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Beloved for its foliage just as much as its delicate, airy flower clusters, meadow rue is a wonderful plant for adding eye-catching texture to the garden from spring through fall. This easy-to-grow perennial has petite leaves that are similar to columbine foliage. The foliage color varies from chartreuse to grass-green to striking shades of blue-green. There are many different varieties of meadow rue. Some species stand a lofty 5 feet or more tall while others hug the ground and are at home in alpine gardens and near the front of a garden bed.
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Part Sun, Sun
Under 6 inches to 8 feet
1 to 3 feet
Plant tall varieties of meadow rue along the back of a flower border, creating an airy backdrop for other perennials. True to its common name, meadow rue is at home in meadow and woodland settings where its loose, open structure will be enjoyed. Its foliage is compact and tidy while its flower stems tend to be pleasingly wayward and frothy. The cotton-candy-like flower clusters begin blooming in midsummer and continue their bloom show for 4 weeks or more. The flowers attract a wide variety of bees, butterflies, and insects.
Low-growing varieties of meadow rue are especially striking when paired with heaths, heathers, Scotch moss, armeria, and petite hosta cultivars. Add low-growing meadow rue to alpine and rock gardens, provided they have moist, rich soil. Meadow rue languishes in dry, sandy locations, often not returning the following spring.
Meadow Rue Care Must-Knows
Meadow rue grows best in part shade. It will tolerate full sun if it is planted in moist soil that is rich in organic matter. A great plant for woodland and meadow gardens, as well as rain gardens and pollinator patches, meadow rue is an easy-to-grow plant provided that its soil and moisture requirements are met.
Sometimes tough to find in the garden center, meadow rue is often grouped with shade plants and woodland perennials. Ask your local garden center to carry the plant for you or check online sources. Meadow rue is slow to emerge from the soil in spring; some years its foliage will not emerge until late spring. Stake tall varieties of meadow run in midsummer to prevent the heavy bloom stalks from toppling over, or plant 3 meadow rue plants together and allow the stems to support each other.