Plants A to Z

How To Plant Russian Sage

Russian sage, also known as Perovskia, is a late-blooming perennial in a blue cloud. It transitions from a misty, pastel blue to bright azure. As the long panicles of flowers emerge, their colors become more vibrant. Russian sage is a woody understory plant. Although its branches are woody, like a shrub, the plant's top portion may die back in harsh winters. Russian sage is frequently classified as a perennial plant because it blooms on new wood.

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Plant Introduction

Perovskia atriplicifolia is a botanical name of Russian sage.

  • Foliage: Russian sage grows as a clump of several stemmed plants. Finely cut gray-green leaves with a little smell make up the foliage.
  • Flowers: Long, thin flower panicles grow at the end of each stalk. It looks like a lavender-blue haze when completely bloomed.
  • Zones of Hardiness: Russian sage is hardy in USDA Hardiness Zones 4 through 9. Plants in Zone 4 may require some winter protection, but new growth should emerge in the spring as long as the roots survive.
  • Russian Sage at Mature Size: Some Perovskia types have a weeping appearance. They'll grow tall at first, then sag under the weight of the blossoms. Newer hybrids are more stable and stay erect. The majority will mature to 4 ft. (H) x 3 ft (W).
  • Exposure to the Sun: To blossom successfully, Russian sage requires full sun. It can endure dry, hot environments well once planted because it is drought tolerant.
  • It's Bloom Time: Russian sage plants blossom slowly at first, with only a hint of their full color. The process usually begins in July and lasts until the end of August. The blossoms begin modestly, then brighten as they unfold, before eventually fading away.

Growing Instructions for Russian Sage

Russian sage can be grown from seed, although patience is required. It can take up to four months for seeds to germinate. In the interim, you'll need to keep the seeds moist and warm at all times. It may take several years for them to become large enough to blossom once they have germinated. However, it is a possibility and a fantastic method to purchase a lot of inexpensive plants.

The most common way to grow Russian sage is from container plants. During the growth season, these can be planted at any time. If you're planting more than one, make sure each has at least 2 - 3 feet of space between them. They will swiftly occupy the available area.

These plants can grow quickly. They can withstand poor soil, drought, and a wide range of pH levels in the ground. Although Russian sage is drought tolerant, new transplants will need to be watered often for the first several months after planting.

Care for Russian Sage

Pruning is an essential aspect of Russian sage care. Flowers appear on new wood, which is branches that have grown during the current season. Deadheading may result in a second flush of bloom in warmer climates.

Leave the flower heads for winter interest if you don't want to use them. Russian sage plants should be pruned back to around 6-8 inches in the spring in all climates. This should be done immediately as the lower leaf buds begin to open before new growth begins in earnest.

Many Russian sage varieties tend to cry. Choose a cultivar that has been bred to grow erect if you want a more upright plant. To keep the weeping side from flopping, use a pea brush or something similar.

The plants might begin to spread by runners once they have established themselves (in the mint family). If you don't remove the young plants, roots, and all, they can grow rather aggressively as soon as possible. These offshoots are difficult to transfer.

Plants should be divided every 4 to 6 years to keep them healthy and reduce their capacity to spread. Older plants have a hard time dividing.

Garden Design with Russian Sage

This plant is light and airy, and it forms an excellent specimen. The lavender-blue color contrasts beautifully with whites, yellows, and other gray-leaved plants.

Russian Varieties Suggestions

  • Perovskia "Filagran"': the leaves are delicate and very beautifully cut.
  • Perovskia "Login": a plant that is narrower and more erect than Perovskia atriplicifolia.
  • Perovskia "Little Spire" is a dwarf cultivar that only reaches a height of around 2 feet.
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Elissa Sanci
Elissa Sanci
Elissa Sanci, the owner of the website, and senior writer of New York Garden; graduated from Santa Barbara City College – a famous public school in California with many diverse training professions, and she majored in horticulture.