When is a Thug Not a Thug?


Submitted a year ago
Created by
Henry Homeyer

If you can control it!

Right now I have 5- to 6-foot tall flower stems topped with cotton candy plumes. Gorgeous. Yet I pull it out on a regular basis. Queen of the Prairie (Filipendula rubra) is a thug, but I still love it. They key is to have no remorse when you need to send it off in exile – or to the compost pile

Queen of the Praire is tall - and spreads like crazy

Although most books say Queen of the Prairie should be grown in partial shade, I have it in full sun. We all agree that it needs moist, even soggy soil. It spreads by root – which is why it has earned the thug label. A patch will spread one to two feet in all directions every year unless you mow it down or pull out the new plants. In fact, I once teased out a root with my CobraHead weeder that measured 39 inches long!

Roots of Queen of the Prairie spread far!

There is a slightly smaller, slightly less aggressive white form, Queen of the Meadow (Filipendula ulmaria). But it is much less showy, and I prefer the pink form. 

A mix of the two Filipendula species here.

So if you have a place that needs a joyful explosion of color, think about Queen of the Prairie. All the better if it gets its own bed surrounded by lawn – so the mower can contain it. 

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