Meadowsweet Filipendula ulmaria 'Variegata' (v)

👤 Non-toxic to humans
🐾 Non-toxic to pets
🌸 Blooming
🍪 Edible
‍🌱 Easy-care
variegated meadowsweet


The plant known as Meadowsweet 'Variegata' is adorned with distinctive leafage that sets it apart. The foliage of Meadowsweet 'Variegata' is very attractive, with each leaf intricately edged with creamy white margins that create a striking contrast against the main green color. The leaves are pinnate, meaning they are composed of multiple smaller leaflets arranged on either side of a central stem, resembling a feather in structure. During its blooming period, Meadowsweet 'Variegata' produces fluffy clusters of small, creamy-white flowers that are delicately scented. These flowers appear in dense, elongated clusters that can add both visual interest and a pleasant aroma to the garden when in bloom. The creamy blossoms stand out against the variegated foliage, making this plant a lovely and decorative feature in any garden space. The stems of Meadowsweet 'Variegata' are generally upright and sturdy, providing a strong backbone for the plant's foliage and flowers. The overall impression of this plant is one of elegance and finesse, with its variegated leaves adding year-round interest even when the plant is not in flower.

Plant Info
Common Problems

About this plant

  • memoNames

    • Synonyms

      Variegated Meadowsweet, Variegated Queen of the Meadow, Variegated Meadow Queen, Variegated Lady of the Meadow, Variegated Dropwort.

    • Common names

      Spiraea ulmaria, Ulmaria pentapetala, Filipendula denudata, Ulmaria filipendula.

  • skullToxicity

    • To humans

      Meadowsweet is generally not considered toxic to humans and has been used in traditional herbal medicine. However, sensitivity varies from person to person, and it contains salicylates, which are compounds similar to aspirin. Therefore, individuals with a sensitivity or allergy to salicylates may experience allergy-like symptoms such as rash, hives, or breathing difficulties if ingesting the plant. In addition, overconsumption could potentially lead to side effects typical of aspirin overdose, such as stomach pain, ulcers, nausea, vomiting, ringing in the ears, confusion, or more severe conditions like metabolic acidosis in very high doses.

    • To pets

      Meadowsweet is not typically listed as a toxic plant to pets. However, as with humans, some animals may have sensitivities or allergies to the salicylates present in the plant, leading to mild gastrointestinal upset or allergic reactions. Signs could include vomiting, diarrhea, or dermatitis in sensitive pets. In large enough quantities, the same risks associated with aspirin overdose could theoretically affect pets, such as stomach ulcers, kidney failure, or metabolic acidosis, though such severe reactions would be rare from casual ingestion.

  • infoCharacteristics

    • Life cycle


    • Foliage type


    • Color of leaves


    • Flower color


    • Height

      3-4 feet (91-122 cm)

    • Spread

      2-3 feet (61-91 cm)

    • Plant type


    • Hardiness zones


    • Native area



  • money-bagGeneral Benefits

    • Ornamental Value: Adds aesthetic appeal to gardens with its variegated foliage and clusters of creamy white flowers.
    • Attracts Wildlife: The flowers are attractive to bees, butterflies, and other beneficial insects, promoting biodiversity.
    • Low Maintenance: Once established, it is relatively easy to care for and does not require frequent attention.
    • Wet Soil Tolerance: Thrives in damp conditions, making it suitable for waterside plantings or moist garden areas.
    • Rustic Charm: Fits well in cottage-style or informal gardens, bringing a relaxed, naturalistic feel.
    • Seasonal Interest: Offers a change in scenery with its summer bloom and fall foliage, providing multi-seasonal interest.
    • Natural Groundcover: Can spread and fill in areas, reducing weed growth and soil erosion.

  • medicalMedical Properties

    • Anti-inflammatory: Meadowsweet contains compounds that have been shown to reduce inflammation.
    • Analgesic: Traditionally used to relieve pain, such as headaches or minor body aches.
    • Antipyretic: Has been used to reduce fever due to its salicylate content.
    • Gastroprotective: Meadowsweet can provide protective effects to the lining of the stomach, potentially helping with issues like acid reflux.
    • Diuretic: May promote the excretion of urine, which supports the body in eliminating excess water and salts.
    • Astringent: Can tighten and tone tissues, often used in cases of diarrhea or in wound healing.
    • Antibacterial: Some studies suggest it has antibacterial properties, although this is not commonly its primary use.
    • Antioxidant: Contains compounds that may help in protecting the body from oxidative stress.

  • windAir-purifying Qualities

    This plant is not specifically known for air purifying qualities.

  • leavesOther Uses

    • The Meadowsweet 'Variegata' can be used as a natural dye; its roots and other plant parts can provide beautiful shades of black or dark blue when used in the traditional dyeing of fabrics.
    • In gardening, the Meadowsweet 'Variegata' can act as a repellent for pests; its scent can deter certain insects, thus protecting other plants in the vicinity.
    • The plant's dried flowers and leaves can be used to stuff sachets, imparting a pleasant aroma to linens and wardrobes.
    • Meadowsweet 'Variegata' can be used in potpourri mixes, combining its leaves and flowers with other dried botanicals for a long-lasting natural fragrance.
    • The flower clusters of Meadowsweet 'Variegata' can be added to floral arrangements not just for their aesthetic appeal, but also for their subtle, almond-like fragrance.
    • Fresh Meadowsweet 'Variegata' flowers can be floated in bowls of water to create scented indoor water features or table centerpieces.
    • The tannin-rich qualities of Meadowsweet 'Variegata' might be used in the tanning industry to assist in the processing of leather.
    • As a natural insecticide, a decoction made from the Meadowsweet 'Variegata' could be applied to plants or water features to control mosquito larvae.
    • Culinary enthusiasts can use the Meadowsweet 'Variegata' flowers as a flavoring agent in homemade syrups, jams, or jellies to impart a subtle almond-like taste.
    • Eco-printers might use the leaves and flowers of Meadowsweet 'Variegata' to create botanical prints on fabrics or paper, utilizing the natural pigments and tannins for artistic purposes.

Interesting Facts

  • bedFeng Shui

    The Meadowsweet is not used in Feng Shui practice.

  • aquariusZodiac Sign Compitability

    The Meadowsweet is not used in astrology practice.

  • spiralPlant Symbolism

    • Protection: Meadowsweet is traditionally believed to offer protection as it was used to strew on floors to give a pleasant odor and keep away pests in the Middle Ages.
    • Peace and Tranquility: Due to its gentle and pleasant fragrance, Meadowsweet is often associated with calming and harmonious effects, making it a symbol of serenity.
    • Love and Relationships: In folklore, Meadowsweet is sometimes linked to love and matrimony, possibly because of its use in love spells and its presence at weddings and celebrations.
    • Healing and Restoration: Meadowsweet has a history of medicinal use, particularly for pain relief and anti-inflammatory properties, symbolizing healing and body restoration.

Every 1-2 weeks
2500 - 10000 Lux
Every 2-3 years
As needed
  • water dropWater

    Meadow Sweet should be watered deeply to ensure the roots can access moisture, but it does not require constant wet feet. Watering about 1 inch per week should be sufficient, but this may need to be increased during prolonged dry spells or if you're growing it in containers. Check the soil moisture regularly, and if the top inch is dry, it’s time to water again. Always water at the base of the plant to avoid wetting the foliage, which can promote disease. During the winter months, water less frequently, allowing the soil to dry out slightly between waterings.

  • sunLight

    Meadow Sweet thrives best in full sun to partial shade. It prefers a spot that receives at least 6 hours of sunlight daily but can tolerate some afternoon shade, especially in hotter climates. The optimal location would offer morning sun and protection from the intense heat of the late afternoon.

  • thermometerTemperature

    Meadow Sweet is hardy and can tolerate a range of temperatures, but it performs best when the temperature is between 60°F and 75°F. It can survive minimum temperatures down to about -20°F. Make sure to plant it in a location where it is sheltered from extreme cold winds to prevent damage to the foliage.

  • scissorsPruning

    Prune Meadow Sweet to remove dead or faded flowers and encourage a second bloom. This can be done midsummer after the first flush of blooms has faded. Additionally, cut back the entire plant in late winter or early spring to maintain a healthy, vigorous shape and promote robust new growth. Pruning is not only for aesthetics but also helps in controlling the size of the plant and preventing it from becoming overly bushy.

  • broomCleaning

    As needed

  • bambooSoil

    The Meadow Sweet 'Variegata' prefers moist, fertile, humus-rich soil with a pH ranging from neutral to slightly acidic. A well-draining soil mix that maintains moisture is ideal. Incorporate plenty of organic matter like compost or leaf mold to enhance the soil's fertility and structure.

  • plantRepotting

    Meadow Sweet 'Variegata' doesn't typically require frequent repotting and can thrive outdoors where it has room to spread. If grown in containers, repot every 2-3 years to refresh the soil and accommodate root growth.

  • water dropsHumidity & Misting

    Meadow Sweet 'Variegata' thrives in average to high humidity levels, mimicking its natural boggy habitat. It does not require any special humidity considerations when grown outside in its preferred conditions.

  • pinSuitable locations

    • Indoor

      Keep in partly shaded area, ensure moist soil and good air circulation.

    • Outdoor

      Plant in damp, fertile soil in partial shade; water regularly.

    • Hardiness zone

      3-8 USDA

  • circleLife cycle

    Meadowsweet 'Variegata' begins its life cycle as a seed, which, upon finding suitable moist soil conditions, will germinate usually in the spring. The seedling emerges and develops into a young plant with characteristic variegated foliage. As it matures, Meadowsweet 'Variegata' forms a clump with upright stems and deep green leaves with cream or yellow variegation. During early to mid-summer, the plant produces creamy white flowers in dense clusters with a strong, sweet fragrance, attracting various pollinators. After pollination, the flowers develop into small achenes, which are the plant's fruit, containing seeds for the next generation. In the fall, the plant dies back to the ground, with the root system remaining dormant through winter, ready to regenerate in the following spring.

  • sproutPropogation

    • Propogation time


    • The most popular method of propagating the Meadowsweet 'Variegata', the common name for Filipendula ulmaria 'Variegata', is by dividing the plant's root clump. This is optimally done in the spring or fall. To propagate by division, one should dig up the entire plant, making sure to keep a good amount of soil around the root ball. With a sharp spade or knife, the root ball is then sliced into smaller sections, ensuring that each section contains at least one growth bud. These divisions can be immediately replanted in prepared soil, spacing them about 24 inches (approximately 61 centimeters) apart, and watering them thoroughly to establish the new plants. This method allows the new plants to develop a strong root system and foliage quickly, which closely resembles the parent plant in variegation and vigor.