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How to Divide Russian Sage

By M.H. Dyer ; Updated September 21, 2017

Russian Sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia) is a sturdy, drought-tolerate plant with attractive silvery-gray foliage. In late summer, Russian sage will produce billowy clouds of tiny lavender flowers that bloom along the plant's long stems. Russian sage likes hot sunlight, but will also do fine in climates with cold, freezing winters. Although Russian sage prefers to be left alone and can be difficult to divide, successful division is often possible. Be patient, because Russian sage can be slow to establish roots. However, once established, Russian sage is a tough plant that will live in your garden for many years.

Divide Russian sage in the spring while the plants are still small. Choose a cool morning on an overcast day so the roots won't dry out quickly, and so the newly-divided plant will have time to establish in its new location.

Trim the clump of Russian sage with pruners or kitchen shears, leaving about 3 to 4 inches intact. Dig the clump of Russian sage with a shovel. If the clump of Russian sage is large, separate a smaller section with the edge of your shovel, and leave the remainder of the Russian sage plant in the ground.

Lift the clump of Russian sage from the ground, and shake the plant gently to remove excess soil. Divide the clump into smaller sections, teasing the roots apart carefully with your fingers. Each division should be large enough to have four or five shoots, and each shoot should have several healthy roots.

Dig a hole for each division, using a shovel or a trowel, and plant the newly-divided Russian sage in a sunny spot in your garden. Allow at least 18 inches between each plant.

Water the Russian sage immediately, and keep the soil evenly moist for the first season. After the first season, Russian sage tolerates drought and only needs to be watered occasionally during hot, dry weather. Don't water excessively, as too must moisture can cause the Russian sage to rot.

 

Things You Will Need

  • Pruners or kitchen shears
  • Shovel
  • Trowel

Tip

  • Russian sage divisions can also be planted into patio containers. Choose a container with a hole in the bottom, and fill the container with commercial potting soil. Plant the Russian sage in the container at the same soil level at which it was planted previously. Keep the soil damp for the first growing season, but don't overwater.

About the Author

 

M.H. Dyer began her writing career as a staff writer at a community newspaper and is now a full-time commercial writer. She writes about a variety of topics, with a focus on sustainable, pesticide- and herbicide-free gardening. She is an Oregon State University Master Gardener and Master Naturalist and holds a Master of Fine Arts in creative nonfiction writing.