Russian Sage Maintenance

(Image: Santy Gibson/Demand Media)

Named Perennial Plant of the Year by the Perennial Plant Association in 1995, the Russian sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia) is a favorite among many gardeners. However, the plant is not native to Russia or a true member of the sage plant family. The plant is named after the Turkestani Governor, B.A. Perovski, of Orenburg, a Russian province. Russian sage has been around since the mid 1800s. Russian sage is one of the easiest plants to care for.

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About Russian Sage

Russian sage has silvery leaves and grows 4 to 5 feet tall. Spikes reaching up to 15 inches from the plant itself have multiple blue flowers up and down along the spikes. Russian sage gives a light and airy look to the garden as the flowers seems to float in the air. There are seven varieties of Russian sage. However, only one type, the atriplicifolia is available commercially.

(Image: Santy Gibson/Demand Media)


It is possible to start Russian sage from seed. Start seeds indoors at any time of the year. Keep room temperatures around 60 to 65 degrees. It will take up to four months for new plants to be visible as Russian sage is slow growing. Toughen the plant by taking outdoors in warm weather in the spring and bring back in at night. In late spring, when all danger of frost is gone, transplant the plant in the ground in a desirable area. Water only when the soil is dry. Russian sage does not tolerate wet conditions. Plant Russian sage plants directly into the ground as an alternative to seeds. Plant the small plants 18 inches apart in well-drained soil and in a sunny location. The plant bushes out, so it is important to plant them far enough apart to allow for a full-grown bush. The first year, water the plants regularly to establish a healthy root system. Beginning the second year, Russian sage tolerates drought conditions well.

(Image: Santy Gibson/Demand Media)

Miscellaneous Tips

Russian sage is virtually pest- and disease-free. Combined with the low maintenance, Russian sage is a good addition to garden. Due to the tallness of the bush, it is advisable to plant it in the back of a garden. This will keep the plant from overshadowing smaller plants. Blooms will continue to produce for up to 15 weeks, making it a favorite for summer blooming. Russian sage is an excellent complement to ornamental grasses, purple cone-flowers, brown eyed Susans and sedums. Leave the plant with the stems on in the winter. Cut the dead stems after new growth starts in the spring to approximately 1 foot. The will focus growth on the new growth and make the bush grow more bushy.

(Image: Santy Gibson/Demand Media)


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