Yarrow and coneflowers as underplanting plant

Does anyone here have experience with using yarrow and coneflowers as an underplanting for figs and other no-spray fruit tree? They seem like decent ground cover options. They’re a good host for predators and pollinators, tough, not too tall, unlikely to outcompete the trees, and have clumpy roots that would reduce soil erosion. If I hate them I assume I can finish them off with a few rounds of glyphosate.

Am I totally off base here? Would they get wildly invasive or hard to get rid of or out compete the trees. I’m pretty confident about managing coneflowers but not sure about yarrow, but the few plants I’ve previously had are pretty well behaved. I don’t have room to plant them in a wild flower meadow so it’s either this or the compost heap.

I pulled out all of my yarrow plants, I think I still have some out there. My reason for planting them is to attract lace wings to eat the thrips.

I plant them between fruit tree basins but not in the basins themselves. Initially I put 1" sequoia bark in the basins which has since been covered with leaf fall producing a very nice mulch. Occasionally I have to pull a volunteer from the plant basins, but these are usually milkweed from one of our butterfly beds or dandelions from a neighbors weed patch.


yarrows invasive here and spreads everywhere i wouldnt put it around my plantings, coneflower behaves well. i have many perennial herbs planted around my trees and bushes. they do well and keep me in fresh herbs. dont plant any thing in the mint family though. they will crowd everything out.


I hesitate to call plants invasive, but yarrow is quite aggressive here and spreads easily. I don’t fight the stuff for the most part, but I also don’t allow it to get started places where I don’t want it.

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Perhaps there are some yarrow species to avoid? I don’t notice volunteers here.

Good point.

This is the yarrow I have here
Achillea millefolium (Common Yarrow): Minnesota Wildflowers

I believe there are a good number of “improved” varieties as well. I have some growing that resembles this stuff Yarrow - Parker’s Variety (rareseeds.com)

The yellow stuff grows in larger clumps and will choke out other things growing nearby. The native white stuff grows more individually, but there can be a great number of plants in a small area.

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I’m growing improved common yarrow from seed. They’re members of the aster family.

Flowerburst Red Shades
Summer Berries

I already grew a few last year and they’ve been reasonably clumpy, so they seem like a good option for excluding weeds from the area. I’m thinking of them for a hilly area that’s difficult to mulch, so a groundcover bioaccumulator would be nice. Insects swarmed them and that’s a big plus. Spread by seed is not a problem since I will cut the flowerheads after bloom. The main concern is if they creep a lot after the first year and are difficult to kill or root out. That’s probably not a concern in arid climate but might be a concern in my climate (I grow roses and berries with zero irrigation).

The other option is to plant sedum into the area. But the yarrow seedlings are free and growing beautifully in trays now.

Maybe I’ll transplant these guys into a 50 cell deepcell trays for now and see how the in ground yarrows behave. If they’re too thuggish, I will try to convince a friend to plant a wild flower garden. If not, I will use them myself.

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