If you are looking for an easy-care, showy perennial that thrives in even the poorest of soil, look no further than the Russian sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia). This woody shrub-like plant is a member of the mint family. Tiny, violet-blue flowers cover silvery branches that create an airy look in the garden. Russian sage can grow from 3 to 5 feet tall and 3 feet wide. It is hardy in USDA zones 5 to 9 and grows best in full sun. It's also easy to propagate Russian sage so you can plant it elsewhere in your garden.
Planting and Care
Select a site with full sun for the Russian sage.
Dig a hole to accommodate your Russian sage and place it in the hole, making sure to spread the roots out a bit. Backfill with soil, compact it and water thoroughly.
Space plants at least 3 feet apart if you are planting in groups.
Cut back the stems to about 12 inches in the fall or early spring to encourage a bushier appearance.
Water Russian sage during times of extreme heat or drought. While it's a drought-tolerant plant, it may need supplemental water.
Propagating Russian Sage
Take cuttings in early summer for propagation by cutting a stem about 4 to 6 inches long, right below a leaf node. Remove leaves from the bottom 2 inches of the cutting.
Dip your cutting into rooting hormone at the cut end. Place the stem into a pot filled with potting soil and compact the soil gently. Water well.
Cover the pot with a plastic bag to retain moisture. To keep the plastic away from the cutting, place sticks into the soil. Place the pot in a sunny location.
Water regularly, but don't let the soil become waterlogged. Move plants into the garden after a few weeks, when new roots have formed.
About this Author
Sonia Acone is a full-time freelance writer in northeast Pennsylvania. She has been published by The Wild Rose Press and is currently writing children's picture books, as well as online content. Acone writes articles for eHow and GardenGuides.com. She has been freelance writing since 2008. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and professional writing from Elizabethtown College.