General Plant Information (Edit)
Plant Habit: Shrub
Life cycle: Perennial
Sun Requirements: Full Sun
Water Preferences: Mesic
Dry Mesic
Dry
Plant Height: 2-4 feet
Plant Spread: 2-4 feet
Leaves: Unusual foliage color
Deciduous
Fragrant
Other: Grayish
Flowers: Showy
Fragrant
Flower Color: Blue
Lavender
Flower Time: Summer
Late summer or early fall
Fall
Late fall or early winter
Suitable Locations: Xeriscapic
Uses: Windbreak or Hedge
Culinary Herb
Cut Flower
Wildlife Attractant: Bees
Butterflies
Hummingbirds
Resistances: Deer Resistant
Rabbit Resistant
Drought tolerant
Salt tolerant
Containers: Not suitable for containers
Miscellaneous: Tolerates poor soil
Awards and Recognitions: Other: 1995 Perennial Plant of the Year; 2005 Great Plant Picks Award Winner

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Common names
  • Russian Sage
  • Afghan Lavender
Botanical names
  • Accepted: Perovskia atriplicifolia
  • Synonym: Salvia yangii

This plant is tagged in:
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Comments:
  • Posted by SongofJoy (Clarksville, TN - Zone 6b) on Jan 15, 2012 5:43 AM concerning plant:
    Russian Sage, the Perennial Plant Association's 1995 Perennial of the Year, is a semi-woody perennial that provides color, fragrance, and texture all summer. Plants grow to 4 feet and are covered with very pungent (when bruised) gray-green leaves. Flowering starts in mid to late summer and persists on into fall. The flowers themselves are small, tubular, and purple, but the effect is of a powdery purple airy haze. Full sun and good drainage are keys to survival. Wet feet during the winter not appreciated. These plants also benefit from a late spring pruning, down to several pairs of buds.
  • Posted by Skiekitty (Denver Metro - Zone 5a) on Apr 14, 2014 11:21 AM concerning plant:
    XXX Xeric plant. Sends down a taproot to halfway through the planet it seems. Do not try to dig up a large specimen as the root is VERY, VERY, VERY long and you will NOT get to the end of it. Seems to tolerate transplanting, though. Blooms for a VERY long time (weeks). Tolerates terrible soil. However, gets HUGE. Scent will rub off on your clothes. Kind of messy when the flowers fall off.
  • Posted by Marilyn (Kentucky - Zone 6a) on Jan 16, 2013 1:48 AM concerning plant:
    I used to grow this variety of Russian Sage. It was a gorgeous plant! It had a wonderful scent, which I loved! The color was beautiful too! I keep thinking about growing this one again, as it's a stunning plant in the garden!
  • Posted by Jenn (Trenton, TX - Zone 8a) on Dec 3, 2011 7:20 PM concerning plant:
    Easy to establish. Drought tolerant sun lover. They give off a nice fragrance and attract pollinators. They grow quite tall, and will spread out, so give them room in the back of the bed!
  • Posted by Marilyn (Kentucky - Zone 6a) on Apr 28, 2013 11:27 PM concerning plant:
    Taken from wikipedia's page at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/P...

    "Russian sage grows on upright, grayish white stems that are 39.6 to 51.6 inches tall, with lobed, deeply notched silvery-grey leaves that are approximately 2.0 inches by .2 inch wide. Older stems are woody at the base, and younger stems are herbaceous and square in cross section. The stems and leaves give off a pungent odor when crushed or bruised. In late summer and autumn, Russian sage produces spires of small, tubular flowers of blue or lavender colour.

    It requires full sun, but is hardy and cold tolerant. It is also tolerant of dry, chalky soils with a high pH, salt tolerant and drought tolerant."
  • Posted by SCButtercup (Simpsonville SC - Zone 7b) on Aug 27, 2014 4:37 AM concerning plant:
    Put this plant near walkways so passersby will brush up against it and activate the beautiful sage scent. Also, if it gets floppy mid season, cut it down by half or more and it will bounce back with fresh growth and may even rebloom. Very tough plant. If you see one languishing in the marked-down or free rack, go ahead and buy it, plant it in the ground, cut back the dead foliage, and watch it bounce back.
  • Posted by Trish (Jacksonville, TX - Zone 8a) on Apr 27, 2022 7:12 AM concerning plant:
    You can grow it just about anywhere in the United States, so it's available in garden centers or from mail-order nurseries nationwide.

    Perovskia was named by the Russian botanist Karelin about 1840 to honor a Turkestani statesman, B.A. Perovski. He was governor of Orenburg, a Russian city 1,500 miles northwest of the plant's native region. These are its only links to Russia. The species is native to the steppes of Afghanistan, so might more accurately be known as Afghan sage. The plant is called sage for its relation to the culinary sages. A member of the mint family, it shares the squared stems and aromatic qualities of its cousins.

    Woody stems are silver and leaves are grayish, 1 inch long and slightly toothed. Height is nearly 4 feet. Flowers are small, light blue to lavender, and arranged in whorls along the stem. Flowering spikes are 12 inches long or more.

    Depending upon your climate, flowering begins in late spring or midsummer. Perovskia often continues to bloom through September and until a hard frost.

    Russian sage is one of the most heat and drought-resistant perennials available. Cold hardy to nearly -40 °F, it grows in USDA hardiness zones 3 through 10.

    Mike Heger of Ambergate Gardens, Waconia, Minnesota (zone 4), treats Russian sage like an herbaceous perennial that dies back in winter. I live in central Pennsylvania (zone 5) and my plants die back to the ground, too. In zones 9 and 10, Russian sage grows well but is more like an annual or biennial. Plants usually die within two years, but might reappear from seedlings or root suckers, according to Randy Baldwin, San Marcos Growers, Santa Barbara, California (zone 10). He adds that supplemental summer water seems to enhance longevity.

    Perovskia loves heat, so generally performs best in areas with warm summers, even if humidity is high. Some shade is okay, but too much makes plants sprawl. Soil should be neutral to alkaline. Poor drainage, especially in winter, is deadly.

    There are seven species of Russian sage, but only a few are available. Perovskia atriplicifolia is most common. The one currently sold in the U.S., however, is likely a hybrid between P. atriplicifolia and P. abrotanoides and is nearly identical with the variety 'Blue Spire'. The first to flower in spring is 'Blue Mist', which, along with 'Blue Haze', has lighter blue flowers than the species. 'Blue Spire' has deep purple flowers and larger panicles. Lavender-blue 'Longin' has stiff upright stems and a more formal appearance than the species. 'Filigrin' is a compact variety with deeply cut foliage and bright blue flowers.

    Modest amounts of supplemental water are necessary in hot and dry climates. Cut old stems back to the ground once a year in spring before new growth begins. In coldest climates, leave stems standing in winter to trap snow for a deeper mulch.

    Perovskia's open growth and light blue flowers combine nicely with many other plants. Use it for a large-scale ground cover, as a filler in borders and to separate more dominant colors. One striking companion is white-flowered phlox. Perovskia also combines well with coreopsis, English lavender, and gloriosa daisy.

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