How to Grow Thalictrum Plants

Guide to Growing Meadow Rue and Feathered Columbine

Plants of the Thalictrum genus are hardy perennials that range in height from 30 cm to 2 metres (1 to 7 feet).

They have an attractive foliage. This may be toothed or lobed. Plants bloom in the summer, carrying fluffy flowers of purple, pink, white or yellow.

Some common names for Thalictrum include Feathered Columbine, and Meadow Rue.

Thalictrum aquilegiifolium
Thalictrum aquilegiifolium by AnnaKika.

Thalictrum Growing and Care Guide

  • Common Names: Meadow rue
  • Life Cycle: Hardy perennial.
  • Height: 2 to 79 inches (5—200 cm).
  • Native: Americas, Europe, Asia, and Africa.
  • Growing Region: Zones 3 to 9.

  • Flowers: Summer to early autumn.
  • Flower Details: White, purple, yellow, pink. Fluffy. Showy. No petals. Long stamens. Raceme or panicle. Double-flowered cultivars available.
  • Foliage: Herbaceous. Blue-green. Alternate. Bi-pinnate. Lobed. Erect stalks.

  • Sowing: Autumn from fresh seed. 1/8 inch. Germination time: From two weeks to two years. Spacing 4 to 30 inches (10—75 cm). Seeds should first be sown into flats. Next, sink the flat into the ground in an area that offers shade, preferably close to a wall that faces north. Provide a glass/plastic covering. Transplant seedlings to their final location in the autumn.

  • Requirements and care: Full sunlight (cool areas) or partial shade (hot areas). Acidic soil pH 5 to 6. Average, moist soil. Provide a weak liquid spring feed. Spring mulch. Regular watering during dry periods. Provide support for tall species. Cut back to the ground in autumn. Propagate: by dividing in the spring.
  • Family: Ranunculaceae
  • Closely Related Species: Buttercups family contains plants such as Aconitum, Adonis, Clematis, Consolida, Eranthis, Helleborus, Nigella, Ranunculus, and Trollius.
  • Miscellaneous: Tolerant to deer and rabbits. Attracts moths from the Xestia genus (e.g., Setaceous Hebrew character).

How to Grow Thalictrum species such as Meadow Rue and Feathered Columbine

It is best to grow feathered Thalictrum from fresh seeds in the autumn, or from divided plants in the spring.

The seeds should be sown at a depth of 3 mm (1/8th inch) into flats, and the flat sank into a shady part of the garden. The flat should then be covered with glass and the soil kept moist.

Germination of Thalictrum species is a little hit and miss. It may take from two weeks to two years.

Once seedlings are growing strongly, transplant them in the autumn into a partially shaded location of the garden (they will grow fine in sunny areas in cool areas). Use a spacing of between 15 cm / 6 inches (small varieties) to 90 cm / 3 feet (larger plants).

Ideally the soil that they grow in should be acidic (pH 5 to 6) and moist.

Caring for Thalictrum

It is fairly easy to look after members of Thalictrum such as feathered columbine and Meadow Rue. They should be mulched and lightly fertilized in the spring. The soil should be kept moist, so water during dry periods.

Large Thalictrum plants should be staked. Cut back the plants to ground level in the autumn.

If you require more plants, then they can be propagated through division at the start of spring.

I hope that you enjoyed this guide on how to grow Thalictrum plants. You may also enjoy the following Gardener's HQ growing guides: How to grow Anemone coronaria and Pulsatilla plants.