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Thundercloud Thalictrum aquilegifolium
Such dainty blooms on such a healthy form--a wonder of nature!

Thundercloud Thalictrum aquilegifolium

Item # 35644
Buy 3+ at $9.95 ea
Buy 6+ at $8.95 ea
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Airy Purple Blooms on Graceful Red Stems

This Native Meadow Rue is Incredibly Easy to Grow
This variety of the native species T. aquilegifolium is exceptionally tall and impressive, growing about 3 feet high and putting out double, fuzzy lavender blooms on deep purple stems. The blooms are not actually flowers, but incredibly showy tufted purple stamens. The big, globe-shaped blooms arise on 6- to 8-inch wide panicles over ferny foliage.

The impressive blooms come on early in the season, opening in June. The show lasts for about a month, during which the sweet, airy scent of the blooms attracts bees and butterflies. Luckily, deer don't find 'Thundercloud' as appetizing. Naturally, this Meadow Rue is an excellent choice for any meadow- or woodland-themed garden. But the graceful blooms are also amazing for cutting or drying.

The big panicles and wiry stems create an ethereal effect, but the heavy blooms also mean that Meadow Rue can have a tendency to "flop". Grow 'Thundercloud' next to a fence or something it can lean on, or use stakes when growing it in the open.

This hardy native grows 24 to 36 inches tall and 18 to 24 inches wide and requires very little. It prefers partial shade and moist, rich soil, but it survives in a huge range of conditions, including sun, drought, poor soil (even clay), and cold. Though most sources only recommend it for zones 5 to 8, there are reports of this cold-hardy plant thriving in New York, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and even as far north as zone 2a!

Genus Thalictrum
Species aquilegifolium
Variety 'Thundercloud'
Item Form Bareroot
Zone 4 - 8
Bloom Season Late Spring - Early Summer
Plant Height 24 in - 3 ft
Plant Width 18 in - 24 in
Additional Characteristics Butterfly Lovers, Easy Care Plants, Native
Bloom Color Dark Rose, Lavender, Light Purple
Foliage Color Medium Green
Light Requirements Full Sun, Part Shade
Moisture Requirements Moist,  well-drained
Resistance Cold Hardy, Drought Tolerant, Heat Tolerant
Soil Tolerance Normal,  loamy, Poor
Uses Beds, Border, Cut Flowers, Outdoor
Restrictions Canada, Guam, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands

The dry, sparse appearance of bareroot perennials can be alarming to the novice gardener, but in reality ordering bare root is often the smarter choice. Foliage and blooms can be seductive, but the health and long-term potential of a plant truly lies in its roots. Bareroot plants have several advantages over plants in containers—bare roots are less likely to be harmed in the shipping process, their timing is easier to control, and they are field-grown for larger, healthier root systems. This why Wayside Gardens has had great success with bare root plants, and you can too!

It is safer to ship plants in bareroot form because there is no risk in harming new growth, and therefore the plant actually has a better chance of making it safely into the customer’s garden.

And thanks to refrigerated storage, the timing of bareroot perennials can be precisely controlled. “(Bareroot perennials) are dormant,” explains JPPA Lead Horticulturist Benjamin Chester, “But as soon as they leave the refrigerated storage they’ll begin breaking dormancy.” And once the plant ‘wakes up’, it is ready to begin the growing season in earnest, which means it will quickly catch up to the level of container plants.

The most important benefit of bareroot perennials is that they can be field grown rather than confined to containers. The bareroot Cherry Cheesecake Hibiscus pictured hereperfectly illustrates the difference between a field-grown perennial and a containerized one. Wayside Gardens used to offer this variety in a quart container, like the Monarda next to it. But the Hibiscus was simply too cramped in that space, so Wayside switched to growing it in the earth and selling it bare root. The result is a thick, fibrous mass of roots that used to fill up several cubic feet of soil and which, even in its bare, pruned form would be too large to fit back into the 1 Quart container. What a difference a little space makes! While small and slow-growing cultivars can start well in containers, large and vigorous cultivars need more room to stretch out and develop a solid root system.