Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Russian Sage

Russian Sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia) is a low water perennial, native to central Asia. It is primarily planted because it flowers profusely from late spring until frost. It does well in both xeric and higher water landscapes. In fact, after establishment Russian Sage can grow without any supplemental watering although flower production and plant growth may be reduced. The photo below shows a Russian Sage that has not been watered in over 6 years. It receives only what rain Mother Nature provides and continues to flower and expand annually.

Russian Sage is not related to other commonly grown “sages” such as autumn (Cherry) Sage which are in the genus Salvia. Russian Sage grows with upright, whitish gray stems reaching 3’ – 4’ tall.

Russian Sage has an extensive root system and spreads by sending up suckers, growing out in all directions. Annually, it will become a larger shrub.  It has deeply lobed silvery-grey leaves.

The older stems are woody, and younger stems are soft or herbaceous. Like members of the mint family, stems are square in cross section. Russian Sage has a strong scent especially if stems or leaves are rubbed or bruised. Russian Sage produces abundant spires of small, tubular flowers of blue or lavender color. These spires sometimes reach 1’ -2’ in height. Flowers attract pollinators like honey bees all summer.

Russian Sage grows best in full sun, with low to regular water. It is also very heat and drought tolerant. Russian Sage is Hardy to USDA zone 4. Use Russian Sage in the Landscape as solitary plant clumps

or as a border, for example, between properties.

Maintain Russian Sage by cutting back last season’s growth to about 6" – 8" in late winter or early spring before new growth resumes.

Contact Trees That Please Nursery for more information and pricing.

Photos & Narrative By:
Stephen Sain
Staff Plant Physiologist

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