How to Landscape With Russian Sage

Overview

Russian sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia)) is a perennial plant with a woody base and aromatic, toothed gray-green leaves. The mature plant size varies depending on the variety, but generally the plants grow 2 to 4 feet tall. The small, five-petaled flowers are blue-purple and appear in great numbers at the top of the stalks. A member of the prolific mint family, Russian sage received the Perennial Plant Association's "Plant of the Year" award in 1995. The plants are good mixers and work well with other sun-loving plants.

Step 1

Plant Russian sage in a site that is away from large trees and receives at least six hours of sunlight per day. To landscape effectively with Russian sage, the plant or plants require full sun. Make sure that the spot you choose is not swampy or overly wet. If you plant the specimen in an established garden bed, choose a location in the middle or rear of the bed.

Step 2

Plant Russian sage in a mixed perennial bed or an herb garden. The effectiveness of single-variety perovskia plantings depends on the height of the variety chosen. The taller Russian sages tend to be gangly and untidy when planted in masses.. Cutting the plants back by a third after they bloom keeps things neater and encourages rebloom.

Step 3

Mix Russian sage into butterfly gardens, as, like all members of the mint family, it is attractive to butterflies. Unlike some other mints, it does not become invasive. Include other nectar-rich plants nearby, like butterfly bush (Buddleia) and members of the milkweed family (Aesclepias).

Step 4

Plant it in beds with spring bloomers (bulbs, peonies, etc.) and stars of the fall garden, like asters, for three seasons of bloom. Russian sage blooms on and off all summer and sometimes into the fall.

Things You'll Need

  • Spade
  • Watering can or hose
  • Compost (either homemade or purchased)
  • Mulch

References

  • Missouri Botanical Garden: Kemper Center for Home Gardening
  • "The Botanical Garden"; Roger Phillips and Martyn Rix, 2002
Keywords: Russian sage, perovskia, drought tolerant plants

About this Author

Elisabeth Ginsburg, a writer with twenty years' experience, earned an M.A. from Northwestern University and has done advanced study in horticulture at the New York Botanical Garden. Her work has been published in the "New York Times," "Christian Science Monitor," "Horticulture Magazine" and other national and regional publications.