How to plant rue

Ruta graveolens

The rue is a very branched perennial that can exceed 1 m in height. The entire plant is aromatic, and its leaves and fruits can be used as a seasoning for meat, fish, cheese, soups, salads and even to flavor wines and other alcoholic beverages, although its very bitter taste was more popular in antiquity than in modern times. Its use in food, however, should at most be limited to small amounts due to its toxicity. Pregnant women, in particular, should completely avoid their consumption. The rue is also cultivated for medicinal purposes, as an ornamental plant and to repel some insects. The rue can also repel dogs, cats and mice. However, its yellow flowers are a good source of food for bees.


The rue can grow in many types of climate. Although the best results are obtained with mild temperatures, this plant can grow well at temperatures between 4 ° C and 30 ° C.


It grows best in direct sunlight, but also tolerates partial shade.


Cultivate preferably in well-drained calcareous soil, with a pH between 7 and 7.5. However, this plant can be grown in several types of soil, including stony, poorly fertile and slightly acidic soils.


The seedlings must be well irrigated, as well-developed plants tolerate short periods of drought, so that it is possible to irrigate sparingly, allowing the soil to dry superficially between one irrigation and another. Excess water in the soil can harm this plant.


The rue can be propagated by seeds, by division of well-developed plants or by cuttings.

The seeds can be sown in the final place or in sowing, at a depth of 0.5 cm in the soil. Germination takes 1 to 3 weeks. If sown in seed, transplant the seedlings when they are about 10 cm tall.

The branches of well-developed plants can take root naturally in contact with the soil, so that older plants can be divided. Healthy branches can also be cut and partially buried to take root, forming new plants.

The rue can be grown in large pots and planters.


Remove invasive plants that are competing for resources and nutrients.

In contact with the skin, the plant can cause phytophotodermatosis, so avoid growing it in places where people can bump into it. Wear gloves to protect your hands and suitable clothing to protect the body parts that could come in contact with the plant when handling or cutting it, especially on sunny days.


Leaves or branches can be harvested when the plant is well developed. Being toxic, its use in food should not exceed a small amount. Fruits can also be used, although their use is even less common than the use of leaves. For drying or other uses, such as repelling insects indoors, the leaves or branches can be harvested within 90 to 120 days after planting. The rue is perennial, and can thus produce for a decade or more.

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