Plant of the Month for October, 2013

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Filipendula ulmaria

 (fil-ih-PEN-dyoo-luh ul-MAR-ee-uh)

General Information:

Filipendula ulmaria, also known as meadowsweet and queen-of-the-meadow, is native to parts of Europe and Asia and has naturalized in eastern North America. It spreads readily by seed in moist areas.

The variety ‘Flore Pleno’ has larger flowers and is sterile (ie does not make seeds), making it a better selection for your garden than the species.

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Filipendula ulmaria ‘Flore Pleno’; photo by Robert Pavlis

This is an attractive tall perennial with stiff stems that hold the flowers well. It’s unusual dark green, compound, pinnate foliage contrasts well with other more common foliage types in the garden. Flowers are a clear white and become a show stopper for several weeks in mid-summer.

Filipendula ulmaria ‘Flore Pleno’ prefers a moist to wet area, but grows well even dry. Mine grow under sugar maples at the edge of the drip line and are rarely watered. A wetter location will add some height to the plant and encourage it to spread faster.

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Filipendula ulmaria ‘Flore Pleno’; photo by Robert Pavlis

Life Cycle: perennial

Height: 1.3M (4ft)

Bloom Time: mid to late summer

Natural Range: Europe and Asia

Habitat: moist, boggy areas in both sun and part shade

Synonyms:  none


Light: full sun to part shade

Soil: neutral to alkaline

Water: average moisture to dry

USDA Hardiness Zone: 3– 7(9?)

Propagation: seed (only for species), division in spring

Seedex availability (ORG&HPS annual Seed Exchange): frequently for species, never for variety ‘Flore Pleno’

Sow @ 20°C. Seed germinates within 3 months.
Requires light or the small seeds should be surface sown. See
Robert Pavlis