How to propagate Ruda from cuttings (stems) and its care

Rue (ruta graveolens) is a hardy perennial with attractive lobed gray-green leaves and forms bright yellow clusters of small flowers. In this article we teach you how to multiply or propagate Ruda from a cutting and its care.

propagate rue cuttings


Steps to propagate Rue

The ideal times of the year to propagate the rue are in autumn or spring, if you do it in autumn, look for a place protected from the cold and very bright. On the other hand, in the spring, you can do it in the garden without problem.

On a healthy rue plant, look for a young, well-green stem with at least 3-5 leaf nodes and about 10cm in height. Don’t choose old woody stems, look for those that are at the bottom of the plant.

propagate rue cuttings

Cut it from the plant just below a leaf node. The roots will grow from the node and the base.

Keep the cuttings cool in water while you work. This is very important, especially as the weather gets warmer.

Cut off all the bottom leaves, leaving only the top two.

propagate rue cuttings

Prepare individual pots with garden soil mixed with a little compost, make a shallow hole (2 cm maximum) with a pencil and insert a cutting there. Then, gently press down on the soil so that the cutting is well buried and supported.

Water the cuttings very generously and place them in a bright spot with indirect sunlight. Take care that the cuttings don’t dry out, as they don’t have roots, they can’t get much moisture from the soil, so they will quickly lose leaf moisture.

The cuttings should root in about 4 weeks or so. To find out if they have done so, you have to wait until new leaves start to grow, this is a sign that the cutting is rooting properly.

Wait until they have several new leaves before transplanting them to their final location. Remember that the best time to do this is in spring or summer.

Street culture and maintenance

propagate rue cuttings care


Rue likes sunny or full sun locations with mostly arid, well-drained sandy-clay soils.

The plant is a calcareous indicator and therefore also requires calcareous soil. Commercially available herb soil is not suitable. This must be mixed with at least 50% sand and agricultural lime.


Rue is suitable for arid places. In the flower bed, it is advisable to mix a little compost into the upper part of the soil in the spring.

If compost is not available, fresh cattle manure or another light organic liquid manure can also be used.

In most cases, additional nutrient supply afterwards is not necessary. In the case of container crops, a standard herbaceous fertilizer should be used in the spring and shortly before flowering.


Rue tolerates quite a few dry days, but should still receive some moisture if possible. On normal temperate days (up to 20°C / 68°F) a quick watering once a week is perfectly sufficient.

On very hot summer days, watering cycles should be shortened slightly as needed. As a general rule, always water very early in the morning or late in the afternoon, never in the hottest hours of the day.


Rue is not frost sensitive and can withstand cold temperatures as low as -20°C/-4°F without any problems.

After fruiting, the rue loses its leaves and survives in the ground. In the spring, above-ground plant elements grow back. It is not necessary to take special wintering measures.

In the case of pot crops, it is recommended to store it in a cool but not frozen place. The corridors of the most luminous and unheated apartments or houses are the most suitable.

diseases and pests

Due to the toxic ingredients, illnesses are rarely expected. Too much watering or too dense planting distances can lead to fungal diseases such as mold.

Harvest and storage

Young rue flowers, buds and leaves can be harvested during the summer. Due to the phototoxic effect, it is recommended to harvest with gloves.

Regular pruning of shoot tips during weed harvesting keeps clumps in shape and promotes new growth.


Plant parts can be air-dried, put in oil, or frozen in water as ice cubes.

It may also be interesting to read: How to propagate lavender from cuttings.

Rue oil should be filtered after a few days, so that it does not become bitter. As a seasoning, the herb can be used in cooking, but the longer it cooks, the more intense its flavor will be, so it should be used sparingly and only at the end of cooking.

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