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Ruta graveolens - Growing Guide
Growing Ruta 'Jackman's Blue'
Rue is a native of SE Europe and is best known as a garden herb with a bitter acrid taste which was previously used in medicine to cure colic and hysteria. Beware however that its sap can be a powerful skin irritant since its leaves and stems contain a powerful oil. R. graveolens “Jackman’s Blue” is a compact growing evergreen aromatic plant achieving only 2ft in height. It has vivid blue-grey foliage and this particular named variety is of garden origin in the late 1930s in the UK. It is now a common feature in any herb garden as was R. graveolens itself since about 1652.
“Jackman’s Blue” is perfectly hardy and readily propagated from semi-ripe cuttings in summer. The plant thrives in a hot dry site which is well drained and in full sun. The leaves are 3-4in long at most with numerous obovate blue-grey lobes. In June or July if produces cymes of cup shaped dullish four petalled yellow flowers. These should be pruned out after flowering along with the new growth tips to shape and improve the plant for the next season.
Do not eat any part of this plant as it is poisonous despite it being suitable for the herb garden as an aromatic plant. It will, of course, grow equally well in a mixed herbaceous border or in a rock garden.