Thursday, September 4, 2008

Russian Sage

Russian sage, aka Perovskia atriplicifolia, is an excellent shrubby perennial for late summer interest. I grow it in my garden as do many gardeners, but the above picture is not showing my Russian sage. I sure wish it was mine! Mine is rather puny because it is growing in part sun and was newly planted just last year.

Russian sage LOVES the sun and is quite drought tolerant. It does so well that it is often used in commercial plantings, such as was the case with this picture. I snapped this picture at a Taco Bell restaurant on one of my out of town travels. Have you all ever noticed Taco Bells have the best landscaping? That is another subject for another day perhaps. Can't get too off track here now.

This perennial can get quite large so be sure to leave plenty of room for it. There was a whole row of these planted in a hedge-like fashion; which I found to be both pleasant and effective in the commercial landscape. Russian sage also works in the home landscape and will make a big statement so plant it in a visible area for all to enjoy. Just make sure to give Russian sage a well drained average soil.

In my garden Russian sage does not usually die back to the ground in the winter like most herbaceous perennials. Russian sage is one of those perennials known as a 'shrubby' perennial or 'woody' perennial. Lavender and artemisia also fall in to this category. You can cut back the woody stems that do not die back in the spring. I cut mine to about 6 inches high and the plant will come back with no problem.

in the garden....


  1. I love this shrub, it is so pretty being dark green on the bottom then turning a purple, then light purple. Anything sage is good.

  2. Russian sage is one of my favorite perennials. I have had it in my garden for years. I transplanted mine so it is kind of puny this year too.

  3. I keep seeing this and it is on my list of plants to add to my garden.
    That is really nice landscaping for a fast food joint!

  4. Hi, A nice plant that can't grow here! I think the ground is too soggy in winter. But I do like it in mass plantings!

    Too bad we couldn't work out a visit here on Friday! I hope your in town again... before all is gone!


  5. That's a lovely looking plant. We don't grow Russian sage here but it's so interesting to read about it. Great post, Tina.

  6. One of my favorites! It's amazing how much they can grow in full sun. Ours are in the sun in the afternoon and look similar, although a little smaller, than the one's in your picture. I have a couple from cuttings that I did in the spring that are already about half that size. They are just starting to bloom.

  7. Now if I had only read this before I planted mine: " sure to leave plenty of room for it." Mine is at the back of a flowerbed, which is good, but it grows so large that it stretches out over some Knockout roses.
    I not only cut mine back in the spring but sometimes give it a "haircut" during the growing season to control it.
    Despite its size, I love the color and airy look of this sage, and it's a great butterfly and bee attraction. Did you see all the praying mantises on mine one day?

  8. Good morning all! I am finally up and about.

    Dawn, This grows in Maine so you might give it a try.

    PGL, I feel your pain-but next year ah!

    Cindy, Not sure if you have Taco Bells in PA but down here every single one has nice landscaping. I love it.

    Gail, I think it would prefer good drainage but I also think it would grow well with your rudbeckia. It would look great too. Sorry about tomorrow. Another time.

    Kanak, Why don't you grow it there? I think it would grow fine. Need sun-lots.

    Dave, I know this is one of your favorites and yours will be huge like these in no time. I have no full sun so mine will never look like this:( I'll enjoy yours and Taco Bells.

    Rose, I think this is a great companion with roses. Nice and airy but a bit frilly for contrast. Plus add the color. Whoo! I think you posted pics of praying manitises and I did see them. They are so cool.

  9. Hi Tina, I agree, a great plant in dry areas. I hacked a hole in the gravel of an old machinery parking area and planted a couple. They are thriving. Even when not blooming they have kind of a silvery color that makes a nice shimmery contrast to green foliage. It's hard to find a shrub of that size that is still so airy and open.

  10. Hi Tina, I love this plant but it doesn't grow that well for me here. I have several and have even replaced them a few times, but they dwindle each year then die. They are in full sun too and good drainage. When in PA for the wedding they were everywhere and as big as a small tree. Could it be too hot here?

  11. It is very pretty. Maybe I should give it a try. It would look good in front of the house on the side the den is or even better, maybe out back on each corner of the dog fence where I would see it when in the computer room (which is most of the time).

    Blue Angels in town this week. Show for military, news media and handicap tomorrow (we will go then as Brian will take us) and then the public Sat and Sun. I sure will stay outta Brunswick Sat and Sun. What a mob they get and with the base closing this will be the last show here so it will be mob city for sure. Always such a mess when they are here. I can hear them practicing in the distance as I type now.

  12. My sage does not get this large but I dont believe I have the Russian type....

    Jean, I have seen the Blue Angels and they are awesome! Have fun...

    Looks like Hanna will be skipping us. Sniff, we need the lake to fill up so badly. Most boat ramps closed due to low water levels. High Schools going to play footballs games tonight instead of Friday just to be on the safe side though....

  13. Oh, that is gorgeous! I have been noticing it around our neighborhood lately and think it is just lovely. And if it likes full sun, boy, would it love our yard! I think it will be a definite must add for our yard this full...if I can find it for sale of course!;)

  14. Marnie, That is the trick! Neglect, gravelly soil and poor maintenance. Glad they are doing great. I love the silver too. Actually it is one of my favorite colors in the garden. A great foil for other plants.

    Frances, I am surprised they don't do well for you. I know you have all the conditions. I don't think it is the heat though. Maybe humidity? But really I don't think that would factor into it. Not sure what it up.

    Mom, Have fun tomorrow and be safe! I would only watch these guys from a distance after the air show crash in Ramstein. Never again. I know there will be tons of folks there and it is good you can go with only the military. Josh is going? I hope the loud noises don't bother him. Give him hugs and kisses for me.

    Skeeter, Darn on the rain! It is missing us too and I am desperate! Tired of watering! It is gloomy indeed. Russian sage is good in sunny areas. You'd like it for butterflies.

    Stacy, This is a great plant. Why not ask your a neighbor who has it if you can take a cutting or two? It roots easily and walah! Free plants! I am sure they would be happy to do this. It would grow fast in your area in full sun and blooms a long time. Short of that, sales are coming...

  15. Yes Tina, Josh is going and I am worried he will be scared but I said we should take our van and then Brian can leave is Josh is unhappy. I am not happy about going myself but, you know how Papa loves them. Josh is always full of kisses so I will tell him one is from Grammie!!

    Skeeter, they are awesome, I guess, if you like that sorta thing. I DO NOT like planes AT ALL. I have had 2 people close to me killed in them, one a private plane and one a commerical,
    it does something to you and every time you hear of one, you relive it all over again. One was in 1960 (private) and one in 1973 (commerical). They have always come to Brunswick every other year but were here last year. Coming this year again due to the base closing so it will be, thankfully for me, the last year. I have not been for several years but hubby LOVES them so will go for his sake. He took flying lessons back in the late 70's and his friend did also and went on to buy his own plane and chashed it with his 3 year old son with him but they walked away. Later, under pressure from his wife, he got rid of it. LOL. I am scared of planes and hate the noise so I will not be a happy camper at all.
    The Golden Nights will also be there and I could enjoy them if there was not a plane in the air dropping them.

  16. Jean, try ear plugs for you and little Josh. That may help with the noise. If you feel so strongly about planes, I am surprised you are going. But we all do things we dont care to do at times for our spouses. Good spouse you are indeed.... Try to have some fun...

    Need to run to the garden center for some dirt to plant this nice baby banana plant I have recently acquired... The Saint and I are already arguing about where it will go Tina! LOL... I have the spot picked out, well, I first need to make sure the view to the bird worm tray will not be blocked from the patio area. If so, then I must find Spot B...

  17. As I'm reading, I'm thinking that you would mention the small plane (cesna?)that crashed on the neck Mom. Tried to guess the location by the news footage but couldn't see the house long enough. 3 people walked away, very lucky. Flying from NY

  18. Dawn, actually I had forgotten about that crash. And to think it was just 4 days ago!!!! It was at Lloyd Thompson's little strip (behind where we used to live). We never had a plane crash while we lived there but you must remember the night the motorcycle crashed. I know you flew down over the stairs. What a noise that was. The guy had called Lloyd to ask if it was okay and Lloyd told him about the updraft winds and told him just how to do it but guess he was unable or did'nt listen well enough. They were very lucky but not as lucky as the one that went right across the street that time a few years ago. At the same time as the plane crash the other day there was a boat accident, in the water, but down the same road. Since it is all a quarter mile from me and the fire dept across the street from me, it was a busy time in the neighborhood for a while. The plane stayed there for 2 days. Could see it from the road.

  19. My Russian Sage is puny also.Thanks for the good advise. It will be moved to a sunnier and drier area in my yard.

  20. Hey Mom, Here is my first comment on your blog! I'm so behind the times. I looked at it last night and was gonna comment but didn't. Today is a much day, cause I LOVE Russian Sage. And the pics looked great. I plan to plant some in the front yard of the new house (if we ever get it). I think it'll looke great against the stone. You should have mentioned that if is a plant you can propagate. I know I'm gonna steal mine from somewhere. And start it indoors this winter. If it doesn't get big enough though, I might have to go buy some. Love you,


  21. Mom, Be safe! Airplane crashes? Not safe anywhere anymore.

    Skeeter, You saw where mine was planted, try to give it the same and soon you'll have some big ones too!

    Dawn, No Blue Angels for you guys?

    Lona@ HHGardener, Welcome! Yes, do give yours neglect and tons of sun. These are thriving in that kind of situation.

    Liz, I'm about to fall out of my chair!!!! Now you know you don't have to buy any plants! Just come get some. I think I can share with you no problem! Plus I have tons of cuttings going. Where you are moving to has tons of sun so these will do better for you than for me. I need the shade plants. Can't wait to see your new house. When r u closing? Love you too!

  22. Mom,I knew it was alot of excitment down your way.
    Hello Liz, come see me sometime.
    My kid made starter for jv AND 2nd string for varisty football. By the end of the season he'll be varisty. Isn't that great? Working his behind off, "Fighting for a position" 4 hours of play back to back though. Ai, iy, iy.

  23. Congrats to Zack! Football is hard but it'll keep him in shape.

  24. Nope, no Angels for me, too busy. The other kid is trying out for the nutcracker as we speak. Maine state ballet, (all kids get a position, but they don't know that). Home alone!

  25. Lucky you! Peace at home is nice. I am always potting things and planting. Fall is a busy time. I hope Madame gets the position she wants. Have fun. You must be liking your new high speed?

  26. Can you believe I loaded 1 pic at a time? And it took 20 minutes, if not a error? All pics loading at once and they work to enlarge!
    I've dabbled with the stuff on my site as you can tell, it's a brave new world!

  27. I love these and finally got one early summer. It's still a baby, but looks ok. Hope it grows up to look like yours!

  28. Told you so Dawn!

    Meadowview Thymes, That is funny we are posting the same time. I love your steppables. The Russian sage will do well in Texas.

  29. Hey " Yawl", hope all had a beautiful day & a prosperous one.
    Tina I like the post. Sure wish I could have a Russian Sage here but I think it would be too wet here for it.
    Jean hope you have a good time in spite of your dislike for planes. For sure watch baby Josh's ears. To loud noises can affect their hearing. That's my opinion.
    No fear Skeeter, Ike is right on Hanna's heels. From what I understand he is to reckon with.
    We're supposed to get more rain starting tonight & into tomorrow. Arrggggg. Still not dried out. So wet my shrubbery is dieing. Think I would like to just cut it down & let it start again. It's gonna be holly now. Looks awful. Sure would hate to think the neighbor did something. He did have a small trailer parked there, on his side of course. You know some comments make you a little suspicious.
    Anyway, "yawl" have a good restful night.

  30. OH MY LORD!!!!! lIZ IS ON THE BLOG. I also just about fell outta my chair. Welcome, my dear and come again. Got your message yesterday. I was outside in the garden.

    Congrats to Zack. Way to go!!! Darn good for a freshman!!!

    Tina I been telling Dawn forever to get high sped. Kept telling her when she did, she would say, "Why oh why did I wait so long?".

    Dawn, is'nt the brave new world great?

    Guess I better go get some sleep before I have to go see the darn ole planes.

    BTW folks, Brian's wife has gotten us all earplugs. I never used them when I went before but I just might this time and then I will not have to listen to Papa asking me if I saw that every 2 mintues. LOL Can you tell he gets excited?

  31. Lola, Good morning! It worked! We have about 1.3 inches of sweet rain so far. Sorry you are getting so much-too much. And sorry to hear about your shrubs. But honestly this time of year sometimes everything looks a little shabby. Maybe it'll bounce back once things cool down.

    Mom, Have a great day at the air show and be safe. Is Sarah going too or is she working? Christy said she is not going and she hears the planes over here work all the time. Let Papa have a super day!

  32. I've had a puny one for a couple of years--too much shade. I've moved it into full sun in front of a butterfly bush--I got the idea from a neighbor--and it's coming back very well--I hope to have a great picture next summer.