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.