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How to Care for a Queen of the Meadow Plant!

Beautiful creamy white flower clusters of the queen of the meadow plant

Filipendula Ulmaria

It can be somewhat tricky to find a flowering plant that can tolerate wetter areas. If you happen to live in a climate that receives a ton of rain, look no further than filipendula ulmaria. It is completely tolerant to wet meadows and other moist habitats.

This plant has several common names, including meadowsweet, mead wort, pride of the meadow, meadow queen, mead sweet, and bridewort. These nicknames come from the fact that back in the day, people used to lay this herb along the floors of churches for special events because of their attractive fragrance. They also get their name from the fact that they absolutely dominate wet habitats.

A proud member of the rose botanical family (rosaceae), gardeners love this perennial herb because it is wonderfully easy to care for, the reproduce enthusiastically, and they smell absolutely wonderful. Read on to learn all about some additional information you may not have expected of these plants!

What do Queen of the Meadow Plants Look Like?

Focus image of creamy white flowers of queen of the meadow plant

Growth Habit

The queen of the meadow plant is a perennial herb, meaning that they will sprout up every spring as long as their growing conditions are maintained. They produce a clump forming habit, comprised of tall, spindly, branching stems.

The stems of this strewing herb can reach anywhere from 3-7 feet in height and are erect and branching. Stems are usually green, but can sometimes be purple or red as well.

Leaves

One of the easier ways to identify a queen of the meadow is by its foliage. Each leaf is pinnately arranged with serrated terminal leaflet. Leaflets are usually dark green in the upper side of the leaf, and white/green and downy on the under side of the leaf.

Flowers

Queen of the meadows creamy white flowers will usually bloom starting in the early summer and will last through to early autumn or late autumn. These inflorescences are borne as a populated cluster of tiny flowers.

Each flower is usually a creamy white color, and they are so small and bunched together that it can be hard to see the details of each individual flower head. A very popular cultivar of the queen of the meadow is called “flore pleno” meadowsweet flowers.

Queen of the meadow flower bundles are also known for having an exceptionally lovely smell to them. They are said to have a fresh almond scent, and their sweet smelling nectar attracts all sorts of pollinators to the area.

Where are Queen of the Meadows Native Plants?

Gorgeous queen of the meadow blooming against clear blue sky

The most important thing that I have learned as a gardener is that by researching where a certain species is a native plant, I am enabled to keep it as happy as possible outside of its natural growing range.

Queen of the meadows in a native plant all throughout Europe (specifically in the British Isles and the North Mains), western Asia, and has successfully become naturalized in North America as well. They’re also known for growing very prosperously at the top of the Fan Foel mountain range in Wales.

When growing wild, queen of the meadows can be found growing very prosperously in a damp meadow, in wet fens and woodlands and other moist habitats.. These wild flowers tend to exist in such wet woodland conditions is called a cirsium palustre plant.

These plants can exist happily outdoors all year long in USDA zones 3 through 9, but should be brought indoors for the colder winter months outside of those specific zones.

What are the Ideal Growing Conditions for Queen of the Meadow Plants?

Blooming white flowers of the queen of the meadow next to creek

Now that we’ve gone through all of the preliminary information regarding queen of the meadow plants, it’s time to learn all about how to care for a patch of your very own. Queen of the meadow care can easily be incorporated into your regular gardening routine. Just follow these simple guidelines:

Soil Type

Queen of the meadow plants grow very prosperously in the wild, indicating that they can tolerate a variety of different conditions. That being said, they will be happiest if their soil type possesses certain qualities.

It is important for the soil to be well draining. This is because the soil will be consistently moist or wet, but they do not lot like to live in water logged soils. They also prefer to live in soil that is rich and fertile.

Luckily, if you simply incorporate some compost to the mix at the beginning of the growing season, it will not only increase the nutrient level of the soil, but it will encourage proper drainage as well!

Water Level

The main thing to know about queen of the meadow plants is that they absolutely love to grow in super moist soil. And not just moist, they’ll even be happy if soil is completely wet as well.

Maintaining soil moisture can be hard if you live in a drier region, that is why considering planting them next to a pond or stream would be a good option to ensure that the soil can retain some moisture.

They should be receiving about 2-3 inches of water per week if there isn’t a consistent period of rain. Just remember, soil moisture is important, but it is also important that they soil is well draining as well!

Table holding tincture and cut flowers of the queen of the meadow plant

Sun Exposure

When it comes to sun exposure, queen of the meadow plants aren’t super picky. They perform quite well in either direct sunlight exposure for the majority of the day, but are also completely tolerant to partial shade.

Partial shade in the afternoon is actually ideal if you live in a place that experiences really hot summers. Partial shade is also a way to ensure that soil doesn’t dry out too quickly.

But remember, if they are planted in too much shade they can start to develop a pretty leggy appearance to them, as plants tend to grow in the direction of the sun.

Temperature

Another great thing about queen of the meadows is the fact that they are super cold hardy. They are very capable of surviving those harsh northern winters, and they are also tolerant to hotter temperatures as well.

Queen of the meadow plants can exist outdoors all year long within USDA growing zones 3 through 9, but should be brought indoors for the winter in all other zones, otherwise they may not survive.

Fertilizer

Though they don’t require fertilizer in order to be happy and to bloom profusely, queen of the meadow plants will respond quite nicely to receiving a well balanced fertilizer at the very beginning of their growing season.

Otherwise, they should be perfectly happy with having compost incorporated into their soil at the beginning of their active growing season as well.

Pruning

The lowest maintenance aspect of queen of the meadow plants is pruning. They require absolutely no pruning from you to maintain a healthy growth habit. That being said, if you are keen on controlling the flower population, mow down the stems before the flowers have a change to go to seed.

How are Queen of the Meadow Plants Used?

Single bee visting white flower clusters of the queen of the meadow plant

The absolute best thing about the queen of the meadow plant is the fact that it has so many more uses than just being pretty. In fact, it has some uses that you may not have expected at all.

Ornamental Plant

First off, the queen of the meadow has a long history of being used for its gorgeous and sweet smelling flowers. Back in the 16th century, Queen Elizabeth I of England preferred to have her room constantly strewn with queen of the meadow bushels around her room.

Nowadays, these plants are planted in gardens all over the world as mass planting plants, in garden beds, in containers and and rock gardens. They can also be the perfect addition to your herb garden, and they will attract tons of beneficial insects to your property.

Medicinal Plant

Not everybody knows that queen of the meadow is partially responsible for the medicine we currently know as aspirin! An inventor named Felix Hoffmann discovered that both willow bark and queen of the meadow contained phenolic compounds, more specifically, salicylic acid (salicylates).

The new drug was named by Bayer AG (Felix Hoffmann’s boss) after the aged botanical name for meadowsweet, which was spiraea ulmaria. This ended up being an extremely important discovery in terms of plants with medicinal properties.

This herbal medicine has been used for centuries outside of pill form, and queen of the meadow plants can be made into herbal teas and salves to help with issues like infections and fevers. They also have a ton of antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.

Edible Plant

Queen of the meadows flowers are said to have a very appealing flavor to them as well! They can be used to help flavour beverages like wine and beer, and can also flavour vinegar.

The flowers can also be added to sweeter things like jellies and jams and are a popular flavour to add to desserts. In this application they are usually referred to as meadow sweet plants.

Natural Dye

Another interesting use for queen of meadow is being able to obtain natural dye from its roots! Using a specific type of mordant, one can create a natural, blackish/blue dye by soaking the roots of the plant.

Beautiful image of bottle of queen of the meadow tincture sitting on table

FAQs

Is queen of the meadow deer resistant?

Something wonderful about queen of the meadow plants is that despite the fact that their creamy white flowers smell so wonderful, they are resistant to grazing from larger pests like deer, rabbits, and squirrels!

What are the damaging agents to queen of the meadow plants?

One of the downsides to planting queen of the meadows is that fact that they are rather susceptible to infestations from various plant parasites, including spider mites, aphids, and others.

Can you make tea from queen of the meadow plants?

The leaves, stems, roots, and flowers of the queen of the meadow plant can be steeped and brewed into a tea with tons of medicinal properties that can help alleviate symptoms of flus, colds, fevers, and other mild ailments.

Can a queen of the meadow plant tolerate shade?

When it comes to sun exposure, queen of the meadow plants aren’t super picky. They perform quite well in either direct sunlight exposure for the majority of the day, but are also completely tolerant to partial shade.

Partial shade in the afternoon is actually ideal if you live in a place that experiences really hot summers. Partial shade is also a way to ensure that soil doesn’t dry out too quickly.

But remember, if they are planted in too much shade they can start to develop a pretty leggy appearance to them, as plants tend to grow in the direction of the sun.

Can queen of the meadow be grown indoors?

A queen of the meadow plant can easily be grown indoors in a pot or a container as long as that vessel comes with plenty of drainage holes and it is placed in an area that receives an adequate amount of sunlight.

What are the medicinal benefits to queen of the meadow?

Not everybody knows that queen of the meadow is partially responsible for the medicine we currently know as aspirin! An inventor named Felix Hoffmann discovered that both willow bark and queen of the meadow contained phenolic compounds, more specifically, salicylic acid (salicylates).

The new drug was named by Bayer AG (Felix Hoffmann’s boss) after the aged botanical name for meadowsweet, which was spiraea ulmaria. This ended up being an extremely important discovery in terms of plants with medicinal properties.

This herbal medicine has been used for centuries outside of pill form, and queen of the meadow plants can be made into herbal teas and salves to help with issues like infections and fevers. They also have a ton of antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.

What time of year do queen of the meadow flowers bloom?

The time of year to see queen of the meadow flowers in their blooming season will usually start in the early summer and last all the way through to late summer or early fall.

Do queen of the meadow flowers attract pollinators?

Queen of the meadow flower bundles are also known for having an exceptionally lovely smell to them. They are said to have a fresh almond scent, and their sweet smelling nectar attracts all sorts of pollinators to the area.

Each flower is usually a creamy white color, and they are so small and bunched together that it can be hard to see the details of each individual flower head. A very popular cultivar of the queen of the meadow is called “flore pleno” meadowsweet flowers.

Are queen of the meadows perennials or annuals?

Queen of the meadow is a perennial plant type. This means that it bears flowers that will continue to blossom each spring as long as its ideal growing conditions are met and maintained.

How often should a queen of the meadow plant be watered?

The main thing to know about queen of the meadow plants is that they absolutely love to grow in super moist soil. And not just moist, they’ll even be happy if soil is completely wet as well.

Maintaining soil moisture can be hard if you live in a drier region, that is why considering planting them next to a pond or stream would be a good option to ensure that the soil can retain some moisture.

They should be receiving about 2-3 inches of water per week if there isn’t a consistent period of rain. Just remember, soil moisture is important, but it is also important that they soil is well draining as well!

What are some other common names for queen of the meadow?

This plant has several common names, including meadowsweet, mead wort, pride of the meadow, meadow queen, mead sweet, and bridewort. These nicknames come from the fact that back in the day, people used to lay this herb along the floors of churches for special events because of their attractive fragrance. They also get their name from the fact that they absolutely dominate wet habitats.

What is the ideal soil type for a queen of the meadow plant?

Queen of the meadow plants grow very prosperously in the wild, indicating that they can tolerate a variety of different conditions. That being said, they will be happiest if their soil type possesses certain qualities.

It is important for the soil to be well draining. This is because the soil will be consistently moist or wet, but they do not lot like to live in water logged soils. They also prefer to live in soil that is rich and fertile.

Luckily, if you simply incorporate some compost to the mix at the beginning of the growing season, it will not only increase the nutrient level of the soil, but it will encourage proper drainage as well!

What USDA zones can queen of the meadow plants grow in?

Queen of the meadows in a native plant all throughout Europe (specifically in the British Isles and the North Mains), western Asia, and has successfully become naturalized in North America as well. They’re also known for growing very prosperously at the top of the Fan Foel mountain range in Wales.

When growing wild, queen of the meadows can be found growing very prosperously in a damp meadow, in wet fens and woodlands and other moist habitats.. These wild flowers tend to exist in such wet woodland conditions is called a cirsium palustre plant.

These plants can exist happily outdoors all year long in USDA zones 3 through 9, but should be brought indoors for the colder winter months outside of those specific zones.

Are queen of the meadow plants cold hardy?

Queen of the meadow plants are wonderfully cold hardy and can easily survive some pretty harsh winters just to sprout back up the following spring.

Do queen of the meadow plants require fertilizer?

Though they don’t require fertilizer in order to be happy and to bloom profusely, queen of the meadow plants will respond quite nicely to receiving a well balanced fertilizer at the very beginning of their growing season.

Otherwise, they should be perfectly happy with having compost incorporated into their soil at the beginning of their active growing season as well.

What is the conservation status of queen of the meadow?

The conservation status of the queen of the meadow plant is of “least concern”, meaning that it’s population is not under any sort of threat and it is grow prosperously.