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.
This plant has some cultivated varieties. Go to list of cultivars.
All Common Names:
Tree or Plant Type:
- Mixed border,
- Small shrub (3-5 feet),
- Low-growing shrub (under 3 feet),
- Large plant (more than 24 inches),
- Medium plant (12-24 inches)
- Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)
- Zone 5 (Chicago),
- Zone 6,
- Zone 7,
- Zone 8,
- Zone 9
- Acid soil,
- Alkaline soil,
- Dry soil,
- Moist, well-drained soil,
- Sandy soil
- Dry sites,
- Occasional drought,
- Alkaline soil,
- Road salt
Season of Interest:
- Early summer,
- Mid summer,
- Late summer
Flower Color & Fragrance:
Shape or Form:
Tree & Plant Care
A fine textured, perennial or sub-shrub (woody base) that dies back to ground in winter.
Best in full sun and well-drained soils. Does not tolerate wet soils.
Prune to the ground each spring (May) to promote new growth and better flowers.
Avoid over fertilized soil that can make plant lanky and dulls the flower color.
Deer and rabbit resistant.
Disease, pests, and problems
No serious problems
Native geographic location and habitat
Native from China, Afghanistan to Tibet
Attracts birds & Butterflies
Butterflies and hummingbirds are attracted to the late season blooms.
Bark color and texture
Numerous, aromatic, gray-white, thin stems.
Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture
Opposite, strongly dissected gray-white leaves are fragrant.
Flower arrangement, shape, and size
Small, 2-lipped, lavender-blue flowers that branch and rise above the foliage.
Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions
A dark brown, oval nutlet
Blue Spire (Perovskia atriplicifolia 'Blue Spire'): Airy spikes of lavender-blue flowers, compact habit reaching 2 to 3 feet high.
Little Spire (Perovskia atriplicifolia 'Little Spire'): Blue flower spikes on semi-dwarf habit, reaching 18 to 24 inches high.
Peek-a-Blue™ (Perovskia atriplicifoia 'Peek-a-Blue'): Lavender-blue flowers, lacy, finely-dissected slivery-green leaves, reaching 24 inches high.