Thalictrum delavayi

A family of graceful hardy perennials with finely divided leaves and slender stems, topped by open billowing flower clusters. A soft textured plant that is much sought after by flower arrangers.

Family: Ranunculaceae
Botanical Name: Thalictrum
Common Names: Meadow rue

Foliage: Deciduous, finely divided, fern-like leaves

Flowers: Branching, open clusters, of tiny fluffy flowers.

Flowering Period: Summer.

Soil: Moist but well–drained or poorly–drained, fertile soil (chalk, clay or loam). Acid, alkaline or neutral pH.

Conditions: Sun or partial shade. Best planted in an east or west facing aspect, in a sheltered position.

Habit: Bushy, upright.

Type: Rhizomatous or tuberous perennials.

Origin: Europe, Asia, North Africa.

Hardiness: Most varieties are fully hardy in the UK.

Toxicity: foliage can irritate the skin. Wear gloves when handling.

Planting and Growing Thalictrum

Grow in a fertile, humus rich, reasonably moist soil. Shelter from strong winds.

Most species prefer full sun, apart from T. dipterocarpum, which prefers part shade.

Taking Care of Thalictrum

Water well in dry weather. Provide support for tall species. Mulch around the plants in early spring to retain moisture.

Pruning Thalictrum

Cut down stems in autumn once flowering has finished.

Pests and Diseases

Can be affected by powdery mildews in dry conditions.

Propagating Thalictrum

Sow seed of species under glass in early spring.

Divide roots of cultivars in early spring, replanting only the healthy outer sections.

Popular Varieties of Thalictrum

Garden species range from low growing alpines to very tall plants suitable for the back of the border.

Thalictrum aquilegiifolium (greater meadow rue) bushy plant with finely divided, glossy, grey-green leaves and loose fluffy heads of light mauve fluffy flowers, in May-July. Height 3ft (90cm), spread 1ft (30cm) or more. For sale at Crocus. Varieties include: 'Album' with white flowers and 'Thundercloud' with fluffy purple flowers.

Thalictrum 'Black Stockings' fluffy mauve flowers and black stems. For sale at Van Meuwen.

Thalictrum delavayi (Chinese meadow rue) a tall slender variety with wiry stems and small, round, blue-grey leaves. Delicate branching heads of dainty deep lilac-mauve flowers with a tuft of cream stamens appear in June-August. Height 4-5ft (120-150cm), spread 1.5ft (45cm). For sale at Crocus. Cultivar 'Hewitt's Double' bears mauve double flowers.

Thalictrum flavum produces fluffy heads of lemon yellow flowers in midsummer. Height 4ft (120cm).

Thalictrum kiusianum (Kyushiu meadow rue) low growing form with tufts of tiny fern like leaves and small spikes of purple flowers in April-May. Ideal for rock or alpine gardens. Height 4-6in (10-15cm), spread 3-4in (7.5-10cm).

Thalictrum Little Pinkie a medium-height form with deep pink flowers. Height up to 2ft (60cm). For sale at Suttons.

Thalictrum rochebraunianum (lavender mist meadow rue) bears a cloud of clusters of tiny pink-purple blooms on fern-like foliage. For sale at You Garden.

Thalictrum speciosissimum (glaucous-leaved yellow meadow rue) vigorous, erect form with bold, divided, blue-grey leaves. Large pyramidal heads of yellow fluffy flowers in July-August. Height 4-5ft (120-150cm), spread 2-3ft (60-90cm).

Thalictrum 'Splendide White' (PBR) Adds height with hundreds of flowers. For sale at Crocus.