The Q&A Archives: Russian Sage and Stem Blight

Question: I have had dwarf russian sage in my perrenial bed for years. No troubles til this year. It has grown about 3 to 5 inches and then new growth wilts and dries up. Woody stems seem firmly in the ground which may rule out any underground troubles. I do have some voles in the yard, but see no troubles with any other plants in the garden. Can you shed any light on whether it may have stem blight?

Answer: Russian sage is generally disease free so I'd look first to the growing conditions; average but well draining soil and lots of sun. Soggy soil, rich soil, or not enough sunshine can cause weak growth; too much nitrogen will cause lots of excessively weak stems. Since it's early in the season, why not cut the spindly stems back to healthy wood and let your plant start all over again with brand new growth?

Best wishes with your garden!

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