Common Rue (Ruta graveolens) Quick Facts:
Host plant to Black Swallowtail, Anise Swallowtail, and Giant Swallowtail
Hardy in zones 5-9
Full sun, tolerates partial shade
Needs well drained soil
Bright yellow flowers in Summer
2-3 feet tall
Can be grown in containers
Space 18-24 inches apart
May cause skin irritation for certain people with allergies
Common Rue Plants for Swallowtails
Our Ruta graveolens comes in 3.5 inch pots. Rue is one of our favorite host plants because it is a host for both the Black Swallowtail and the Giant Swallowtail butterfly caterpillars. It also has lovely blue/green foliage year-around and a covering of small yellow flowers in the spring.
Common Rue is an evergreen perennial. It is short-lived for a perennial but it will produce plenty of seeds and it self-seeds in our Southeastern area. Rue plants in our area lives for about 5-6 years.
The one thing to be careful of is that it can cause a skin allergy in sensitive people. This usually only happens on hot, sunny days when a person is sweaty while handling Rue in the sun. Neither my kids or I have ever had any reactions but it is something to be cautious about.
Rue has many great characteristics in the garden and it a great addition to any butterfly garden aimed at attracting swallowtail butterflies!