Where to buy rue?

shannon74October 11, 2009

HI everyone

The GSTs have taken a toll on my three citrus trees this year and I thought I would get ready for next season by planting some rue - I am not sure where to get seeds or when/where to plant it. Any advice would be appreciated! I could use some now, as I have 50+ cats and they have made it almost through my trees' new growth and I am worried what I am going to do about feeding them. Thanks a bunch!


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mary_littlerockar(8a-7b mid Arkansas)

I just noticed a Rue seed at Summer Hill Seeds. It sounds like it might offer a little more interest to your garden as it has varigated foliage.


Here is a link that might be useful: Rue - Variegata

    Bookmark   October 11, 2009 at 6:24PM
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misssherry(Z8/9SE MS)

I've given you a link to several places you can order rue - not listed are Mountain Valley Growers in California and Goodwin Creek Gardens in Oregon, plus if you Google Ruta graveolens you'll probably find more mail-order nurseries that carry it.
I've never seen rue for sale at a local nursery, so I always either root my own or order it - I've heard it's easy to start from seed, also.

Here is a link that might be useful: Ruta Graveolens

    Bookmark   October 11, 2009 at 6:44PM
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I've got some seeds. Send me your snail mail. :)

    Bookmark   October 11, 2009 at 7:32PM
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newbie_in_nj(6b E/Central NJ)

I've really never thought of growing rue plants because I really don't have anyplace with enough sun or room a good stand of plants.

The one concern I have is some sites say the skin irritation from handling it is similar to poison ivy to which a couple family members are seriously allergic.

Do you wear gloves when handling it or is it not as much of skin irritant as they say on some sites? I don't get skin irritation from milkweed sap but I'm also very careful about not touching my eyes after removing leaves or seed pods.

I'm assuming the dwarf versions aren't practical size for feeding cats I want to attract them. I've got a few Bronze Fennel plants I started this year and they should get much larger by Spring...no skin irritation worries and can plant right in the garden behind other things and keep in pots to keep in sunlight.

I was looking at the plants to buy and plant this fall so they're a bit larger for "Spring swing" of BST's.

Let me know if you've experienced need to wear gloves when handling Ruta graveolens foliage or just take precautions as when handling milkweed leaves/sap.

Just seems easier to have something perennial in addition to Bronze Fennel for swallowtails instead of scrambling every spring to find organic fennel & parsley plants.

Parsley & regular fennel plants I started under lights indoors didn't get large enough by early Spring to provide much for swallowtails and only had one BST cat. Seems I have to catch their first swing through here or I don't see them anymore for the season.

I just have a concern about the skin reaction to foliage noted on some sites included in list from link.


    Bookmark   October 13, 2009 at 5:55AM
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misssherry(Z8/9SE MS)

I'm a very allergic person, who handles rue all the time, and I've never had any allergic/skin reactions to it.
It's one of my favorite butterfly plants, doubling as host for black and giant swallowtails - I'm going to plant still more of it next spring.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2009 at 9:55AM
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fighting8r(10 Fort Myers Florida)

I love rue! It is really nice-looking when they are not eating it and I've never had any problem with skin irritation, and I never use gloves. It does smell bad, but not all the time, just when you cut it.
As a plus it seems to be easier to grow than dill or parsley, and seems to withstand caterpillar feeding much longer (has more "meat" on it!).
Good luck getting some going! I had the pure luck of running across some at a farmers market last spring and now am trying some cuttings from the original. Sherry says it is easy so I'm sure it will work, and I'll be ready for the BSTs next time they come thru (or if the ones I released this week come back with eggs!).

    Bookmark   October 13, 2009 at 11:35AM
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I am sensitive to Rue. It breaks me out as do lots of other plants that have a milky sap. (Rue doesn't but same itch). OP may consider Wild Lime instead. The GSTs here do not use my Rue but love the Wild Lime. Eastern Blacks will use Rue if I run out of everything else. Now WL does have its drawback - those thorns are wicked.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2009 at 10:55PM
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fighting8r(10 Fort Myers Florida)

Hooray! My rue is in bloom! Was hoping at least one would bloom before the caterpillars come back and eat everything.
Now I want to know how to harvest the seeds, how do I tell when seeds are ready, etc. I know with some plants it is obvious (scarlet milkweed for example) but not sure with rue, as I've never even seen it bloom before. Is it in the flower, after the flower??
Thanks everyone!

    Bookmark   March 19, 2010 at 1:10PM
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I believe Cathy, whose user name is Catterwallin, can tell you how to handle the rue seeds.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2010 at 3:33PM
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Yes, I can. Thanks, Nancy. ;-)
fighting8r, After the flowers blooms, they develop seed heads, which are green with indentations and four little "knobs". I don't know offhand how long they stay green, but when they're green they're NOT ready yet. Wait until the seed heads turn tan/brown. I don't rush it when I take them off. You should be able to hear them rattle inside the seed head when they're ready to harvest. When you're shaking them, just be careful that you don't shake them out of the seed head until you have something to put them in. I guess you could take a deep bowl out with you when you do your test shaking so you don't lose any seeds (if they're at a premium). Then take hold of the stem and shake it in the bowl. You might even want to tap the seed head to see if the seeds come out. You could also try squeezing it to open the seed head up more if it's already split open but the seeds won't easily come out. Oh, another thing is that when they're ready, the seed heads will start splitting open, and if you look inside, there should be black seeds in there.
Here's a picture of a seed head with a Giant Swallowtail egg on it, and there's one on the stem. That sort of gives you an idea what they look like, although you can't see the top of it. You can kind of tell though from this angle that it has those knobs at the top.


    Bookmark   March 19, 2010 at 8:57PM
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fighting8r(10 Fort Myers Florida)

Thanks Cathy, exactly what I wanted to know. Looks like a tiny green strawberry!
Sounds a little like tropical sage, how you can shake the seeds out of those too once they open.
So that is a great help, as I certainly do not want to take them too early either. Thanks! Maybe I'll have some to share this year!

    Bookmark   March 21, 2010 at 5:10PM
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