Grow And Care For Rue Plants: A Versatile Herb With Many Uses!

Rue plants have been a popular herb garden staple for centuries. Known for their broad range of applications, rue plants have been used for culinary and medicinal purposes, as well as in witchcraft and religious ceremonies. With its versatility and usefulness, rue plants have become an essential addition to any garden.

In this article, we will discuss the basics of growing and caring for rue plants, including tips on germination, watering, fertilizing, and harvesting. We will also explore the various uses of rue plants in medicinal and culinary applications.

With its rich history and numerous benefits, growing and caring for rue plants is a fascinating and rewarding endeavor for both novice and experienced gardeners.

Overview and Varieties

The rue plant is an old-fashioned herb garden plant with broad uses and different applications, and there are two varieties: ‘Jackman’s Blue’ Rue and Fringed Rue.

‘Jackman’s Blue’ Rue, famous for its aromatic green-blue foliage and small yellow flowers, is commonly used in culinary applications as a condiment for sausages and fish.

On the other hand, Fringed Rue is mainly found in the Mediterranean region and has four or five yellow petals with a scoop-like shape that blooms from April to June.

Along with its culinary uses, the rue plant has historical significance as it was used as a witchcraft ingredient, additive for holy water, and flea repellent.

The rue plant has been used as a flavor component in a wide variety of processed foods and beverages since the middle ages.

Its leaves were also used to dispel insects, scorpions, and serpents. The plant has been used to treat poor eyesight, warts, cancer, worms, and nervousness.

In many cultures, it was used as a delay in menstrual periods and abortions. Some ingredients of the plant have been shown to have abortion properties.

The rue plant’s flavonoids, such as rutin, are useful in strengthening blood vessels and reducing blood pressure.

Its fresh leaves are useful in extracting oil that possesses a strong, distinct odor and is used in the production of a wide range of soaps, fragrances, and beauty products.

Growing and Maintenance

Regular watering and the application of complete fertilizer with equal proportions of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium in the early spring at the start of new growth are essential for healthy rue plant growth and maintenance.

Rue plants thrive in well-draining soil with a pH level between 6.0 to 7.5. Plant rue in a location with full sun exposure or partial shade. While rue plants can tolerate some shade, they require at least six hours of direct sunlight each day to grow and thrive.

Pruning techniques are also important for maintaining healthy rue plants. To encourage dense and well-grown foliage, cut back the branches in early spring before the new growth begins. This will stimulate new growth and encourage the plant to grow fuller. Additionally, remove any leaves that appear yellow, wilted, or diseased to prevent the spread of disease and to promote healthy plant growth.

Overall, rue plants are relatively low maintenance but require consistent care to thrive.

Uses and Benefits

One of the primary applications of Rue plant is its medicinal properties, which have been used to treat a wide range of ailments since the Middle Ages. The oil and fresh/dried leaves of the plant have been widely used in perfumes and foods. They have also been used as a ‘flavor component’ in a wide variety of processed foods and beverages.

Here are some of the medicinal properties and benefits of Rue plant:

1. Rue plant is useful in treating poor eyesight, warts, cancer, worms, and nervousness.

2. It has been used as a delay in menstrual periods and abortions in many cultures, and some ingredients have been shown to have abortion properties.

3. Rue plant contains flavonoids such as rutin, which strengthen blood vessels and reduce blood pressure.

The fresh leaves can also be used to extract oil that possesses a strong, distinct odor, making it useful in the production of a wide range of soaps, fragrances, and beauty products.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can rue plants be grown indoors?

Indoor cultivation of Rue plants is possible through container gardening. Rue plants can adapt to indoor environments, but require sufficient sunlight, well-draining soil, and regular watering. Care must be taken to avoid overwatering and provide adequate space for growth.

Are there any pests or diseases that commonly affect rue plants?

Preventing Rue Pests and Diseases to Watch For include aphids, spider mites, and whiteflies. Rue can also be susceptible to fungal diseases such as powdery mildew and leaf spots. Proper sanitation and regular checkups can help prevent these issues.

How long does it take for rue plants to flower?

Rue plants typically take 2-3 years to flower, but growing challenges such as root rot and pruning techniques can affect flowering. Regular pruning in early spring can stimulate dense growth and healthy flowering.

Can rue plants be propagated by division?

Propagation methods for rue plants include taking cuttings in late summer and growing from seeds. Optimal planting conditions include well-draining soil in full sun or partial shade. Rue plants can be propagated by division, but it is not recommended due to their sensitivity to root disturbance.

Is rue safe for consumption and are there any potential side effects?

Rue plant toxicity is a concern as it may cause skin irritation and gastrointestinal distress. However, the plant has medicinal properties and has been used for centuries in different cultures to treat various ailments. Rue has cultural significance in many countries, where it is used in traditional medicine and as a culinary ingredient.


In conclusion, rue plants have been used for centuries for their diverse medicinal and culinary benefits. Growing and caring for rue plants is relatively easy, and they can thrive in both indoor and outdoor environments. Proper watering, fertilization, and harvesting techniques can help ensure the plant’s longevity and productivity.

Whether you are using rue plants for flea repellent, as a condiment for your favorite dishes, or for its many medicinal properties, it is a versatile herb that can provide a range of benefits. From easing digestive issues to improving respiratory health, rue plants offer a natural and effective alternative to traditional medicine.

As such, rue plants are a valuable addition to any garden or home, providing a wealth of practical and health-related benefits.