Achillea ‘Red Velvet’

Achillea millefolium ‘Red Velvet’ has exceptional blooms of dark, wine red contrasting beautifully against greyish-green foliage.

Exceptional dark wine red blooms which do not fade

‘Red Velvet’ has won the coveted ‘Award of Garden Merit’ from the Royal Horticultural Society, because of the unfading colour of the blooms, even in heat and strong sun.
(Please see ‘Growing’ section below for plant details, how and where to grow). 

Neat clumps with no runners

Talented modern breeders have created many excellent new “clumping” varieties of Achillea. 
They have aimed for plants with commercial cut flower production combined with garden worthiness.
So their new Achilleas neatly clump, rather than make invasive runners like the old weedy varieties.

Excellent cut flowers

Achillea millefolium ‘Red velvet’ provides excellent cut flowers, with strong, easily cleaned stems.
Plus of course those exceptional dark, wine red flower heads last for ages in a vase. as well as in the garden.

Aromatic, insect repelling foliage

The leaves have a pleasant, spicy aroma which persists strongly when they are dried.
So potpourri and insect repellent sachets have traditionally been made from the dried leaves. 
And this pretty, ferny foliage remains as a neat evergreen clump year round.   

Colour for months

Achillea millefolium ‘Red velvet’ repeats with blooms for much of year, except in winter.
So there are always lovely flowers for both garden display and vases. 

Hardy, tough & water-wise

‘Red Velvet’ is certainly unflappable in tough going, and a water-wise plant. 
So it tolerates hot and dry conditions well; copes with summer humidity; smiles at hard frosts; and shrugs off periods of dry.
It even thrives in poor soils.

Growing: Achillea ‘Red Velvet’

Height with flowers: Flower heads on approx 60cm. strong stems.
Width: Neat, tight clump of foliage to a diameter of approx 40cm.
Position: Full Sun. Tolerates summer heat and humidity well, as well as hardy in periods of dry.
Water: A very water-wise plant, suitable for water conscious gardeners.
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 or windy gardens. 
Frost: Hardy, even in hard frosts to well below -10C.

Other benefits

Growth: Evergreen, neat and compact perennial clump, with ferny grey-green foliage all year round..
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.

Hardy origins

Achillea is native to many different areas in Europe and Asia, from the heat of Turkey to the cold of the northern Baltic states. Hence Achillea’s exceptional hardiness and ability to adapt to a wide range of difficult conditions.
So it is often found thriving on poor and neglected land.

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.

Ancient history

The genus name Achillea celebrates an ancient Greek warrior, Achilles.
He also used this plant to heal the war wounds of his troops.

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,  

And a pioneer plant in Australia

Early sailing ships brought Achillea to Australia, with the European settlers to Australia.
Pioneering farmers considered it an important ingredient in their family medicine chest, as well as fodder and tonic for their sheep.   


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