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Meadow Rue

Thalictrum spp.

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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Light:

Part Sun, Sun

Type:

Height:

Under 6 inches to 8 feet

Width:

1 to 3 feet

Flower Color:

Foliage Color:

Seasonal Features:

Problem Solvers:

Special Features:

Zones:

3-9

Propagation

Garden Companions

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.

Bring more bees to your garden with these flowers.

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.

Create a lush woodland garden with this plan.

More Varieties of Meadow Rue

Columbine meadow rue

Thalictrum aquilegiifolium is an airy plant that can be put at the middle of the border in spite of its height. Its branched clusters of fluffy flowers are composed of showy lilac stamens atop 3-foot stems. The columbine-like leaves are bluish green. It is hardy in Zones 5-9.

'Lavender Mist' meadow rue

This selection of Thalictrum rochebruneanum has lavender flower clusters on a variety that grows 4 to 6 feet tall with blue-green foliage. Zones 4-8

Thalictrum kiusianum

Thalictrum kiusianum is a shade-loving groundcover with blue-green leaves topped by pinkish flowers in early summer. It grows 4 inches tall and 12 inches wide. Zones 5-8

'White Cloud' meadow rue

This Thalictrum aquilegifolium variety offers soft blue-green foliage and airy clusters of white blooms on 3-foot-tall stems in midsummer. Zones 4-9

Yellow meadow rue

Thalictrum flavum has soft yellow flowers and dusty blue foliage which are at their best when grown in full sun. Zones 4-8

Plant Meadow Rue With:

Peony
Perhaps the best-loved perennials, herbaceous peonies belong in almost every garden. Their sumptuous flowers -- single, semidouble, anemone centered or Japanese, and fully double -- in glorious shades of pinks and reds as well as white and yellow announce that spring has truly arrived. The handsome fingered foliage is usually dark green and remains good-looking all season long. Provide deep rich soil with plenty of humus to avoid dryness, and don't plant the crowns more than 2 inches beneath the surface. But these are hardly fussy plants. Where well suited to the climate, they can thrive on zero care.
Daylily
Daylilies are so easy to grow you'll often find them growing in ditches and fields, escapees from gardens. And yet they look so delicate, producing glorious trumpet-shape blooms in myriad colors. In fact, there are some 50,000 named hybrid cultivars in a range of flower sizes (the minis are very popular), forms, and plant heights. Some are fragrant.The flowers are borne on leafless stems. Although each bloom lasts but a single day, superior cultivars carry numerous buds on each scape so bloom time is long, especially if you deadhead daily. The strappy foliage may be evergreen or deciduous.Shown above: 'Little Grapette' daylily
Iris
Named for the Greek goddess of the rainbow, iris indeed comes in a rainbow of colors and in many heights. All have the classic, impossibly intricate flowers. The flowers are constructed with three upright "standard" petals and three drooping "fall" petals, which are often different colors. The falls may be "bearded" or not. Some cultivars bloom a second time in late summer. Some species prefer alkaline soil while others prefer acidic soil.Shown above: Immortality iris
Monkshood
How can you not fall in love with a perennial that has regal blue spires? And monkshood is that plant. Relatively unknown, it deserves a lot more attention. It produces tall spikes of hooded purple, blue, white, or bicolor blooms in late summer to fall. When not in bloom, its mounds of coarsely lobed foliage look great, too.Plants grow best in partial shade, although in cool climates they will grow well in full sun. In dense shade, plants will become floppy. All parts of monkhood are poisonous.Monkshood dislikes hot weather, so it's usually not a great choice for gardeners in hot-summer climates.
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