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10 Perennials for the Northeast


8
Yarrow
White yarrow
White yarrow
©iStockphoto.com/aimintang

Yarrow (Achillea millefolium) is another beautiful plant that needs very little to thrive. Despite its delicate appearance, it can also survive in less-than-ideal conditions. It can be taller than other plants in the Northeast, useful for adding color to the back of a garden or framing a tree.

Yarrow's long, slender stems tipped with delicate flowers can be a nice change from some of the bushier, hearty flowers that inhabit gardens in harder-to-cultivate regions. Yarrow's flowers are small but densely packed in 2- to 6-inch (5.08- to 15.24-centimeter) pads, giving an almost lacelike appearance. When in bloom, yarrow's flowers can be white, yellow, gold or pink. Their aromatic scent can also attract many welcome animals and make it a perfect choice for homemade potpourri. Yarrow will certainly bring a lot of color to a garden, but it's also a commonly cut flower [source: GardenGuides.com]. If Yarrow is going to be dried, cut it at its peak, before the sun bleaches it. Then hang the flowers upside down in a dry place out of the sun. Yarrow has also been used for an array of medical applications and is an ingredient in many herbal cosmetics.

Yarrow doesn't need much from the soil it grows in, but ideal conditions include lighter soil and good drainage. Like many other plants, yarrow loves light, so the sunnier the position it's planted in, the better. Although it doesn't grow on quite as strong a stem as some of the other plants listed here, it shouldn't need staking unless it grows taller than normal. Yarrow can take up to two years to establish itself from seed, so patience may be needed for the first season. And like phlox, sulfur spraying can help ward off mildew [source: GardenGuides.com].

Whether planted as the centerpiece of a flower garden, for its medicinal purposes, or for cutting for live or dried floral arrangements, yarrow is a perfect perennial for Northeastern gardeners.

Looking for a striking centerpiece to your garden? Read on to discover the astilbe.