Russian Sage
Perovskia atriplicifolia

Family: Lamiaceae (lay-mee-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Perovskia (per-OFF-skee-a) (Info)
Species: atriplicifolia (at-ry-pliss-ih-FOH-lee-uh) (Info)
View this plant in a garden

Category:

Perennials

Height:

24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

Spacing:

24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

Hardiness:

USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)

USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)

USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)

USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)

USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)

USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)

USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)

USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)

USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)

USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun

Danger:

Handling plant may cause skin irritation or allergic reaction

Bloom Color:

Blue-Violet

Bloom Time:

Late Spring/Early Summer

Mid Summer

Late Summer/Early Fall

Mid Fall

Foliage:

Silver/Gray

Blue-Green

Aromatic

Other details:

Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Soil pH requirements:

5.1 to 5.5 (strongly acidic)

5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

Patent Information:

Non-patented

Propagation Methods:

From woody stem cuttings

From softwood cuttings

From semi-hardwood cuttings

From hardwood cuttings

Seed Collecting:

Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds

Regional

This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

, (4 reports)

Union Grove, Alabama

Flagstaff, Arizona

Green Valley, Arizona

Prescott, Arizona

Bigelow, Arkansas

Bakersfield, California

Bucks Lake, California

Clayton, California

Elk Grove, California

Fairfield, California

Hanford, California

Jacumba, California

Martinez, California

Menifee, California

Merced, California

Palm Springs, California

Perris, California

Stockton, California

Brighton, Colorado

Denver, Colorado (2 reports)

Englewood, Colorado

Fort Collins, Colorado

Broad Brook, Connecticut

Monroe, Connecticut

Old Lyme, Connecticut

Wilton, Connecticut

Alford, Florida

Brooksville, Florida

Deltona, Florida

Keystone Heights, Florida

North Port, Florida

Pensacola, Florida

Riverview, Florida

Summerfield, Florida

Wauchula, Florida

Athens, Georgia

Cordele, Georgia

Boise, Idaho

Priest River, Idaho

Cherry Valley, Illinois

Downers Grove, Illinois

Lake In The Hills, Illinois

Mapleton, Illinois

Mount Prospect, Illinois

Niles, Illinois

North Aurora, Illinois

Oak Lawn, Illinois

Pekin, Illinois

Round Lake, Illinois

Connersville, Indiana

Evansville, Indiana

Fishers, Indiana

Indianapolis, Indiana

Jeffersonville, Indiana

Logansport, Indiana

Bloomfield, Iowa

Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Davenport, Iowa

Des Moines, Iowa

Indianola, Iowa

Tipton, Iowa

Woden, Iowa

Barnard, Kansas

Olathe, Kansas

Shawnee Mission, Kansas

Ewing, Kentucky

Hanson, Kentucky

Hebron, Kentucky

Salvisa, Kentucky

Bossier City, Louisiana

Greenwell Springs, Louisiana

Hammond, Louisiana

Lutcher, Louisiana

Vacherie, Louisiana

Auburn, Maine

Dover Foxcroft, Maine

Litchfield, Maine

Portland, Maine

Brookeville, Maryland

Cumberland, Maryland

Easton, Maryland

Frostburg, Maryland

Harwood, Maryland

Mount Airy, Maryland

Oxon Hill, Maryland

Towson, Maryland

Valley Lee, Maryland

Belmont, Massachusetts

Billerica, Massachusetts

Boston, Massachusetts

Dracut, Massachusetts

Franklin, Massachusetts

Northfield, Massachusetts

Saugus, Massachusetts

Uxbridge, Massachusetts

Wayland, Massachusetts

Ann Arbor, Michigan (2 reports)

Commerce Township, Michigan

Ferndale, Michigan

Mason, Michigan

Pinconning, Michigan

Redford, Michigan

Traverse City, Michigan

Webberville, Michigan

Baxter, Minnesota

Hopkins, Minnesota

Morris, Minnesota

Saint Paul, Minnesota

Florence, Mississippi

Wright City, Missouri

Osmond, Nebraska

Plattsmouth, Nebraska

Manchester, New Hampshire

Jamesburg, New Jersey

Neptune, New Jersey

Sparta, New Jersey

Albuquerque, New Mexico (2 reports)

Elephant Butte, New Mexico

Farmington, New Mexico

Mesilla Park, New Mexico

Roswell, New Mexico

Berkshire, New York

Binghamton, New York

East Rochester, New York

Himrod, New York

Jefferson, New York

Jordan, New York

Middle Grove, New York

Middletown, New York

Mount Vision, New York

Ozone Park, New York

Poughkeepsie, New York

Southold, New York

Yonkers, New York

Candler, North Carolina

Concord, North Carolina

Cornelius, North Carolina

Elizabeth City, North Carolina

Julian, North Carolina

Maggie Valley, North Carolina

Sanford, North Carolina

Wilmington, North Carolina (2 reports)

Winston Salem, North Carolina

Ashville, Ohio

Columbus, Ohio

Dayton, Ohio

Mogadore, Ohio

Newark, Ohio

Uniontown, Ohio

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Baker City, Oregon

Bend, Oregon

Chiloquin, Oregon

Dayton, Oregon

Halfway, Oregon

Portland, Oregon

Salem, Oregon (2 reports)

Brookhaven, Pennsylvania

Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

Johnsonburg, Pennsylvania

Mifflintown, Pennsylvania

Milford, Pennsylvania

Mountain Top, Pennsylvania

Norristown, Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Philipsburg, Pennsylvania

Schwenksville, Pennsylvania

Shamokin Dam, Pennsylvania

Willow Grove, Pennsylvania

North Augusta, South Carolina

Summerville, South Carolina

Knoxville, Tennessee

Lenoir City, Tennessee

Murfreesboro, Tennessee

Abilene, Texas

Austin, Texas (3 reports)

Belton, Texas

Canyon Lake, Texas

Cibolo, Texas

Desoto, Texas

Fort Worth, Texas

Grand Prairie, Texas

Houston, Texas

Hurst, Texas

Irving, Texas

Lubbock, Texas

New Braunfels, Texas

Portland, Texas

San Antonio, Texas (3 reports)

Terrell, Texas

Tyler, Texas

Farmington, Utah

Herriman, Utah

Magna, Utah

Moab, Utah

Tremonton, Utah

Essex Junction, Vermont

Lexington, Virginia

Mc Lean, Virginia

Newport News, Virginia

Palmyra, Virginia

Blaine, Washington

Bothell, Washington

East Port Orchard, Washington

Gig Harbor, Washington

Kalama, Washington

Olympia, Washington

Port Angeles, Washington

Port Townsend, Washington

Seattle, Washington (2 reports)

Spokane, Washington (2 reports)

Stanwood, Washington

Charleston, West Virginia

Huntington, West Virginia

Morgantown, West Virginia

Ripley, West Virginia

Birchwood, Wisconsin

Menasha, Wisconsin

Milwaukee, Wisconsin (2 reports)

Cody, Wyoming

Riverton, Wyoming

show all

Gardeners' Notes:

26
positives
5
neutrals
3
negatives
RatingContent
Negative

On Apr 17, 2015, dduff from Fort Collins, CO (Zone 5b) wrote:

The straight species is over-planted and 'Filigran' has more attractive foliage, is less likely to flop, and has longer lasting, more attractive blooms. Select it instead.

Positive

On Apr 17, 2015, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

Tough, easy, and adaptable. Requires full sun. Blooms here in late summer into fall, never in spring.

Highly tolerant of salt and alkaline pH soil (as well as neutral and acid pH).

I have never seen this spread by suckering. It's always stayed in a neat clump here (Boston Z6a). On rare occasions, I've seen a seedling or two, but it's never done much self-sowing here.

My only quarrel with this plant is its disinclination to stand upright. Always needs staking in ordinary garden soils. I know it prefers lean soils kept on the dry side, and that may help it stand erect.

This is really a cutback shrub like a butterfly bush, not a perennial. It needs to be cut back to 6" or so in the spring. I wait till the buds have broken before spr... read more

Negative

On Apr 16, 2015, marlene67 from Indianapolis, IN wrote:

Although this is a lovely plant and I would like very much to grow it more, it is very hard on me as it provokes a bad allergic reaction. Just made the difficult choice not to move it to what would have been a good location.

Positive

On Aug 25, 2011, marymary22 from Bothell, WA wrote:

I got a Russian Sage this spring from a online nursery, it died and I contacted the nursery I got it from and they sent me a new one. I wasn't sure how this one was going to take so I put it in a ceramic pot on my patio and let it grow. The garden I am going to put it in was not ready until now, I need to know if I can transplant it into that garden area this fall or if I need to winter it over in the pot and plant in the spring? I lost 8 lavender plants and 2 rosemarie plants last year due to a very cold winter, I don't want to lose this plant as I love it! Right now it is in full bloom on my patio, very beautiful!! Can I transplant it early fall? Here in the Northwest we usually have mild falls and winter doesn't start until December or January and this year our summer has been ver... read more

Positive

On Mar 21, 2011, SerenaSYH from Overland Park-Kansas City, KS wrote:

I am absolutely crazy about Russian sage. For me in Kansas City, it bloomed in mid-July almost through the entire month of November until the first snows finally made it stop! I tried so hard to grow all kinds of honeybee-friendly perennials with absolutely no luck! I had all kinds of sage, lavender, catmint-nepata, verbena, agastache, bee balm, you name it, I tried to buy it.I spent tons of money and got sooo disappointed. I even have a Linden tree in my backyard and not a single honeybee would visit. Then in June 2010 I bought two Russian sage and as soon as the first blooms opened, it brought tons and tons of honeybees. I had just two plants and the honeybees would constantly swarm them! This Spring 2011, I have already started to dig up all of my non-herb perennials, and these will al... read more

Negative

On Aug 24, 2010, Augustifolia from Frostburg, MD wrote:

My Perovskia has totally taken over the bed in which I planted it 18 years ago. I live in Zone 5 to 4 and get a lot of wind, snow, and really cold temperatures. Nothing seems to stop its progress. I have dug up one plant with much difficulty because the roots are very deep. A second plant close to the foundation is a little more controlled but is still suckering throughout the flower bed. The largest plant is impossible! I have cut the plant back within inches of the soil and it seems even happier and more invasive. It is planted in clay soil that receives only rain water and gets full sun the entire day. I discovered that the only way to remove the suckers is with a shovel and that I have to keep digging all the way back to the plant. I am tempted to totally remove the plant by u... read more

Positive

On Aug 23, 2010, goodc from Barnard, KS wrote:

I love this plant but have found I apparently have two different types. One has much prettier, heavier blooms than the other types. I have dug up runners to give to friends, but also propagated some by cuttings. In the middle of Kansas, it blooms from mid July to last of August.

Positive

On Jul 1, 2010, themikeman from Concord, NC (Zone 7a) wrote:

beautiful, hardy, nice smelling plant..ive had mine only 2 years and they would have been 2 or 3 times the size they are this year if I hadnt cut them back early this spring thinking i was helping them by cutting brittle dead stalks off..i didnt realize the brittle dead appering old stalks rejuvanate and send out new shoots the whole length up the old ones..so for the love of god!! pleaze!! nobody cut these back in the late fall, winter, or early spring!! just leave them alone and they will thrive!! give them fertilizer but keep your fingers off them..LOL..mike.

Positive

On Apr 6, 2010, flying_squirrel from Priest River, ID (Zone 5b) wrote:

I love this plant for it's beautiful and delicate look even though it is a tough plant for difficult conditions. I have it planted on a south facing slope where it thrives in the hot sun and dry clay soil. In the northern Idaho mountain valley here it survives the cold winters and the rather dry summers. Planted with other drought tolerant plants such as agastache, penstemon, kashmir sage and coreoposis, it provides a stunning display that requires little care. And the deer leave it alone(and that is a big plus). I have a few self seeded plants appear also which I appreciate.

Positive

On Oct 16, 2009, purplesun from Krapets
Bulgaria (Zone 8a) wrote:

This is a fantastic plant. It produces small, intensely blue flowers that combine to produce an effect of a delicate, translucent sky-blue mass. Everyone keeps asking what it is, and bees can't seem to get enough of it.
It smells of camphor when bruised and sends root suckers that can be given away to eager friends. Truly a wonderful shrub. It loves dry heat and intense sunshine and doesn't mind alkaline soils.

Neutral

On Sep 18, 2009, ZSERAI from Sun City, AZ wrote:

I live near Phoenix, Az and visited SLC, Utah this summer and b ecome completely enthralled w/the Russian Sage. I've checked several ordering sites that show Zone 9 for growing. Unfortunately I've lost other plants that just don't seem to take our intense summer heat. Does anyone know if it will grow here in Phoenix? Please help!!!!!

Neutral

On May 13, 2009, anelson77 from Seattle, WA wrote:

i love this plant in other people's gardens. I have about 6 of them, but am frustrated that none look all that great. They just haven't grown much. Some were planted in full sun, very poor sandy soil, 4 years ago. Others in part sun, good soil, 2 years ago. I've tried various amounts of water and neglect.

Positive

On Apr 15, 2009, zak1962 from Pittsburgh, PA wrote:

I have five (5) of these in front of the retaining wall that holds up my city yard. (See picture to the right) They flower continuously from late June through the end of the season.

They do have a tendency to fall into my sidewalk mid-season... I like to think of it as dog control, as most dog walkers switch to the other side of the street because of this and the bees, which are inevitably attracted to this plant.

Last year I had a lot of volunteer seedlings come up. I waited until they got about 8 inches high and then dug several up to share with friends and family. The rest I disposed of. Today I noticed it coming up everywhere in the area... around the existing plants, in the cracks of the sidewalk and in the Ajuga bed that is my tree lawn across the... read more

Positive

On Aug 28, 2008, Jodaen from McLean, VA wrote:

I have had this plant at the top of my herb garden for 8 years. It stands about 5' tall & 6' across and is in constant bloom from late spring through frost. It's the tallest plant in the garden but also has no problem with draping beautifully down the wall. The crown has gotten wider over the years but I have never had a problem with it invading into its neighbors' territory nor with shoots or seedlings in the yard. Mine is not very easy to propagate by softwood cuttings, maybe 4 in 20 take root each year, but each one is a treasure as all of my friends & family want a scion. New spring branchlets tend to propagate best.

Positive

On Jul 28, 2008, thejps from Sparta, NJ wrote:

We have an extremely high level of deer activity in our yard, and in two years they haven't so much as nibbled! Yay!!!!

Positive

On May 13, 2008, angele wrote:

I love this plant that is beginning its third year in my garden. Gave it a hard pruning in early spring and now on May 13 there are many flower buds forming. I can't believe how long and abundantly blooming this pretty plant is.

Positive

On Sep 1, 2007, thesagewizard from Tipton, IA (Zone 5a) wrote:

I love this plant. It's now 5 yrs old and doing wonderfully. Winters here can get to -30F a few days every year but R.Sage has come back bigger each summer. It blooms here from late July to hard frost. I'll be trying to separate some offshoots next spring, or seed. Whichever works best.

Positive

On Aug 24, 2007, queenofthegarde from Whittier, CA wrote:

This plant is lovely! I have had it at the foot of a pink-white bi-color crape myrtle and they look beautiful together. I have not found it to be invasive after 4 years. Perhaps conditions aren't ideal for its spreading. Unlike others, I have not noticed hummers near it. It grows and blooms with almost no water. Its soil is particularly sandy, an unusual soil type in my yard. I am going to try my hand at progating it!

Positive

On Jun 4, 2007, akcrafter from Philadelphia, PA wrote:

My Russian sage tumbles over the edge of a stone fence in a sunny spot in front of a dogwood tree. I pruned it heavily last fall as it was about six feet around and 3-4 feet tall. It is larger than ever and seems to have creeped under the concrete steps and on into another bed of ferns and ivy that is actually pretty shady. Lovely look and the smell of the crushed leaves is great. I am planting more in a sunny area with broom, spirea, lavender, yarrow and soon to be some heather and tall grasses. I never thought of the sunflowers, but have plenty of sun on a sloping edge of the garden, so they might be a nice complement.

Positive

On Feb 18, 2007, Bellisgirl from Spokane, WA wrote:

Ive had this plant for over five years now and really love it. I have mine in the back of the border and it makes a wonderful backdrop for my other plants. Pretty lavender colored flowers. Very drought tolerant and hardy. Mine is in partial sun, and is about 3-and a half feet tall and wide. It would probably get even larger if it were in full sun. Have had several volunteers come up from it. Would definitely recommend this plant!

Positive

On Jun 16, 2006, amg52amg from Davenport, IA wrote:

My single Russian sage has been a highlight in one of my garden areas near the road for over 5 years. Last fall, a few babies popped up near it, and this spring, I have lots to move around and share! A striking display can be seen at the Kirkwood Equestrian Center in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where multiple sages have been given room to grow without competition, surrounded by dark mulch, and lovely in all 4 seasons.

Positive

On Dec 10, 2005, bigcityal from Menasha, WI (Zone 5a) wrote:

Nice subtle color. Fragrant. Bees love it. Nice winter interest.

Neutral

On Aug 26, 2005, flowercrazy39 from Manchester, NH wrote:

So far no luck for me with this plant but it's doing well at my sister's in Goffstown, NH. Her soil is much sandier and drier than mine though. But I've tried moving it so we'll see how it does.

Positive

On Sep 21, 2004, Lavenderlady from Buhl, ID wrote:

We have a lavender farm here in Idaho. Zone 5-6. I wanted something that would prolong the purple color in my fields and around a canal. Well, I sure got it. I love this plant. I cannot wait for it to naturalize itself throughout the area. I have had lots of people comment on it as we also put a row (hedge like) up into the lavender field. It was flanked with a row of teddy bear sunflowers. BEAUTIFUL color. I had a lady use the teddy bear sunflowers and Russian Sage in buckets for a wedding.

I will prune to 6 inches in spring as recommended and will either try to take seeds to scatter or cuttings to sell as many of my customers want this along with snow in the summer that I planted and of course the teddy bear sunflower seeds.

I am still unsure of the propaga... read more

Neutral

On Aug 16, 2004, santafe_julie from Santa Fe, NM wrote:

I moved into a house 2 years ago that had 7 of these growing. They are quite beautiful and bloom mid-June through Sept. in Santa Fe. The humming birds and bees love them. I don't water them much, the only real care is pruning them in early spring. My only problem with them is they are somewhat invasive. I have dozens - maybe hundreds of new plants coming up up to 25 feet away for the original plants (starting from seeds) and they also grow from shoots underground. If you plant one, make sure you account for weeding time!

Positive

On Aug 4, 2004, saya from Heerlen
Netherlands (Zone 8b) wrote:

I've collected seeds in 2003. Just put your hand around a dried flowerstalk and rip the seeds of. They look a little wooly and at first sight you think they cannot be seeds. But they are ! They were easy to sow. I've followed the instructions from Tom Clothier's site: " Sow at 20C (68F), if no germ. in 3-4 wks, move to -4 to +4C (24-39F) for 2-4 wks ". I've planted the seedlings already out in the garden where they grow quick.

I love its scent and silvery/blue transparent look when they are mature.

Positive

On Aug 3, 2004, earlene11 from Mount Vision, NY wrote:

I have grown Russian Sage in my zone 4-5 garden near Cooperstown, New York for about ten years. My one plant has survived winters where temperatures dropped to -30 for two or three nights in a row for several of these years. The winter of 2003-04 was one of those. I noticed this spring that half the plant finally suffered winterkill. This fall I will see if I can divide it because it's been such a good old soldier, I really can't bear to just let it go. I'll report back what I find when I dig it up. I'll start cuttings outdoors and indoors this fall as well, with and without hormone powder, by way of experiment. I wish this plant would have seeded itself in, but oh, well. I've bought four new Russian Sage babies so next fall I should have the beginnings of a drift. It blooms late ... read more

Positive

On May 8, 2004, bayouposte from Bossier City, LA (Zone 8a) wrote:

Pleasing appearance and scent endears Russian Sage to me, but ability to take heat and drought makes it easy. Have shared many little sages that have come from stem cuttings and have also moved some to other areas where its attractive silvery foliage draws the eye.

Positive

On Apr 15, 2004, patp from Summerville, SC (Zone 8a) wrote:

We planted Russian Sage last year. It didn't grow much, and it does lean toward the sun, as killerdaisy said. The crushed leaves smell great, and I was delighted when its bare winter sticks sprouted new growth this spring. I'll trim it to 6 inches, as sue1952 recommends and look forward to more growth.

Positive

On Apr 14, 2004, sue1952 from Utica, MI wrote:

In SE Michigan - This plant is great for sunny spots and very drought tolerant. Be sure to prune down to 6" in very early spring. I especially like to break off the branches in the dead of winter and take in the smell of sage from summer.

Positive

On Apr 1, 2004, docaly from Albuquerque, NM wrote:

Perovskia is one of my all-time favorites because of its whispy form, glorious scent and ease of growth in mixed environments.

I have grown it in zone 7, New Mexico in extremely dry soil with intense summer sun and cool to cold winters, and am currently growing it in zone 9b in higher humidity and warm winters. I like to use this in my clients' yards because it's a great filler, a wonderful backdrop or spectacular specimen. I planted it in January with a few flowers and it's quickly bringing forth more profuse color along with some height and breadth to the plant's form.

So pleasing to the senses and extremely easy to grow. It also makes wonderful dried flowers! A staple in drought-tolerant landscapes!

Positive

On Aug 8, 2003, Ladyfern from Jeffersonville, IN (Zone 6a) wrote:

The flowers taste sweet and can be used in salads. It is short-lived in havy, rich, moist soils.

Positive

On Dec 30, 2002, ericlmorris wrote:

This is an extremely hardy plant and beautiful in every season. The silver skeleton of winter adds interest and beauty to the dull browns of my garden.

Neutral

On Aug 8, 2001, killerdaisy from Dallas, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

Creates a sagelike scent when leaves are crushed. Tends to lean towards sun. Take cuttings in summer; no division necessary.