Dropwort – info, planting, care and tips

Dropwort (Filipendula vulgaris)
Dropwort (Filipendula vulgaris)

The dropwort is an uncomplicated wild shrub that enchants in dry places with charming white flowers. This is how to plant and care for successfully.

Profile of dropwort:

Scientific name: Filipendula vulgaris

Plant family: rose family (Rosaceae)

Other names: fern-leaf dropwort

Sowing time: spring

Planting time: spring or autumn

Flowering period: June to July

Location: sunny

Soil quality: sandy to loamy, calcipholous, moderately nutritious, humus rich

These information are for temperate climate!

Use in: flower beds, group planting, overgrowing, borders, flower garden, natural garden

Winter hardiness: hardy, USDA Plant Hardiness Zones: 3 (-37 °C / -35 °F)

Bee and insect friendly: Yes

Plant characteristics and classification of dropwort

Plant order, origin and occurrence of dropwort

The dropwort (Filipendula vulgaris) belongs to the rose family (Rosaceae). In nature, the perennial can be found on calcareous, loamy, humus-rich semi-arid grasslands and steppes, as well as on warm borders of bushes from Europe to North Africa and Western Siberia.

Characteristics of dropwort


The deciduous plant is a medium-high, upright wild shrub. Their angular, bare stems sprout in groups from a native rosette of leaves. Filipendula vulgaris reaches a height of 60 centimeters (24 in) during flowering. The plant is sometimes also called fern-leaf dropwort. The English name “dropwort” comes from the tubers that hang like drops from the root.


In summer, the pinnate leaves of dropwort form a leaf rosette about 15 centimeters (6 in) high. They are lanceolate in shape, dull green in color and hairy underneath. The 15 to 25 centimeters (6 to 10 in) long, short-stalked and toothed leaves smell pleasantly of orange when rubbed.


The filigree play of colors of the branched flower racemes enchants with the interplay of red flower buds and open creamy yellow flowers. The 5 to 8 millimeters (0.2 to 0.32 in) large flowers of the dropwort open from June to July. In the 18th century, the wild shrub was also called wine flower in some areas because its flowers smell similar to wine.


The plant grows nut fruits only a few millimeters in size. They only carry one seed each.

Dropwort – cultivation and care


Filipendula vulgaris prefers to grow in sunny, warm places.


A well-drained, humus-rich and chalky soil is best for the dropwort.


When planting, you put about eight young plants per square meter (10 sq ft). This corresponds to a distance of 35 centimeters (14 in). Filipendula vulgaris appears best as a group.


The dropwort is undemanding and hardy. It can withstand drought pretty well. You should only add a little compost or horn shavings in spring as fertilizer.


Filipendula vulgaris spreads underground with the help of its rhizomes and by seeding itself. For propagation, carefully dig up the perennials with a digging fork, divide the roots and replant the pieces in the ground.

Diseases and pests

It is insensitive to plant diseases and pests.


The dropwort is hardy down to -37 °C / -35 °F. There is no need for further protection in winter.

Use in the garden

The rosette-like perennial fits perfectly into natural gardens. Good companions are Seguier’s spurge (Euphorbia seguieriana), catnip (Nepeta cataria), ashy cranesbill (Geranium cinereum) or Carthusian pink (Dianthus carthusianorum).

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