Soft primrose-yellow clusters maturing cream, above silver-grey foliage, make Achillea ‘Anthea a garden aristocrat.
Tidy silver feathers & elegant cream
However feathery silver-grey foliage, which grows as a tidy clump, makes striking contrast in the garden all year round.
(Please see ‘Growing’ section below for details and how, where to grow)
Excellent cut flowers
‘Anthea’ provides excellent cut flowers of commercial quality, with strong, easily cleaned stems.
Plus those creamy flower heads last for ages in a vase, displaying gently elegant colour for weeks.
Aromatic, insect repelling foliage
Achillea foliage has a pleasant, spicy aroma to us, though insects dislike the scent.
Fortunately the aromatic oils persist strongly when the leaves are dried.
So fragrant potpourri and insect repellent sachets have traditionally been made with dried Achillea leaves.
Colour for months
‘Anthea’ is a continuous bloomer for much of year, except in winter.
So there are always lovely flowers for both garden display and vases.
Compact, neat & non invasive
Achillea ‘Anthea’ does not have any invasive runners and makes a particularly neat, compact clump.
Tough as tough can be & water-wise
Achillea ‘Anthea’ tolerates hot and dry conditions well; copes with summer humidity; smiles at hard frosts; and shrugs off periods of dry. It is a very water-wise plant, requiring little if any extra water.
It even thrives in poor soils.
Growing: Achillea ‘Anthea’
– Height with flowers: 70cm. approx.
– Width: Clump to a diameter of 40cm. approx. with no spreading runners.
– Position: Full Sun. Tolerates summer heat and humidity well, as well as periods of dry.
– Water-wise: A water wise plant.
– Soil: Achillea is very un-fussy about soil type, though good drainage is essential.
It will tolerate poor soil conditions well.
In fact Achillea flower production is best if it is grown lean and mean. Because overfeeding produces leaf growth at the expense of strong flower stems.
It is excellent in sandy, or rocky soils and a good choice for coastal gardens.
– Frost: Hardy, even in hard frosts to well below -10C.
– Growth: Evergreen perennial clump with pretty ferny silver foliage all year round. Makes a neat clump with no runners.
– Beneficial to wildlife: Bees and Butterflies delight in visiting the flowers for both pollen and nectar.
Achillea also attracts beneficial ladybirds.
Birds seem to favour Achillea leaves for nest lining, as it is thought the essential oils in the foliage inhibits parasites in the nest.
An extract from the essential oils is a traditional control for mosquito larvae.
– Easy Care: Easy care and low maintenance. The clump is quickly tidied by shearing spent flower stems.
You can increase flower production further by dividing and sharing your clump every few years.
No other work is required.
– Deer & Rabbit resistant: Rabbits and deer find Achillea distasteful because the essential oils create a bitter taste in the foliage.
Achillea is native to many different areas in Europe and Asia, from the heat of Turkey to the cold of Siberia; from the humidity of India to the extremes of climate in North America.
Hence the exceptional hardiness and ability to adapt to a wide range of difficult conditions, that Achilleas have.
So it is often found thriving on poor and neglected land.
Achillea ‘Anthea’ is a non-invasive modern cultivar, but equally as hardy as it’s wild (and invasive) cousins.
Traditional healing herb
Achillea has gathered a battalion of common names over the centuries.
Unsurprisingly, many names relate to its use as an antiseptic for treating wounds and staunching blood flow.
Thus common names include Soldier’s woundwort, nosebleed plant, bloodwort, carpenter’s weed, knight’s milefoil, sanguinary, stanchweed, thousand seal, and scarily, death flower.
While other common names relate to its attractive foliage, scent, essential oils, and fern-like texture.
Old man’s pepper, bad man’s plaything, old man’s mustard, devil’s nettle, little feather, thousand-leaf, seven-year’s love, and yarrow, to mention just a few common names.
The genus name Achillea celebrates an ancient Greek warrior, Achilles.
He also used this plant to heal war wounds.
Important for beer
In medieval times Achillea was used as a flavouring in beer brewing, and as a preservative for beer.
Both very important roles considering water was a health hazard then.
Given their daily beer intake as a replacement for water, medieval man, and woman, must have spent a lot of time pickled.
A happy accident made a brilliant new cultivar
Gifted gardener British gardener Alan Bloom, spotted a chance seedling popping up amongst his bed of Achillea clypeolata.
And it proved to be such an aristocrat, that he named it after his daughter Anthea.
So in 1993, he released Achillea ‘Anthea’ to great acclaim.
The late Alan Bloom introduced many excellent new plants over a long career, but none better than his happy accident ‘Anthea’.
And a pioneer plant in Australia
Early sailing ships brought the original Achillea to Australia, with the European settlers. Pioneering farmers considered it an important ingredient in their family medicine chest, as well as fodder and tonic for their sheep.