Content Detail

Russian-sage is a semi-hardy sub-shrub or perennial grown for its handsome gray-green foliage and beautiful late season lavender-blue flower spikes. Cut to the ground each spring to promote new growth.

  • Family (English) Mint
  • Family (botanic) Lamiaceae
  • Tree or plant type Perennial, Shrub
  • Native locale Non-native
  • Size range Medium plant (12-24 inches), Large plant (more than 24 inches), Low-growing shrub (under 3 feet), Small shrub (3-5 feet)
  • Light exposure Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)
  • Hardiness zones Zone 5 (Northern Illinois), Zone 6 (City of Chicago), Zone 7, Zone 8, Zone 9
  • Soil preference Acid soil, Alkaline soil, Dry soil, Moist, Sandy soil, well-drained soil
  • Tolerances Alkaline soil, Dry sites, Occasional drought, Road salt
  • Season of interest early summer, midsummer, late summer
  • Flower color and fragrance Fragrant, Blue, Purple
  • Shape or form Multi-stemmed, Narrow, Upright
  • Growth rate Fast

Native geographic location and habitat: 

Russian-sage is native to China and from Afghanistan to Tibet.

Attracts birds & Butterflies: 

Butterflies and hummingbirds are attracted to the late season blooms.

Bark color and texture: 

Thin stems are numerous, aromatic, and gray-white.

Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture: 

Opposite, strongly dissected gray-white leaves are fragrant.

Flower arrangement, shape, and size: 

Many small, two-lipped, lavender-blue flowers branch and rise above the foliage.

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions: 

The oval nutlet is dark brown.

Plant care:

A fine textured, perennial or sub-shrub (woody base) that dies back to the ground in winter. Best planted in full sun and well-drained soils, it does not tolerate wet soils. Prune to the ground each spring to promote new growth and better flowers. Avoid over-fertilized soil that can make the plants splay.

List of pests, diseases, and tolerances: 

No serious problems.  Deer and rabbit resistant.

Blue Spire Russian-sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia ‘Blue Spire’):

Airy spikes of lavender-blue flowers, compact habit reaching 2 to 3 feet high.

Little Spire Russian-sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia ‘Little Spire’):

Blue flower spikes bloom on a semi-dwarf habit, reaching 18 to 24 inches high.

Peek-a-Blue™ Russian-sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia ‘Peek-a-Blue’):

With lavender-blue flowers and lacy, finely-dissected silvery-green leaves, this cultivar reaches 24 inches high.


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