Thalictrums, or meadow rues, are prized for their airy growth habit, glaucous foliage and delicate flowers.
They range in size from small alpine species to towering border perennials over 2m tall, but in general they can be grown in sun or shade, as long as the soil is moist. This isn’t always the case, so do check the growing requirements when buying.
Given the floaty nature of the flowers, thalictrums are well-suited to growing in herbaceous borders, bringing a relaxed, informal mood to your planting scheme.
We pick some of the best thalictrums to grow, below.
Commonly known as yellow meadow rue, Thalictrum flavum is an upright perennial with fluffy yellow flowerheads. It looks fabulous planted towards the back of a herbaceous border, alongside purple-flowering plants like delphiniums and echinops. The subspecies glaucum has attractive, glaucous foliage.
Height x spread: 150cm x 50cm.
Thalictrum tuberiferum is a delicate-looking species native to Russia, Korea and Japan. It’s ideal for growing in full or partial shade, where the bright, clustered flowers will brighten things up.
H x S: 70cm x 30cm.
French meadow rue, Thalictrum aquilegiifolium, gets its botanical name from the almost scalloped foliage, which resembles that of aquilegias. This species has some of the showiest flowers compared with other thalictrums, and a number of varieties exist, including ‘Thundercloud’ (pictured) and the white-flowered Thalictrum aquilegiifolium var. album.
H x S: 140cm x 50cm.
This species of thalictrum produces fantastic clouds of flowers in the summer months, similar to those of gypsophila but on taller stems. Thalictrum delavayi is well-suited to herbaceous borders in partial shade.
H x S: 100cm x 50cm.
Known as dwarf meadow rue, Thalictrum kiusianum is a low-growing species reaching around 15cm in height. It’s a fabulous choice for ground cover in partial shade, where it will slowly spread and provide interest in the form of summer blooms and dainty, fern-like foliage.
H x S: 15cm x 30cm.
Thalictrum minus is a perennial, clump-forming species with a wide native range including Europe, West Africa and Southeast Asia. It’s well suited to being grown in a moist, well-drained soil in full sun or partial shade and looks great in the middle of a border. Best grow in a larger garden so it has room to spread.
H x S: 60cm x 50cm.
Beginning in May and ending in late summer, Thalictrum filamentosum has a generously long flowering period, producing beautiful flowers like tiny starbursts. This species is happy growing in moist, rich soil in dappled or partial shade.
H x S: 60cm x 50cm.
This small, perennial species first emerges in early spring, and from May to midsummer produces starry lilac flowers. Grow Thalictrum ichangense in a partially shaded site in moist, well-drained soil.
H x S: 30cm x 30cm.
Planting partners for thalictrums