The queen-of-the-prairie is an impressive appearance for the pond edge or the natural perennial bed. Its fragrant, pinkish red blossom attracts many wild bees in summer.
Profile of queen-of-the-prairie:
Scientific name: Filipendula rubra
Plant family: rose family (Rosaceae)
Other names: –
Planting time: spring
Flowering period: July to August
Location: sunny to partially shady
Soil quality: sandy to loamy, calcipholous, nutrient rich
These information are for temperate climate!
Use in: flowerbeds, flower bouquets, group planting, pond planting, borders, natural garden, water garden
Winter hardiness: hardy, USDA Plant Hardiness Zones: 2 (-43 °C / -45 °F)
Bee and insect friendly: Yes
Plant characteristics and classification of queen-of-the-prairie
Plant order, origin and occurrence of queen-of-the-prairie
The queen-of-the-prairie (Filipendula rubra) is botanically related to the meadowsweet (Filipendula ulmaria), but originates from North America. There it grows in wet meadows, swamps and alluvial forests. The associated plant family is the rose family (Rosaceae).
Characteristics of queen-of-the-prairie
The queen-of-the-prairie grows persistently as a large, upright cluster. The plant grows to a height of 150 to 180 centimeters (5 to 6 ft) and reaches about 100 centimeters (40 in) in diameter. It has a shallow creeping root system and is hardy. The shoots, leaf and flower stems are reddish in color.
The large, matt dark green foliage of the queen-of-the-prairie is deeply lobed, the leaf edge is serrated, and it smells aromatic. The leaves sit alternately on the reddish shoots.
As inflorescence the queen-of-the-prairie forms branched umbel panicles on reddish shoots, which reach about 15 centimeters (6 in) in diameter. They consist of numerous small, pink-colored individual flowers, each with five roundish petals and many stamens. These protrude from the flowers and give the entire inflorescence a feathery appearance. The queen-of-the-prairie is a great bee pasture. The sweet scent of the flowers is especially noticeable in the evening hours. The flowering time is from July to August. The inflorescences of the plant can also be used for flower bouquets.
From the pollinated blossoms, many-seeded, brownish nut fruits develop. The fruit clusters are attractive well into winter. It is therefore better to cut back the plant only in spring.
Queen-of-the-prairie – cultivation and care
The queen-of-the-prairie prefers a sunny location, but grows and flowers well also in light shade.
The queen-of-the-prairie needs well-drained, moist and nutritious soil to reach its enormous size. The plant likes to grow on calcareous soil.
The queen-of-the-prairie is best planted in spring. The plant can be planted as a single plant or in small groups. When planting, allow enough space for the plant to grow abundantly. Good companion plants are, for example, Siberian iris (Iris sibirica) or bistort (Bistorta officinalis) as well as prairie cordgrass (Spartina pectinata).
Care / Watering / Fertilization
In a suitable location, the plant does not need any special care. However, it is better to water it if there is a prolonged drought. The fruits should be cut back in early spring. In autumn you can enrich the planting site with a layer of compost.
If the queen-of-the-prairie becomes too lush in the garden, the plant can be divided every two to three years in spring. To do this, the rootstock is dug up, carefully divided into two or three parts and one part is put back in place. For the remaining parts, you can choose a new location or give them to other interested gardeners.
The queen-of-the-prairie is best propagated by dividing the rootstock in spring.
Diseases and pests
Filipendula rubra is a thoroughly healthy plant that is hardly ever attacked by pests. It is also not interesting for snails. Occasionally an infestation with powdery mildew can occur.
The queen-of-the-prairie is very hardy and therefore does not need any additional protection.
Use in the garden
The queen-of-the-prairie is well suited for planting on the edge of garden ponds or streams and in swamp areas. It is also an attractive shrub in perennial beds and on a sunny edge of a wood.
For the garden the deep pink flowering variety ‘Venusta‘ is recommended, which grows more compactly than the wild variety and was bred in the 1950s in Great Britain. It grows to about 100 to 150 centimeters (40 to 60 in). Very similar in appearance, but even more compact is Filipendula purpurea ‘Elegans‘, the red flowering meadowsweet. It grows to 80 to 100 centimeters (32 to 40 in).