Sneezewort and Yarrow

Isn’t that a great name for a plant?…


For me it conjures up images of people in times past sniffing this plant and promptly sneezing, hence giving it its name. Perhaps the wild one does cause sneezing. I am, however, pleased to report that this one does not!

Achillea ptarmica ‘Schneeball’, also known as ‘The Pearl’ or ‘Boule de Neige’.

I only discovered Achillea ptarmica last year, and am very very happy with it. I planted three small plants (9 cm pots) in the Moon Bed in the autumn and they have all produced masses of flowers since mid-June. They should continue to flower all summer.

I am wary about white flowers as I know some can look past their best rather quickly. These seem to look good non-stop. The German and French names perfectly describe the little puffy balls of petals, like snowballs. There is a slight hint of yellow at the centre.

They are about 50 cm tall, not flopping at all despite all our rain and thunderstorms and look as fresh as a proverbial daisy, to which family they actually belong.

The leaves of Achillea ptarmica are not feathery like those of the wild Achillea millefolium (which is profuse in our meadow and runs riot in my beds if permitted!).

According to the nursery where I buy my plants from, it likes a sunny position on damp ground. Well, I was gambling a bit as my garden is usually very dry, but I had hoped with mulch and an occasional extra drink it would be okay. Well, this year has been damp enough for it to thrive and get established without any additional help, so I hope it will stick around.

It is a very bright white that stands out especially well on cloudy days.

The other Achillea I want to share is the one I used in my vase this past Monday. (See here)

Achillea millefolium ‘Pomegranate’

Achillea millefolium ‘Pomegranate’ resembles its wild friend -that most people know as yarrow – in all but its colour… and its choosiness. It took a few attempts to find the right spot for this plant. It loves heat and sun and doesn’t like to be crowded.

The shade of pinky red is gorgeous and is a great splash of colour on the back of my Butterfly Bed.

In the autumn I shall try putting some in other spots in the garden to see how it fares. Its growth is also a little unruly, but considering the rain and wind we have had I would say that is forgivable. It is a little taller than the A. ptarmica at about 60 or 70 cm.

The flowers opened about mid-June and have lasted well, although they can get a bit singed on an extremely hot day. Unlike A. ptarmica, it definitely does lean, as you can see above.

Do you grow any kind of Achillea? And have you had success with it? Do you see them growing wild?

Thanks for stopping by. Have a great day!

37 thoughts on “Sneezewort and Yarrow

  1. I love the vibrancy of your Achillea pomegranate. I have the plain white wild one which has flopped about but at least the slugs leave it alone, a major consideration in this weather! I haven’t seen your other snowball Achillea but it sounds like a good plant, reminds me a bit of candytuft (Iberis). We are expecting the sun tomorrow at last! 😎

    • The slugs don’t touch these Achilleas either, but I hear the snowball one can be a thug in the right conditions. I hope your region hasn’t been too badly affected by all the rain. We have been lucky here in the south. Also looking forward to some drier weather next week though! ☀️🌤

  2. I have the white sneezewort in my garden too. I do like the flowers but it’s perhaps too vigorous where I’ve got it planted Cathy so it might as the gardening books say need ‘editing’. I’ve also got a lovely soft coloured achillea ‘Lachsschönheit’ too, which despite it’s floppy habit I really love. I grew some achillea ‘Summer Berries’ from seed last September but no flowers as yet. It’s been most sad today hearing and seeing news coverage about the dreadful flooding in Germany and Belgium 😢

    • A German achillea then… I have also tried growing one called Terracotta, but something (mice?) ate it. We have been so lucky here in the south of Germany and despite the forecasts the worst of the rain didn’t reach us. Feel for those poor families who have lost their homes or even loved ones. 🙁

  3. ‘Pomegranate’ is a terrific cultivar and has me wondering where I have a spot for it! I’ve grown A. ‘The Pearl’ for years, but soon learned it is best contained as its stolons spread everywhere. I sink big pots in the ground to plant them in and divide them every year or so. It is a steady performer and earns its spot in the bed.
    Your beds are filling out beautifully – I love your combinations of colors and textures.

    • Thank you Eliza. 😃 Good to be warned about the sneezewort spreading, although in a normal year the drier ground may stunt it. Pomegranate has proved to be a winner now I have found the perfect spot. It has quickly grown into quite a large plant too. 😃

  4. Oh, that really is white! It is certainly whiter than more popular yarrows, which are pale white, or sort of beige. Of course, I dig the name also. Although different cultural requirements, the name is compatible with pig squeak.

  5. Catching up on your blog glad to see you are well. Did you get any beneficial rains feel like we got 12″ in the last month after being dry. I will try to do a blog post or two or email you.

    • Eunice, lovely to hear from you. Did you have that surgery on your wrist/hand? Hope all is well. We certainly did get rain – a lot! But thankfully we are miles away from the terrible floods in northern Germany. Our rivers are swollen though. And the garden has exploded. Our trees needed it. Take care!

      • I had my hand surgery while wide awake no issues but am still sick with awful cough so I have been busy with tests and the garden. I was flooded and glad you have not lost any of your beautiful land sorry for your country one half of the USA is burning up the other washing away 😦

        • Hey, sorry you are sick Eunice. I heard there was a lot of rain as well in the north, and all that heat in the west too. Hope your garden didn’t suffer from the flooding too much. Take care and hope that cough gets cleared up soon. 🤗💕

          • Thank you gardens are pretty and food is coming we went for 90’sF for 3 to 5 days in a row to 60’sF and 10+ inches of rain it has been a wild ride but finally painted two landscapes which was nice after so long. Have a wonderful weekend Cathy.

  6. I like the Achillea ptarmica and it is on my plant wish list although my garden may be a bit dry for it. I have two yellow Yarrow (say that quickly ten times :)) and I find they add a lot of colour and brightness – no bees though. Amelia

  7. Yes, Sneezewort is a fun name. I enjoy those descriptive names, for sure. Our Yarrow has been really lovely this year, too. I love the foliage almost as much as the flowers. That view of the garden with the forest at the back and the rainbow is a prize-winner! Stunning!

  8. I grow achillea as well, and love it. I think your varieties are slightly different, and I think they’re grand! I have been so concerned for you, Cathy, listening today to reports of the horrific flooding in Germany. The images are unbelievable, and very sad. I hope you are not in any danger.

    • Hi Debra. We are miles away from those terrible floods and fortunately we didn’t get all the rain in one go. They had 17 inches over 3 days there!

  9. I shall be looking again at achillea after finally having one that has reached flowering stage and it’s good to see Pomegranate in situ and the impact that it makes

  10. Not familiar with this white Achillea. When I saw your title I thought of Sneezeweed which is a common name for Helenium. Your garden is looking like it is having a good summer!

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