A lot of species in the Thalictrum genus of plants are actually known by the common name meadow rue. The sizes vary completely from species to species, ranging from six inches to eight feet in height, but all these members of the Ranunculaceae (buttercup) family are clump-forming perennials that actually grow from rhizomatous roots, all with lacy, fine-textured foliage. The foliage is usually light green in color, although there are some species with more chartreuse leaves. The meadow rue plant is often mistaken for columbine, as the leaves and drooping flowers bear a resemblance to that plant. The flowers are small and can be white, yellow, lilac, or lavender, depending on the type of species.


Meadow Rue Plant Information

The common name: The common name is Meadow rue.

The botanical name: The botanical name is   Thalictrum spp.

Family: Ranunculaceae family

The plant type:   The plant is herbaceous perennial.

The mature size: The mature size is about 1 to 8 feet tall, 1 to 5 feet wide (although varies by species).

The sun exposure: Full, partial.

The soil type: The plant prefers well-drained, rich, humusy soil.

The Soil pH: Acidic to alkaline (5.0-8.0), although varies by species.

The blooming time: The blooming time is spring, summer (although varies by species).

The flower color: The flower colors are light purple or pink, white, yellow (although varies by species).

Plant Hardiness Zones: USDA 3–7 (although varies by species).

The native area: North Hemisphere

Plant toxicity: The plant may cause skin irritation.


Meadow Rue Care

The care for meadow rue plant can vary considerably depending on the species that is being grown, but most of the species are relatively large, bushy plants that will do well in almost all types of soil, although with a preference for rich, moist soil.

Light requirement: Sunlight needs by meadow rue plant vary by species, but most types of the plants prefer part shade or dappled light conditions, nevertheless they will tolerate full sun. The need for shade is more pronounced near the southern end of the hardiness range. Some of the plant species will do well in nearly full shade.

Soil requirement: Many species of the meadow rue plants are actually native to moist woodlands and seasonal marshy areas, and when they are cultivated for garden use they will grow best in rich, moisture-retentive soil. An average, medium-moisture, well-drained soil will do just fine, too, provided the meadow rue plants are offered regular irrigation.

Water requirement: To get the best result you need to keep the meadow rue plants moist but not soggy. The meadow rue plant is not prone to insect infestation or diseases, although it can develop fungal problems if the plant sits in standing water. If they are planted in a typical well-draining garden soil, about one inch of water per week can keep the plant happy. If they are grown in full sun, they will require more water.

Temperature and humidity requirement: A lot of the species of this plant prefer the moderate climate of zones four to seven, although some of the species do well as far north as zone three or as far south as zone nine. Generally meadow rue plant does not like the hot and humid summers of the Deep South. A thick mulch can help the meadow rue plant at both climate extremes, by cooling the soil in hot climates and providing winter protection in the far north.

Fertilizer requirement: No feeding is actually recommended for the meadow rue plants if the soil is suitably rich. In poor soils, a yearly application of balanced fertilizer might be really helpful for the plant.


Types of Meadow Rue To Grow

Choosing a type of meadow rue to grow in your garden is more about selecting one of the many species than choosing among named cultivars. In some cases, you have to shop at specialty native-plant nurseries or online retailers, as many of these species are not really available at standard nurseries. The following are the types of meadow rue;

1.    The low meadow rue (T. minus): The Low meadow rue (T. minus) actually has greenish-yellow flowers on green/gray-green foliage. It can grow to about twelve to twenty-four inches tall and is hardy in USDA zones three to seven.

2.    The kyoshu meadow rue (T. kiusianum): This particular type is a classic lavender variety that is native to Japan. It can reach a modest of about four to six inches in height and is hardy in zones six to eight.

3.    The columbine meadow rue (T. aquilegifolium): The columbine meadow rue has mauve blooms. It can grow to about two to three feet tall and is hardy in zones five to seven. 'Album' is actually a popular white-flowering cultivar. 'Black Stockings' is a variety that has blue-purple flowers and black flower stalks.

4.    The yellow meadow rue (T. flavum):  This particular variety is native to Europe and the eastern Mediterranean. It can grow to about three feet tall and is hardy in zones five to eight.

5.    The yunnan meadow rue (T. delavayi): The Yunnan meadow rue is native to China. It can grow up to five feet tall and is hardy in zones four to seven. 'Splendide' is actually a very popular hybrid cultivar, with also unusually profuse lavender-pink flowers on burgundy stems.

6.    The dusty meadow rue (T. speciosissimum): The dusty meadow rue can grow to about four to six feet tall with a buttery-yellow flowers that grow in dense clusters come summer. It is native to Spain and Northwest Africa. Dusty meadow rue is more heat tolerant than other varieties.

7.    The lavender mist meadow rue (T. rochebrunianum): The Lavender mist meadow rue is actually native to Japan. The plant reaches an unusual height of about six to eight feet. The plant displays lots of lavender violet flowers with yellow stamens and is hardy in zones four to seven.

8.    The early meadow rue (A. dioicum): The early meadow rue can grow to about eight to thirty inches tall and blooms with small whitish-green flowers in spring. The plant is hardy in zones three to seven.

9.    The tall meadow rue (A. pubescens): The tall meadow rue is another spring bloomer. The tall meadow rue is a tall plant that can tower as much as eight feet. The plant blooms in early summer with whitish-yellow flowers and is hardy in zones three to seven.  


Pruning: The flower stems can be cut back after the blossoms fade in other to clean up the look of the meadow rue plant and to allow the foliage to take front stage. Deadheading the plant may slightly extend the bloom period somewhat, but don't expect a months-long bloom period.

The meadow rue plant can be cut back to ground level if it begins to turn yellow due to the heat of summer. This kind of pruning doesn't harm the meadow rue plant, it will return with vigor the following year.  


Meadow Rue Propagation

Meadow rue plant can be propagated by seeds or division. Meadow rue plant is like many other shade-tolerant flowers, they do not like to be moved. If a division is deemed necessary, either to rejuvenate the clump or produce new plants, wait until the plant is established after about 5 years. Here's how:

In early spring as the new growth is just beginning, you can easily dig up the entire root clump with a shovel.

Brush or wash off loose soil, and then divide the root clump into sections, each section with a healthy clump of roots as well as a section of crown.

Without delay replant the pieces in the desired location. If planting in groups, space the pieces well apart, as they will become large plants.

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