Filipendula ulmaria 'Variegata'
Common Name: meadowsweet 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Rosaceae
Zone: 3 to 9
Height: 3.00 to 4.00 feet
Spread: 1.50 to 2.00 feet
Bloom Time: June to August
Bloom Description: Creamy white
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium to wet
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Naturalize, Rain Garden
Flower: Showy, Fragrant
Tolerate: Rabbit, Deer


Easily grown in average, medium to wet, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade. Prefers constantly moist, alkaline soils. Intolerant of drought. Appreciates part shade in hot climates. Propagate by seed or by dividing clumps in early spring. Freely self-seeds. With sufficient moisture, foliage may remain attractive throughout the growing season. If foliage depreciates in summer, cut back hard to promote new growth.

Although this plant freely self-seeds, foliage variegation of the new plants may not come true, so prompt deadheading of spent flower plumes is generally advisable.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Filipendula ulmaria, commonly called meadowsweet or queen-of-the-meadow, is a large, clump-forming, upright perennial that typically grows 3-4' (less frequently to 6') tall and features branched, terminal, astilbe-like panicles (4-6") of fragrant, creamy white flowers in early to mid summer. Compound, pinnate, dark green leaves (7-9 leaflets each) are hairy and whitish beneath. Although native to Europe and Asia, this species has escaped gardens and naturalized in parts of eastern North America.

Genus name comes from the Latin words filum meaning a thread and pendulus meaning hanging for the root tubers in some species that hang together with threads.

Specific epithet means resembling Ulmus the genus name of elms.

'Variegata' has variegated leaves and more compact growth. It is an upright, clump-forming perennial that typically grows 2-4' tall and features branched, terminal, astilbe-like, 4-6" long panicles (corymbs) of tiny, fragrant, creamy white flowers in early to mid summer. Compound-pinnate, bright green leaves (7-9 lance-shaped leaflets each) are variegated with pale yellow stripes or blotches. A good foliage plant that is valued as much for its leaves as it is for its flowers.


No serious insect or disease problems. Some susceptibility to mildew.


Borders (rear), naturalized areas, wet meadows or moist areas along streams or ponds.