How to Garden Russian Sage

Overview

Russian sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia), a perennial, semi-woody shrub native to central Asia, produces aromatic, silvery-gray leaves and wispy spikes of violet-blue flowers on square stems. The number of blooms and intensity of color increases as summer progresses, until the plant reaches its peak in early fall. Tolerant of drought and wind, Russian sage requires only minimal care to thrive in the home landscape. The plant provides interest in the garden throughout the year, as its upright form remains attractive even through the winter months. Hardy in U.S. Department of Agriculture hardiness zones 6 through 9, Russian sage shines in perennial borders and pairs well with ornamental grasses.

Step 1

Look for a suitable location. Plant Russian sage during early spring, as soon as the soil warms to a workable temperature. Choose a planting site that receives full sunlight throughout the day and consists of well-drained, rich soil. Spread a 1-inch layer of peat moss over the planting site and use a garden spade to incorporate it into the soil to improve drainage and fertility.

Step 2

Dig a small hole in the soil just large enough to house the plant's root system without crowding. Insert the roots into the hole, cover them with soil and water the plant to initiate growth. Space Russian sage plants 1 to 3 feet apart.

Step 3

Check the soil. Water Russian sage once every 7 to 10 days, just enough to keep the soil from drying out completely. Reduce watering frequency to once every 14 days in winter during the plant's dormant period. Soak the soil to a depth of about 3 inches at each watering.

Step 4

Fertilize your plants. Feed the plant once every month during spring and summer to encourage rapid growth. Use a balanced 10-10-10 NPK fertilizer to provide proper nutrition for root and foliage development. Water lightly before and after feeding to prevent root injury.

Step 5

Cut the plant back. During early spring, cut the Russian sage plant 6 to 8 inches from the ground to encourage fresh, new growth throughout the season. Remove any diseased or damaged growth at this time to improve the plant's health and appearance.

Things You'll Need

  • Peat moss
  • Garden spade
  • Fertilizer

References

  • University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture: Russian Sage
  • Colorado State University Extension: Russian Sage
  • Fine Gardening: Perovskia Atriplicifolia (Russian Sage)
  • "Indiana Gardener's Guide"; Jo Ellen Meyers Sharp, Tom Tyler; 2004

Who Can Help

  • The United States National Arboretum: USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map
Keywords: garden Russian sage, Russian sage care, grow Perovskia atriplicifolia

About this Author

Willow Sidhe is a freelance writer living in the beautiful Hot Springs, AR. She is a certified aromatherapist with a background in herbalism. She has extensive experience gardening, with a specialty in indoor plants and herbs. Sidhe's work has been published on numerous Web sites, including Gardenguides.com.