yarrow companion planting
Organic Gardening

A Quick Guide to Yarrow Companion Planting

Yarrow, with its fern-like foliage and clusters of small, often yellow or white flowers, brings more to the garden than just aesthetic appeal. Its use in companion planting is deeply rooted in traditional gardening. Enthusiasts of permaculture and organic gardening advocate for yarrow’s inclusion alongside a variety of plants due to its reputed ability to improve soil quality, attract beneficial insects, and repel pests. When you plant yarrow in your garden, it’s not just about filling a space; it’s about facilitating a community of plants that can support and enhance each other’s growth and health.

In choosing companions for yarrow, consider not only the benefits of yarrow itself but also the needs and its compatibility with other plants. While yarrow is known to coexist well with a wide spectrum of plants, from vegetables to ornamentals, it’s important to select companions that share similar growing conditions. 

Yarrow thrives in full sun and well-drained soil and is remarkably drought-tolerant once established. Its companions should ideally share these preferences or be able to adapt to the microclimate yarrow helps to create. Planning your garden with these considerations in mind will help you create a diverse, resilient, and bountiful ecosystem.

Key Takeaways

  • Yarrow enhances garden health and biodiversity through companion planting.
  • Select companions for yarrow that share similar growing conditions.
  • Yarrow contributes to a balanced garden ecosystem, offering both aesthetic and functional benefits.

Benefits of Yarrow in Companion Planting

Yarrow is a hardy, versatile plant that offers several benefits when used in companion planting in your garden. It can soldier on through cold weather and withstand hot, dry conditions. So if you’re looking for a rugged plant to keep coming back year after year, this is the one you’ll want in your garden.

Yarrow has many benefits in the garden including: repelling certain pests, improving soil quality, and supporting a healthy ecosystem of beneficial insects.

Pest Repellent Qualities

Yarrow is known for its ability to repel various pests due to its aromatic properties. This is particularly useful for protecting neighboring plants. What’s great about yarrow is that it repels one of the most annoying (my opinion) insects out there – the mosquito. I plan on planting lots of yarrow to ward away mosquitoes this year. It also wards off other pests that might cause havoc in the garden. By planting yarrow near crops like tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants, you leverage its natural defenses to safeguard your garden.

Soil Improvement

The root system of yarrow is beneficial for the soil in your garden. By growing deep into the ground, it helps to break up dense, compact soil and improve its structure. This deep rooting also allows yarrow to retrieve nutrients and minerals from deeper in the soil, which can be beneficial for plants with shallow roots. Not only does it help with soil compaction and helping with nutrients and minerals, but yarrow also helps with soil erosion. Yarrow is able to do all of these things for soil improvement since it has not only roots that go deep in the ground, but a dense network that it creates just below the surface.

This is why yarrow makes a great cover crop.

Support for Beneficial Insects

Including yarrow in your garden attracts beneficial insects, like bees and butterflies, which are vital for pollination. Moreover, yarrow can attract predatory insects, such as ladybugs, which consume common pests like aphids. Planting yarrow in proximity to vegetables can increase pollination rates and contribute to a healthier garden environment. For example, placing yarrow near plants that rely on pollinators, such as strawberries, will encourage a thriving ecosystem.

Deer and Rabbit Resistant Flower

Unfortunately a lot of what we grow in our vegetable garden is loved by rabbits and deer. Thankfully, yarrow isn’t one of the plants that they like to munch on. However, it’s important to keep in mind that yarrow won’t deter rabbits and deer. They’ll just eat the desired plant instead of the yarrow. If you’re looking to deter rabbits, consider planting marigold.

how to grow yarrow

Best Companion Plants for Yarrow

Yarrow thrives in various garden settings, and you can significantly benefit from pairing it with certain vegetables, herbs, and flowers that synergize well with its growth habits and pest deterring properties. Let’s take a look at which veggies, fruits, herbs, and other flowers it pairs well with.

Vegetable and Fruit  Companions

It’s always super important to me to protect my vegetable garden. A lot of work goes into growing the food we eat and I don’t want to have to worry about it being decimated by pests and diseases. Plant yarrow amongst the following vegetables:

  • Arugula
  • Beans
  • Blueberries
  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Cauliflower
  • Currants
  • Eggplant
  • Garlic
  • Peppers
  • Onions
  • Raspberry
  • Shallots
  • Spinach
  • Tomatoes

Herb and Floral Companions

Yarrow pairs well with a range of herbs and flowers. Lavender is outstanding as it not only contributes to a beautiful garden aesthetic but also helps in attracting pollinators, doubling the pollinator power with yarrow. Additionally, coreopsis, often referred to as tickseed, has comparable soil and water requirements to yarrow, making them easy to grow together. Flowers like Black-eyed Susans and purple coneflowers are aesthetically pleasing and bolster yarrow’s pest control properties, leading to a more robust garden ecosystem.

Other flowers and herbs to pair it with are:

  • Basil
  • Chamomile
  • Dill
  • Echinachea
  • Lavender
  • Oregano
  • Rosemary
  • Thyme

What NOT to Plant with Yarrow

The below is a list of plants that you shouldn’t plant with yarrow. Plants that aren’t compatible with one another are usually because of reasons such as, competing for nutrients, aggressive growing, differing growing conditions (for example drought tolerant versus moisture loving plants),

  • Bee balm
  • Cucumber
  • Fennel
  • Sage

Yarrow and Plant Diversity

Yarrow contributes significantly to plant diversity in gardens. This hardy perennial not only enhances the visual appeal of your space but also plays a vital role in ecosystem health.

Biodiversity Promotion

Yarrow (Achillea millefolium) is an excellent plant for fostering biodiversity. With its ability to grow in a range of conditions, from well-drained soils to dry, rocky areas, yarrow supports various surrounding plant species. By establishing yarrow in your garden, you provide a foundation for a diverse plant community. This diversity creates a more resilient garden environment that is less susceptible to disease and pest problems.

Attracting Pollinators

As a gardener, you’re likely aware of the importance of pollinators for a thriving garden. Yarrow acts as a magnet for beneficial insects, including bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds. The plant’s numerous, small flowers offer abundant nectar, which helps to attract and sustain these pollinators. Accompanying yarrow with other pollinator-friendly plants, such as lavender, can enhance this effect, leading to improved pollination for fruit-bearing plants and overall garden health.

yarrow plant

How to Grow Yarrow

Here are some quick tips as to how to grow yarrow. I think the best way to get it in the garden is just to plant seeds. By planting seeds you can have as many plants as you’d like and it’ll be significantly cheaper than buying plants. 

Maintenance, Growing Zone, and the Best Time to Plant Yarrow

Yarrow is a very low maintenance plant so it doesn’t require a lot of attention. It can be grown very well in zones 3 to 9, but can also be successful in zones 2 and 10.

The best time of year to plant yarrow is in the spring or early summer. Wait until the threat of frost has passed before planting. When it’s initially planted, water it thoroughly and frequently until it becomes established.

Plant it in a sunny spot since it loves sun. Although it can tolerate some shade, it doesn’t like full sun. It just won’t thrive in the shade.

After the flowers are spent, be sure to deadhead your plants to keep it nice and healthy.


Is yarrow invasive?

Although it’s not tagged as an invasive plant by the USDA, it does grow vigorously and needs to be kept in check.

What is the herb yarrow good for?

Yarrow helps aid digestion by causing the body to produce more saliva and stomach acid. It can also be used to relax the muscles of the intestine and uterus, relieving stomach and period cramps.

Is yarrow toxic to animals?

Yes, it’s toxic to dogs, cats, and horses. It can cause vomiting, diarrhea, increased urine, and hypersalivation.

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