A lovely plant for moist to wet shaded areas. Needs to have moist soil but once established takes little or no care. The white to creamy fluffy heads are long flowering and bring brightness to semi shaded areas. A excellent border plant since the leaves are low growing and the flowers long blooming. Deer and rabbits don't eat it.
A lovely perennial plant hardy to zone 2. Meadowsweet has mounts of attractive fern like foliage. The leaves are dark green on the upper side and whitish and downy beneath. They are compound leaves from 1-3 inches long and consist of alternate pairs of leaflets that are mostly elliptic with serrated edges and deep veins making them very textured leaves. The terminal leaflets are large and usually three lobed. The flower stems arise from the leaf bunch and can be from 2-4 feet tall and often purple in color. The flowers are small, white with long stamens which give the flowers a fluffy appearance. The small flowers are clustered together in fluffy bunches or irregularly-branched cymes. The plant is in bloom for most of the summer usually June to September in zone 6. The whole plant has a pleasant aroma but interestingly the leaves have a different scent from the flowers. Deer don't eat it.
Location and care
Prefers a semi shaded location but will do well in full sun provided that the soil is rich and moist. Likes a lot of water and will do well in wet and marshy grounds. Especially likes heavy clay soils, does not do as well in well drained sandy soils, such soils will need a lot of organic material to amend them to the plants likes.
Ideal for rain gardens or marshy areas beside streams in wet areas under light shading trees. Can be grown in other locations provided it is given sufficient water. The base of downspouts is a good location but will need additional water during dry periods. Makes a nice border plant since foliage is low growing and only flower spikes rise upward. Bees and butterflies love it.
Can be direct seeded into desired location during the late fall for spring germination if required.
Seeds can take a long time to germinate, generally its about 21 days but it can take up to three months, depending on conditions so we recommend seeding in pots, two or three seeds to a small pot. This way weeds can be controlled and pots can be cared for.
Seeds need cooler temperatures to germinate so does best sown in a cold frame or on an outside bench preferable on the north side of a building. The best temperatures are between 50-55 F (10-13 C) they will germinate a higher temperatures but they may take longer. Seed required light to germinate so do not cover. Seeds tend to germinate better if they have been cold stratified first, All our seeds are cold stratified.
Seedlings also grow very slowly and may not get very big in the first year so it may be necessary to keep them in pots for a considerable time. Some plants may not grow large enough to transplant in the first year so may need to be kept in a cold frame or sheltered outdoor location during the first winter.
If plants are small, the best option to overwinter is to use plastic mulch
in the desired planting location. Lay the plastic mulch and cover the edges
with soil to keep in place. Make a small hole in the plastic and transplant
the small plant into its new home. This should be in a shaded location. Water
often in the first year unless the area stays moist. The plastic mulch will
keep down the weeds and allow the plant to grow unhindered. It may take until
the second year before it begins to gain any size.
Space plants about 18" apart.
Meadowsweet has been used as a medicinal herb since ancient times. The flowers contain salicylic acid (and was the basis for the formulary of aspirin) and is a good natural remedy for headaches and other aspirin treated aliments such as arthritis, gout, general pains and feverish colds. It is also used to treat gastric ulcers because unlike the extracted aspirin, which can cause gastric ulceration at high doses, the combination of constituents in meadowsweet act to protect the inner lining of the stomach and intestines whilst still providing the anti-inflammatory benefits of aspirin. It is used to treat hyperacidity, heartburn, gastritis and peptic ulcers. Meadowsweet is also effective against the organisms causing diphtheria, dysentery and pneumonia. However this remedy should not be given to people who are hypersensitive to aspirin
The young leaves are used as flavouring in soups they can be used fresh or dried and can be used as a mild sweetener in herbal teas. The flowers are used to flavor alcoholic beverages and in stewed fruits, made into syrup used for cool summer drinks and fruit salads and added to wine and beer to produce a heady brew.
Filipendula ulmaria, Spiraea ulmaria. Ulmaria pentapetala. Nature's Aspirin, a-spirea, Queen of the Meadow, Meadow-Wort.