why is my rue plant dying

Why is My Rue Plant Dying? (Here’s Why & How to Fix It!)

Common rue or Herb of grace is a species of Ruta that is grown for ornamental purposes. It is a herb plant that has great medicinal value.

Rue is used for treating arthritis, dislocations, sprains, injuries of the bone, earaches, toothaches, warts, etc. It is a must-have in any garden.

Rue can be grown effortlessly but sometimes it does run into issues. Many people ask me why their Rue is dying, so I decided to write a blog post to help people.

Why is my Rue plant dying?

Rue plant is hardy, no insect pest could harm the plant. The only disease that might harm the Rue plant is root rot. Root rot is caused by waterlogged conditions and can actually kill the plant if not attended to.

Why is my Rue plant turning yellow?

Do you see yellow leaves on your Rue plant? This happens in two cases, both related to improper watering issues.


Overwatering creates waterlogged conditions. No plant likes to sit in waterlogged soils. Waterlogged soils hamper oxygen and nutrient intake.

Waterlogged conditions also lead to root rot. Root rot is a fungal disease that rots the roots and makes them black in color.

As a result, the roots will no longer be able to absorb nutrients or water. If you leave such a plant unattended for a long time, the plant dies.

Root rot causes soft and limp leaves which eventually become yellow in color. If you see pooling water under your plant, you can confirm it’s overwatering.

Tip: If you see a lot of insects near the plant, it is overwatered and not underwatered.

Leaves eventually become brown. You can check the browned leaves, they feel soft and limp in case of overwatering.

What to do?

As soon as you see the symptoms act quickly as you don’t want your plant to get weaker. Stop watering the plant for a few days.

You don’t want to further deteriorate the situation by watering the plant more. Is the soil clogged?

Make sure the soil is draining excess water well. This might be a reason too. You want excess water to drain away to prevent waterlogged conditions.

For a Rue plant that is grown in a pot, make sure the pot has draining holes and they are working well. If needed, add extra draining holes.

If the plant is grown in soil and you suspect the soil isn’t draining well, add organic compost to the soil to loosen it up a bit.

Treat Root Rot

If the situation is severe, uproot the plant and wash its roots under running water. Wash away as much soil as possible.

Try to wash away infected roots too while still being gentle with the plant. Use a sterilized pair of shears/scissors to cut off the remaining infected roots.


Underwatering causes yellow leaves too. So, you need to be able to distinguish one situation from the other to treat the plant appropriately.

Underwatered plants’ leaves become limp but they become crispy with a slight curl. Eventually leaves become yellow in color.

You can also check the soil with your fingers. If the soil feels dry to touch and is dry to several inches below the surface, the plant is underwatered.

These symptoms are also seen when the pot is too small for the plant and can’t hold enough water to support the plant.


Check the soil with your bare fingers and water when the top 2-3 inches of the soil is dry. This is the best way to water efficiently.

Do not ever let the soil go dry. Remember that the amount of water your plant needs changes according to the season.

To treat underwatered plants

If you confirm your plant is underwatered, water the plant thoroughly. If excess heat is leading to loss of moisture from the soil, you may want to add a layer of organic mulch.

Make sure the rootball is able to absorb sufficient moisture. If you suspect it is not able to absorb enough water, soak the root ball for 15-20 minutes in water.

How often to water the Rue plant?

Your Rue needs watering every two to three weeks. Water the plant thoroughly when you do. A good rule of thumb is to check the soil with fingers.

If the soil is dry, water it. This is a good test to prevent running into underwatering and overwatering issues.

Remember Rue plant is drought tolerant. So, it is better to underwater the plant than overwater as root rot is the most common disease in Rue.


Not many pests/diseases affect the Rue plant. Root rot is probably the only issue Rue plant faces. Root rot arises due to poor care.

So, it is completely in your hands. Watering less frequently works in Rue’s case as it is a hardy, drought-tolerant plant.

Respond to the symptoms quickly and fix the problem. Your Rue should be fine.

Happy Gardening 🙂