fern-leaf yarrow attract beneficial pollinators such as bees, butterflies, and other insects, contributing to ecosystem health and diversity.
  • Aromatic Foliage: The lacy, fern-like leaves emit a fragrant, herbal aroma when crushed, adding another sensory element to the plant’s appeal.
  • Deer Resistant: Fern-leaf yarrow is known for its ability to resist browsing by deer, making it a suitable choice for gardens located in deer-prone areas.

Growing Fern-leaf Yarrow

Cultivating fern-leaf yarrow can be a rewarding and relatively straightforward process, provided the plant’s basic needs are met. Whether you have a green thumb or are just starting as a gardener, the following guidelines will help you grow and care for Achillea filipendulina ‘Cloth of Gold’ effectively.


Hardiness Zones: Fern-leaf yarrow is typically suitable for growing in hardiness zones 3 to 8. These zones encompass a wide range of temperature and climate conditions, indicating the plant’s adaptability.

Uses: This species can be used in a variety of applications, including:

  • Gardens: Its striking appearance and low-maintenance nature make it an ideal choice for various garden settings, from formal to naturalistic designs.
  • Landscaping: Fern-leaf yarrow is often utilized in landscaping projects to add color, texture, and pollinator support to outdoor spaces, such as parks, corporate landscapes, and residential areas.
  • Medicine: Though it is primarily grown for ornamental purposes, fern-leaf yarrow has a history of traditional medicinal uses in some cultures. Its potential health benefits and applications will be discussed in detail later in this guide.


  • Landscaping: One of the primary uses of Achillea filipendulina ‘Cloth of Gold’ is its ornamental value in outdoor spaces. The bright yellow flowers and aromatic foliage make it an attractive addition to flower beds, borders, and mixed perennial plantings.
  • Cut Flowers: The long-lasting, vibrant blooms of fern-leaf yarrow make it a popular choice for cut flower arrangements and bouquets. Its ability to preserve its color and structure when dried further expands its decorative use.
  • Pollinator Plant: By attracting beneficial insects such as bees and butterflies, fern-leaf yarrow contributes to the health of local ecosystems and supports the pollination of other plants in the vicinity.
  • Ground Cover: In suitable conditions, this plant can serve as a low, spreading ground cover, filling in spaces with its lacy foliage and adding visual interest to the landscape.


It is important to provide adequate water, especially during the plant’s establishment period and during prolonged dry spells. Once established, fern-leaf yarrow exhibits good drought tolerance, reducing its reliance on supplemental watering. However, regular watering during extended periods of drought can help maintain the plant’s vigor and blooming performance.


Fern-leaf yarrow thrives in full sun, meaning it requires at least 6-8 hours of direct sunlight daily. This preference for sunlight makes it an excellent choice for sunny garden beds and borders, where it can bask in the warmth and energy of the sun to fuel its growth and flower production.


While fern-leaf yarrow is relatively low-maintenance when it comes to fertilization, an application of a balanced, all-purpose fertilizer in early spring can support healthy growth and prolific flowering. However, it’s crucial to avoid over-fertilizing, as this may lead to excessive foliage growth at the expense of flowers.


The plant is adaptable to a wide range of soil types, including sandy, loamy, and clay soils, provided they are well-draining. Soil pH is also not a major concern for fern-leaf yarrow, as it can thrive in slightly acidic to slightly alkaline conditions.


Deadheading spent flowers not only maintains the plant’s aesthetic appeal but also encourages additional blooming. Additionally, cutting back the spent flower stems and trimming back any overly vigorous growth in late spring or early summer can promote a compact, tidy appearance and stimulate a second flush of blooms. If the foliage becomes tattered or unkempt, cutting the entire plant back to about 10-15 cm above ground level after flowering can rejuvenate the plant and encourage fresh growth.


Fern-leaf yarrow can be propagated through several methods, including division, stem cuttings, and seed sowing. Here’s a brief overview of these propagation techniques:

  • Division: Divide mature clumps in early spring or early autumn by carefully separating the roots and replanting the divided segments.
  • Cuttings: Take stem cuttings from healthy, non-flowering shoots in late spring or early summer and root them in a suitable growing medium to produce new plants.
  • Seed Sowing: Sow seeds indoors in early spring or directly in the garden in late spring. While fern-leaf yarrow readily self-seeds in favorable conditions, propagating it through seed allows for the selection of specific cultivars and variations.

Container Popularity

Fern-leaf yarrow is well-suited to container cultivation, especially for gardeners with limited outdoor space or those looking to add vibrant, low-maintenance plants to patios, balconies, or rooftop gardens. The striking contrast of the plant’s yellow flowers against the backdrop of a container creates an eye-catching display, and its adaptability to a range of growing mediums and pot sizes makes it a versatile choice for container gardening.

Common Diseases

Fern-leaf yarrow is generally resistant to most diseases and pests, owing to its adaptability and resilience. However, it is essential to be vigilant for potential issues and to take appropriate measures to prevent common diseases such as powdery mildew, crown rot, and rust. Maintaining good air circulation around the plant, avoiding excessive overhead watering, and promptly removing and disposing of any diseased plant material can help prevent these problems.

Disease Diagnosis

When assessing the health of fern-leaf yarrow, it’s important to be familiar with the common diseases that may affect the plant. Consulting a local extension office or a plant health specialist can aid in the accurate diagnosis of any issues. Common symptoms of diseases, such as discolored or distorted foliage, yellowing or browning of leaves, or the presence of powdery or rusty growth, should be carefully noted and addressed according to recommended treatment strategies.

Common Pests

Though generally resistant to many pests, fern-leaf yarrow may occasionally face infestations from insects such as aphids, spider mites, and caterpillars. Regular monitoring of the plant and the use of environmentally friendly pest control methods such as insecticidal soaps can help mitigate pest populations without harming beneficial organisms.

Botanist’s Tips

To ensure the successful cultivation and care of fern-leaf yarrow, here are some insightful tips from botanists and experienced horticulturists:

  • Plant in Well-drained Soil: Ensure that the planting site offers good drainage to prevent waterlogged conditions, which can be detrimental to the plant’s health.
  • Deadhead Regularly: Remove spent flowers to prolong the overall blooming period and encourage continual flowering.
  • Trim Back Vigorous Growth: Especially in the case of spreading or invasive cultivars, pruning back overly vigorous growth can help prevent the plant from overtaking its surroundings.
  • Monitor for Pests and Diseases: Regularly inspect the plant for signs of pest infestations or disease development, taking prompt action if any issues are detected.

Fun Facts

Before we delve deeper into the plant’s uses, care, and propagation, let’s explore some fun and intriguing facts about the fern-leaf yarrow:

  1. Historical Significance: Yarrow has a rich history of use in traditional medicine and folklore. It was revered by ancient Greeks and used for various medicinal purposes.
  2. Achilles Connection: The genus name “Achillea” is derived from Achilles, the legendary Greek hero, who is said to have applied yarrow to wounds sustained by his soldiers during the Trojan War.
  3. Butterfly Magnet: Fern-leaf yarrow’s nectar-rich flowers are known to attract an array of butterflies, making it a valuable addition to butterfly gardens and nature reserves.
  4. Ornamental Traditions: Yarrow has been used ornamentally for centuries and was even planted in medieval churchyards to ward off evil spirits and protect the departed.

Links to External Resources

To expand your knowledge and delve further into the world of fern-leaf yarrow, consider exploring the following external resources:

  1. Royal Horticultural Society: The RHS provides detailed information on plant care, cultivation tips, and recommendations for various yarrow species, including Achillea filipendulina ‘Cloth of Gold’.
  2. Missouri Botanical Garden: The Missouri Botanical Garden offers comprehensive plant profiles, images, and growing guidelines, including those for different yarrow varieties.
  3. University Cooperative Extension Services: Local cooperative extension services often provide tailored advice on plant care, pest management, and disease prevention, specific to your region.
  4. Perennial Resource: This resource offers detailed articles, fact sheets, and guides dedicated to perennial plants, including yarrow and its cultivation in diverse garden settings.
  5. Botanic Gardens Conservation International: For those interested in the conservation and preservation aspects of Achillea filipendulina ‘Cloth of Gold’, BGCI offers insights into its native habitats and conservation efforts.

These resources can serve as valuable tools for expanding your understanding of fern-leaf yarrow, providing practical advice, and connecting you with a broader community of plant enthusiasts and experts.

In the subsequent sections, we will continue to explore the myriad aspects of fern-leaf yarrow, delving into its propagation methods, specific cultural requirements, medicinal properties, landscaping uses, and more. Whether you are a gardener, a landscaper, or simply a plant enthusiast, there is much to discover and appreciate about this versatile and visually appealing plant.

Picture of Peter Taylors

Peter Taylors

Expert botanist who loves plants. His expertise spans taxonomy, plant ecology, and ethnobotany. An advocate for plant conservation, he mentors and educates future botanists, leaving a lasting impact on the field.