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Early Meadow Rue

Thalictrum dioicum

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Early Meadow Rue (Thalictrum dioicum) at The Growing Place

Early Meadow Rue flowers

Early Meadow Rue flowers

(Photo courtesy of NetPS Plant Finder)

Height:  14 inches

Spacing:  14 inches

Sunlight:  partial shade  full shade 

Hardiness Zone:  2b


A pretty native woodland plant to most of North America east of the Mississippi and Red Rivers, which establishes itself in colonies as seeds drop

Ornamental Features

Early Meadow Rue features dainty panicles of purple star-shaped flowers with white overtones rising above the foliage from early spring to early summer. The flowers are excellent for cutting. Its ferny leaves emerge green in spring, turning grayish green in color. As an added bonus, the foliage turns a gorgeous olive green in the fall. The fruit is not ornamentally significant. The plum purple stems can be quite attractive.

Landscape Attributes

Early Meadow Rue is an herbaceous perennial with an upright spreading habit of growth. It brings an extremely fine and delicate texture to the garden composition and should be used to full effect.

This is a relatively low maintenance plant, and should be cut back in late fall in preparation for winter. It is a good choice for attracting bees and butterflies to your yard, but is not particularly attractive to deer who tend to leave it alone in favor of tastier treats. It has no significant negative characteristics.

Early Meadow Rue is recommended for the following landscape applications;

  • Mass Planting
  • Rock/Alpine Gardens
  • Border Edging
  • General Garden Use
  • Naturalizing And Woodland Gardens

Planting & Growing

Early Meadow Rue will grow to be about 12 inches tall at maturity, with a spread of 18 inches. When grown in masses or used as a bedding plant, individual plants should be spaced approximately 14 inches apart. Its foliage tends to remain dense right to the ground, not requiring facer plants in front. It grows at a medium rate, and under ideal conditions can be expected to live for approximately 6 years.

This plant does best in partial shade to shade. It does best in average to evenly moist conditions, but will not tolerate standing water. It is particular about its soil conditions, with a strong preference for rich, acidic soils. It is somewhat tolerant of urban pollution. This species is native to parts of North America.

Hardiness Zone Plant Height Minimum Sunlight Soil pH Preference
Massing  Rock  Edging  Garden  Naturalizing 
Flowers  Fall Color  Texture  Bark  Attracts Wildlife 
Ornamental Features