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Ruta graveolens
Herb of Grace

Host Plant

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Rue is an ancient herb with much medicine lore attached to it from days of old - today it's grown and enjoyed as an ornamental perennial.   Tiny yellow flowers will appear in its second season.  It will reach 2-3 ' tall, and be 1-3' wide.  Rue is the host plant for the Giant Swallowtail - the largest butterfly in North America, and sometimes the Black Swallowtail will use it too.

Many people are sensitive to the oil contained in the leaves and develop conditions ranging from small blisters to a severely painful rash if they come in contact with it.  To be on the safe side, wear gloves and long sleaves when working with this plant.


Light:  Prefers Full sun; but will tolerate partial shade

Soil/Moisture:  Low to moderately rich, well drained soil with a PH of 6.0-7.0.  Drought tolerant

Hardiness:  Zone 4

Propagation:  Seeds, Division, Stem cuttings.  Seedlings grow slowly, so you may want to buy a plant, instead of seeds.  Take cuttings or layer plants in spring and early summer.  Just barly cover seeds, sown in peaty soil.  Keep 65-75 degrees, germination occurs in 30-42 days.

Rue is said to repel several types of beetles.  It also interferes with the growth of many plants, particularly cabbage-family crops, sage, and basil.  Plant Rue at least 10 feet from these plants.  Although it is an herb, Rue is not recommended for internal use; it has a strong, bitter aroma.

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