Plant ID forum→Does anyone know what this is?

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zone 5 - northern Illinois
May 17, 2018 10:54 AM CST
Just moved to a new home and we have this growing/not growing. Everything else is starting to bloom, but this guy isn't making much visible progress. There were two buds at the bottom, boyfriend pulled one off (see picture). Seems like it's dead. Branches break easily and no signs of green except the two now one bud. If this is normal, can I prune it? Not very pleasing to the eyes.
Thumb of 2018-05-17/ninabee/f5419d

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May 17, 2018 11:13 AM CST
Start snipping from the tips down bit by bit until you see green inside. If you get to the very bottom and they're all still dry, but you still want to give it a chance, dig it up and put it in container or in a suitable but out of the way corner. Or leave it where it is and put some annuals around it to make that spot look nice until it shows signs of improvement. Some plants will grow anew from the underground parts. There is obviously some life in it, perhaps it needs suitable pruning type care and a bit of time to get itself together.
Name: Celia
West Valley City, Utah (Zone 7a)
Irises Garden Photography I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Butterflies Birds
Cat Lover Enjoys or suffers cold winters Hummingbirder Plant Identifier
May 17, 2018 11:26 AM CST
Kind of, and I mean very vaguely, like Elderberry, Sambucus. The bud more than the plant.
Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
Daylilies Birds Enjoys or suffers cold winters Native Plants and Wildflowers Butterflies Annuals
Region: Canadian Keeps Horses Dog Lover Plant Identifier Garden Sages
May 17, 2018 11:47 AM CST
I think that may be Russian sage, Perovskia atriplicifolia. It always starts off in spring like that here. You can cut it down to about a foot in spring. It's actually a lovely plant but in cold climates it dies back almost to the base, regrows in spring, and blooms in summer.

Some pictures from the database:

Russian Sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia)
[Last edited by sooby - May 17, 2018 11:49 AM (+)]
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Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
Garden Sages Plant Identifier
May 17, 2018 11:52 AM CST
If the brown branches snap off easily, they are dead. Cut it down to the ground and be patient. It sounds to me like it was doing what its supposed to do (come up from the ground every year) before Boyfriend pulled off half the growth.

Don't dig it up unless you don't want it as that will finish it off. Plants that are from very cold areas do emerge late - its survival.

Edited to add: Yes, I think it might be Russian Sage also. The Russian Sage around here has not started to grow yet.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

President: Orchid Society of Northern Nevada
[Last edited by DaisyI - May 17, 2018 11:54 AM (+)]
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zone 5 - northern Illinois
May 24, 2018 10:18 AM CST
Thanks everyone for your help. Hoping it's Russian Sage. So pretty!
Salt Spring Island, BC (Zone 8b)
Dahlias Region: Pacific Northwest Cut Flowers Keeper of Poultry Region: Canadian Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
May 24, 2018 2:24 PM CST
I'll third Perovskia.
He who plants a garden plants happiness.

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