Russian Sage

Russian Sage
Plant Type
Sunlight Amount
russian sage blooms
Credit: Peter Krumhardt
russian sage blooms
Russian Sage

With its tall wispy wands of lavender or blue flowers and grey-green silvery foliage, Russian sage, a hardy perennial, is a great addition to a garden as it can act as a specimen plant or provide great contrast to other plants with its  texture and color.

genus name
  • Perovskia atriplicifolia
  • Sun
plant type
  • 3 to 8 feet
  • from 2 to 3 feet
flower color
foliage color
season features
problem solvers
special features
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9

Colorful Combinations

The flowers themselves are actually very small bluish-purple in color with a four-lobed upper petal and a smaller lower petal. The blooms have darker markings from the upper petal into the tube. Inside the tube is a clean white color. Often what seems like the flowers on Russian sage are actually the calyx, a tube that protects the flowers from damage before they bloom.  In the case of the Russian sage, the calyx is covered in coarse white hairs and is also a lavender blue in color. These are held on the plant for quite a while and help to add to the overall floral display.

In addition to its blossoms, it is worth growing Russian sage for the silver-green foliage. Depending on the location of the plant, where the foliage is borne, and the variety, the leaf edges may have a serrated or wavy edge. All parts of the Russian sage plant are quite fragrant when rubbed or crushed. Some people describe it as a sage-like smell, sometimes mixed with lavender scents as well.

Russian Sage Care Must-Knows

The maintenance routine for Russian sage is fairly minimal. It thrives in full sun. It is important to cut the foliage and stems back almost all the way to the soil in early spring, but leaving a few inches of growth above ground level. If the plants seem to be getting too large, or falling over, remove the top 1/3 of the plant to encourage denser branching and a new flush of growth. Plant Russian sage fairly densely as other plants provide support.

New Innovations

Initially, when Russian sage was first brought to the market, there were very few options as far as varieties. Most all of the available plants were seed grown. This led to varying degrees of color. Seed-grown plants are generally open-pollinated, so you can have genetics from a variety of plants, especially when they come from many different growers. Now, there are many named varieties where all of the plants are genetically identical. This results in a uniform look and creates better landscaping.

More Varieties of Russian Sage

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