How to Grow Rue


Rue is a hardy evergreen herb that can grow to the size of a small shrub. It is not widely grown because the leaves and sap can irritate the skin and cause a rash. It is primarily used as a deterrent to keep dogs and cats out of the garden; they hate the smell. It is edible and often used in rustic Mediterranean salads. However, it is toxic in large amounts.

Step 1

Choose the area of your yard that has poor, barren soil where nothing else grows. The area should be in full sun and the soil should drain well after a rainstorm.

Step 2

Turn over the soil with a shovel, and rake it smooth. It is not necessary to improve it by adding soil amendments.

Step 3

Scatter seeds of rue on the surface of the soil when soil temperatures are 68 degrees Fahrenheit or above. Lightly press the seeds into the soil with your hands. Germination is erratic and takes from 7 to 28 days.

Step 4

Mist the soil with a hose end sprayer set at a fine spray. Check the soil and mist as needed to keep it relatively moist until the seeds germinate.

Step 5

When the seedlings are 3- to 4-inches high, thin them so they stand 18- to 24-inches apart.

Step 6

Mulch the soil to control weeds with hay or shredded leaves.

Step 7

Cover the plants in late fall with a 12- to 24-inch layer of protective mulch, such as fallen autumn leaves. Rue is very hardy but needs winter protection.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
  • Rake
  • Hose end sprayer
  • Mulch


  • How to Grow Rue
  • Growing rue
Keywords: how to grow rue, grow rue, rue

About this Author

Sharon Sweeny has a college degree in general studies and worked as an administrative and legal assistant for 20 years before becoming a professional writer in 2008. She specializes in writing about home improvement, self-sufficient lifestyles and gardening.