RUE (Ruta graveolens)

By The Old House Web

RUE (Ruta graveolens)

Rue is the traditional herb of brides in Lithuania; historically, it has been used as an antiseptic and disinfectant. Although it can be be used sparingly in sandwiches, salads, and stews, it is maily grown for its ornamental value. Its upright habit and 2- to 3-feet height make it an excellent low hedge for the herb garden or flower bed. The seed heads can be dried for use in flower arrangements.

The plants are shrubby, semi-evergreen, and grow to 3 feet tall. The most striking features are the blue green foliage and the yellow flowers that appear in cluster from summer through fall.

This perennial can be started from seed, or you may prefer to buy plants at a garden center. Rue prefers a well- drained, loamy soil in full sun, although it will tolerate poor soil in light shade. Pick branches for flower arrangements during the summer and hang them upside down to dry. Allow seed pods to dry on the plant, but harvest before they open. Your rue plants may need pruning in late spring; cut them back to the new growth.

SOURCE: James C. Schmidt Department of Horticulture Michigan State University

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