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How to Transplant Russian Sage

By Kelly Shetsky ; Updated September 21, 2017

Russian sage is a member of the mint family. The deciduous subshrub has silvery-gray leaves that give off a pungent smell when they are bruised of crushed, Late in the growing season, the plant grows spires of small, tube-shaped lavender flowers. The flowers bloom for two or three months before falling off. Russian sage can tolerate drought better than it can deal with wet conditions. It grows best in USDA Hardiness Zones 6 to 8 but can also survive in Zones 5 and 9.

Russian sage grows in a spreading form, which makes division and transplantation sometimes necessary. Transplant it in the spring, just as growth is about to begin.

Cut back Russian sage plants in the spring to create a less floppy, more compact plant. Use the shears to cut them down to a height of about 6 inches tall.

Dig around the base of the plant, far enough away from the plant to allow room for the roots. Dig cautiously and if you see roots, pull the shovel out and move it further away from the plant.

Gently work the plant loose from the ground, preserving the roots. Shake the plant out to get rid of as much soil as possible.

Divide the Russian sage by pulling the roots apart gently. The plant's roots are usually very intertwined, so spend time untangling them. Divide the plant into two or three.

Soak the root ball in a container full of water to keep them moist during the transplantation process.

Choose a new planting location that is in the full sun. This is where Russian sage grows best. Dig a hole that is as wide and deep as the transplant's root mass. Space holes 18 inches apart if you're planting more than one.

Set the Russian sage in the center of the hole, so that the plant is as deep as it was before you dug it up. You should be able to see a soil line on the plant, just above the roots.

Shovel soil around the roots and tamp it down to remove air pockets. Add a 1- to 2-inch layer of mulch around the base of the plant. Water thoroughly.


Things You Will Need

  • Gloves
  • Pruning shears
  • Shovel
  • Water
  • Container
  • Mulch (straw or grass clippings)


  • Wear gloves as protection when you transplant a Russian sage.


  • Do not plant Russian sage in heavy clay, wet soil. It can cause root rot.

About the Author


Based in New York State, Kelly Shetsky started writing in 1999. She is a broadcast journalist-turned Director of Marketing and Public Relations and has experience researching, writing, producing and reporting. She writes for several websites, specializing in gardening, medical, health and fitness, entertainment and travel. Shetsky has a Bachelor of Arts in communications from Marist College.