Rue plant: care

A plant to which certain magical power has been attributed for many centuries is rue ( Ruta graveolens ), of which it was said that when it was dry it could absorb negative waves or bad energies from its environment. It is a very pretty and lively-looking plant, with a bluish-green or grayish branch-like stem and striking yellow flowers.

Many people choose to have it at home for its appearance and for its medicinal properties. 

How is the rue plant: characteristics

The rue ( Ruta graveolens ) is a perennial plant without specific requirements as to the culture conditions. This is a plant that renews quite quickly and stays green even during the harshest winters.

It is a shrub that has between 50 cm and 100 cm. tall, woody stem, branchy and round. Its leaves are fleshy with a bluish-green, whitish or grayish color. They are alternate, petiolate leaves and are provided with glands that give off a powerful ocher and bitter odor when rubbed. The flowers Rue grouped in bright yellow bouquets and plum – shaped fruit is a capsule with numerous seeds of a black color.

In addition, the fruits of rue carry a drug that is known as harmala in India. There are different varieties of this species, but the one commonly used in gardening is common rue ( Ruta graveolens ) and wild, which is one of the most toxic.

Rue plant: care - How is the rue plant: characteristics

Properties of rue as a medicinal plant

It is possible to distill its essence using the stems, leaves and flowers of rue, but due to its toxicity it is recommended to be careful with its handling and not to mix them with other plants. This essence is colorless or slightly yellowish. Its essential oils are rich in acids and other substances, such as rutin, coumarins, alkaloids, tannins and vitamin C, among others, that make rue a medicinal plant. Its active principles are distributed throughout the plant.

Thus, these active principles make these the main properties of tuda as a medicinal plant :

  • Analgesic: due to the anisic, caprylic or salicylic acids this plant allows pain relief.
  • Venotonic and vasoprotective: rubifacient properties that activate circulation and strengthen blood vessels).
  • Emenagogue: property that facilitates menstruation and helps reduce pain or discomfort that may be felt in this part of the cycle).
  • Antispasmodic: helps stop muscle spasms, especially in the digestive system.
  • Antiparasitic and vermifuge: so it is good for internal deworming.

These properties mean that it is used both to apply in poultices, to drink as an infusion and to add it to soaps so that the skin benefits from day to day, without the risk of poisoning. 

How to care for a rue plant: care guide

Rue is a plant commonly used in gardening, so when it comes to keeping it healthy, a series of tips should be taken into account. Some of the basic care of the rue plant are:

Location and light for rue

The plant should be placed in a place where it receives enough natural light, but without receiving the direct incidence of the sun’s rays, since the excess of these could harm it, burning its leaves and stems and being able to kill it.

Temperature

This plant is greatly affected by excessively low temperatures, so if you live in a cold climate area, you should protect it. It is much better to have warm temperatures and it can handle highs better than low ones.

Irrigation

Watering this plant should be done in moderation, which should not be more than twice a week, but taking care to water it weekly because its drought can leave it exposed to pests, such as spider mites or whiteflies.

Soil and compost

It is most recommended that this plant be grown on alkaline soil, in this way it will produce a greater number of flowers and much more beautiful and healthy. Organic soil can be added to it and used as a cover to protect the roots. It is also advisable to add a little organic or natural compost to the soil from time to time .

Pruning

It is recommended to prune the rue during winter, but not more than 10 centimeters from the ground, to stimulate its growth. In addition, it can be trimmed to give it shape and thus enhance its decorative appearance.

Diseases and pests

The main threats to rue are mites, whiteflies and fungi, especially if there is an excess of watering. 

How to plant rue and its reproduction

Rue can be reproduced at home by seeds or cuttings .

Reproduce rue with seeds

In case of reproducing them by seeds, they require sunlight and condition the soil well, keeping it moist to promote growth. No need to use soil to cover them. For its development to be successful, it must provide about 20 degrees of temperature. If these conditions are maintained, the plant can take about two or three weeks to germinate and in approximately two and a half months they can be transplanted to the place you want, leaving a minimum distance of half a meter between plants.

Reproduce rue by cuttings

If you want to reproduce it by cuttings, these should be obtained in summer or spring from woody branches of intermediate hardness. The reason is that if they are too tender they will not withstand the transplant and if they are already dry, very woody, they do not have enough strength and sap running through the stem to get ahead. These cuttings should be planted and covered with soil, leaving a small part to show on the surface.

How to dry rue for infusions and condiments

The process of drying rue to prepare infusions and condiments is not too complex, simply follow these indications:

  1. Cut fresh branches with rue flowers, but make sure they are healthy branches.
  2. Hang the branches and leaves of the rue plant in a cool, dry place for about 2 weeks .
  3. If it is to be used as an aromatic condiment in cooking, the plant has a strong aroma and flavor. It is also possible to make rue tea, which also has a strong flavor, which is why many people sweeten it to drink it from time to time.
Rue plant: care - How to dry rue for infusions and condiments

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