Russian sage is a low-maintenance perennial shrub with a long bloom cycle. A Russian sage plant is best recognized by its beautiful lavender covered branches. Find facts and information on Russian sage and how to grow and care for sage plants.
Russian Sage Facts
You will find that this plant grows very well in Zones 3-9. It is often used in borders or in large containers. Russian sage reaches a height and width of up to 4 feet. The plant prefers full sun and moderately fertile soil, and a pH between 5.5-7.3. It is heat and drought tolerant making it an excellent plant for hot, dry areas.
The lavender flowers appear in summer into autumn. Its fragrant foliage is a silvery-green and is finely cut. Russian sage also attracts bees and butterflies. You can plant sage in borders, or in place of woody shrubs. If you use containers, make sure they are large enough for the sage to mature.
*Good companion plants for Russian sage plants include: ‘Kobold’ blazing star, purple coneflower, and ‘Snowbank’ white boltonia.
Care of Russian Sage Plants
Plant 24”-36” apart in spring or fall. Water only when the soil is dry 2-3” below the surface. You should apply mulch in the summer and winter. Plants are self-cleaning, so deadheading is not necessary.
Pruning Russian Sage: Plants may be rejuvenated by pruning. To rejuvenate, trim woody stems back almost to the ground once buds appear on the stems in spring. If left unpruned they look unkempt.
*Propagation may be done by layering.
How to Layer a Plant
Select a stem close to the ground, remove leaves to expose one or more nodes, and pin nodes directly to the soil. Cover the area with mulch. After roots form, cut the stem to separate if from the parent plant, leaving some top growth attached to new roots. New shoots that appear near the parent plant may be dug and transplanted. In spring, take cuttings from new growth. Cut pieces that contain at least two healthy leaves and three nodes. Dip exposed nodes into rooting hormone, shake off excess, and insert into moist growing medium, keeping leaves well above the soil level. Supply bottom heat and keep moist, not soggy, until root and top shoot growth is evident, usually in 2-3 weeks, then transplant. To enhance humidity, cover with plastic, keeping it above the leaves.
*Russian sage is relatively pest and disease free.
Related species includes:
Pervoskia atriplicifolia 'Little Spire' has violet-blue flowers and foliage that provides winter interest.
‘Blue Mist’, which flowers early, has light blue flowers.
‘Blue sprite’ bears finely cut leaves and lavender-blue flowers.