The rue plant was in the past used for a variety of medicinal cures and is also referred to as the “herb of grace”. But ingestion is generally discouraged now. And it’s called rue apparently for a good reason – its sap can cause photodermatitis.
But I started growing it for a very simple reason, despite having very sensitive skin – the law (in the UK) says that cats are free spirits. Therefore, unlike with dogs, they get to soil your property, and the owner gets off scot free. Nothing keeps feral cats like my neighbour’s away, believe me, I tried so many things it would take an essay to list them all. Over two years. What they leave behind is very simply not pleasant. One night in desperation I came across a web site that suggested rue. Along with all the warnings about why it’s not a good idea.
I started them from seed just over a year ago. They’re a mediterranean plant so a south-facing balcony in central Scotland was a godsend. I got one tiny flower on the tallest at the end of last summer – very unusual as they don’t flower till year two. And are supposed to flower in summer. One already flowered very early this year, almost all of them have buds now.
Even better, I have not cleaned up after a single cat since the baby plants moved out last year. And now with spring I have the best reason in world not to rue the day I planted them.