Summer Meadow Rues

As the 4th of July rolls around, the early June show of Baptisia, Peonies, Iris and Cranesbill is fading, and its time to focus on high summer performers. I could not be without the dreamy clouds of  the summer blooming Meadow Rues, or botanically speaking Thalictrum, with their sprays of dainty small blossoms on tall stems, creating a seductive haze above the knee high plants in the garden.

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Thalictrum ‘Splendide’

First there is ‘Splendide’, the first of the French breeder Thierry Delabroye’s introductions with its slightly larger soft lavender flowers. ‘Splendide’ is statuesque…it can reach 7′ in a rich soil, and may need staking when the branched stems are heavy with buds.


Thalictrum ‘Splendide ‘White’

Thalictrum ‘Splendide Whiteis perhaps my favorite. Another selection from Thierry Delabroye, this white selection takes the place of Baby’s Breath in the border with its 3′ to 4 .5′ stems above delicate Columbine like foliage. Sprays of pearly buds  burst into 1/2″ 5 petaled blossoms with greenish white stamens. Blossoms continue for weeks, and make exquisite cut flowers.

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Thalcitrum delavayi ”Hewitt’s Double’

And then there is this older form of the species, T. delavayi,  ‘Hewitt’s Double’, which bears its inflorescence on 3-4′ stems above dainty Maidenhair fern like foliage. It has shown a preference for excellent soil drainage in winter, but enjoys an evenly moist soil during the summer months.


Thalictrum rochebrunanium

Last but not least, is the most familiar form Thalictrum rochebrunanum ‘Lavender Mist’ which can easily grow 4-6′ tall in a rich somewhat moist soil.  Sprays of lavender buds open to show 4-5 petaled blossoms with prominent yellow stamens in July and August.  T. rochebrunianum can self sow where it is content.

Thalictrum are members of the Ranunculus family which includes, Anemones and Buttercups. They enjoy average to rich soil with ample moisture during the growing season and full or half day sun. T. delavayi is hardy in zones 5-8, and the rest are more cold tolerant and are hardy in zones 4-8.  And oh, yes, they are not favored by deer or bunnies.

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6 thoughts on “Summer Meadow Rues”

  1. My original 3 rochbrunanum that I planted about a dozen years ago has grown to over 30. Each year I have to remove many seedlings – I have no room for more. Most of my plants approach 6 ft. I love this plant. Bees love this plant. I really enjoy seeing the bees attack the flowers for its nectar – downward pointing flowers force the bees to go upside down to get at it.

  2. William, thanks for sharing your experience….Isn’t it fascinating to watch the interaction of bees and plants? We just started keeping honeybees, and I love seeing them at work in the nursery and gardens.

  3. My T. rochebrunianum – the species I believe – easily reach 8′. And yes, there are many many seedlings all over the garden, but I find they are easy to pot up and pass along

  4. Yes, you are right, where there is readily available moisture and rich clay soil, T. rochebrunianum can get quite tall. Alas, our fast draining soil and often dry summers keeps ours more in the 5-6′ range.

  5. Katherine, I am glad to see your thread re “thalictrums”. We love splendide. We have two (one in part shade and one in full sun). Each grow easily 7 feet. And if there is enough moisture the FS one has a spectacular cloud of blooms. I am having great difficulty tracking down “Splendide WHITE” (in Canada). I assumed it was identical to ‘regular’ splendide but of course the white flowers. But from your description it is lots shorter?

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