Thalictrum Meadow Rue Growing: Learn About The Care Of Meadow Rue Plants

meadow rue
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By Amy Grant

Thalictrum meadow rue (not to be confused with rue herb) is an herbaceous perennial found either in shaded woodland areas or partially shaded wetlands or swamp-like areas. Its genus name is derived from the Greek ‘thaliktron,’ so named by Dioscorides in reference to the plants compound leaves.

Meadow rue growing in the wild has compound foliage with lobed leaflets, which look somewhat akin to columbine leaves, upon which clusters of white, light pink or purple flowers are borne during May through July. Thalictrum meadow rue is dioecious, that is it bears male and female flowers on separate plants, with the male flowers tending to be a bit more spectacular in appearance.

A member of the Ranunculaceae family (Buttercup), meadow rue growing in the wild or home garden also has wing-like seeds, giving it a year-round ornamental look.

How to Grow Meadow Rue


Meadow rue plant care information not only stresses the plants soil preference for moist, well-drained medium but also that the plant will attain a height of between 2-6 feet depending upon the cultivar planted, of which there are quite a few.

Additionally, meadow rue plant care advises the planting of this specimen in USDA hardiness zones 3-8 and in part shade for optimal growth; however, Thalictrum meadow rue will tolerate sun exposure if kept sufficiently moist.

Care of meadow rue may also require staking or you may want to plant it among other plants that can be used as supports. Propagation of meadow rue is via spring division of plants or through seed dispersal.

Finally, in the care of meadow rue, make sure to keep the plant moist but not too wet. While meadow rue has no significant insect or disease problems, it is prone to powdery mildew and rust.

Types of Meadow Rue

There are quite a number of meadow rue varieties. Some of the most common are as follows:

  • Columbine meadow rue (T. aquilegifolium) is a 2 to 3 foot tall specimen found in zones 5-7 with showy mauve blooms.
  • Yunnan meadow rue (T. delavayi) is 5 feet tall and flourishes in zones 4-7. As its name implies, it is native to China.
  • Yellow meadow rue (T. flavum) reaches 3 feet tall in zones 5-8 with yellow multiple blooms in summer and is native to Europe and eastern Mediterranean.
  • Dusty meadow rue (T. flavum) grows 4 to 6 feet tall with creamy yellow flowers in dense clusters in summer, blue green leaves, tolerates heat, native to Spain and Northwest Africa.
  • Kyoshu meadow rue (T. kiusianum) is 4 to 6 inches tall and is found in zones 6-8 (native to Japan) with lavender flowers in summer on green mats of foliage with bronze tinge; good in rock gardens and walls.
  • Low meadow rue (T. minus) is between 12 and 24 inches tall, forming a dense clump which thrives in zones 3-7; branched panicle above leaves with greenish yellow flowers not particularly showy; green or gray green foliage resembling that of maidenhair fern and native to Europe.
  • Lavender Mist meadow rue (T. rochebrunianum) at a whopping 6 to 8 feet tall is suitable for zones 4-7 with lavender violet flowers (no true petals, only petal-like sepals) with many primrose yellow stamens, leaves similar to maidenhair fern and native to Japan.

Whichever varietal works for your climate, meadow rue makes a lovely addition to a wildflower garden, as a border accent or along woodland landscapes or other natural areas.

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