Gardening

Perovskia Atriplicifolia: Popular For Its Tall Wispy Wands Of Lavender Flowers

Perovskia Atriplicifolia: Popular For Its Tall Wispy Wands Of Lavender Flowers

Perovskia Atriplicifolia

Photo Compliments Of Sage Robert Ashworth

Perovskia atriplicifolia, commonly called Russian sage, is a woody-based perennial of the mint family which will typically reach a height of 2 to 4 feet (under ideal conditions 5 feet) and features finely-dissected, aromatic (when crushed), gray-green leaves on stiff, upright, square stems and whorls of two-lipped, tubular, light blue flowers tiered in branched, terminal panicles (12 to 15 inches high). The summer bloom period is August to September.

Perovskia atriplicifolia, with its tall wispy wands of lavender or blue flowers and silvery foliage, is an important addition in a summer or fall garden. It shows off well against most flowers and provides an elegant look to flower borders; it is an ideal choice for a sunny dry garden.

Excellent drainage and full sun are ideal, although very light shade is tolerated. This vigorous, drought tolerant, heat loving plant is a superb companion for perennials, succulents and ornamental grasses; it can be combined with lavenders, sages and penstemons. It is also a wonderful filler for Mediterranean-style gardens. Russian sage superficially resembles lavender, and can be used in areas too cold to grow lavender reliably. This member of the mint family (Labiateae) is hardy in zones 4 to 9.

How To Make Your Perovskia Atriplicifolia Thrive

Russian sage will thrive in full sun and well-drained or sandy soil; it will tolerate clay if the drainage is adequate. Once established Perovskia atriplicifolia is drought tolerant, but it will show its appreciation for occasional watering during prolonged dry weather. There is very little maintenance required other than cutting the plant back in winter before the new growth starts in the spring.

General Perovskia Atriplicifolia Information

Diseases and Pests

No serious insect or disease problems; plants tend to sprawl or flop over as the summer progresses.

Propagation

Russian sage can be grown from seed. You can sow seed at any time of the year, just covering the seed with medium. Germination usually takes 1 to 4 months at an optimum temperature of 60 to 65ºF. An initial cold treatment for 10 days to 6 weeks at 35-44ºF may enhance germination, as well as produce a more compact plant. Transplant the seedlings when they are large enough to handle, being careful not to damage the roots. Harden off the seedlings before planting in the garden, preferably in late spring.

The easiest propagation method is to take 3 to 4 inch long softwood cuttings in summer. Propagation by division is possible, but slow.

Garden Uses

Perovskia atriplicifolia with its tall wispy wands of lavender or blue flowers and silvery foliage, is a wonderful addition in a summer, or fall garden. It shows off well against most flowers and provides an elegant look to flower borders; it is an ideal choice for a sunny dry garden.

Quick Information

  • Family: Lamiaceae
  • Plant Type: Herbaceous perennial
  • Foliage: Deciduous
  • Plant Height: 2 to 4 feet
  • Plant Width: 3 feet
  • Hardiness Zones: Zones 5 to 9
  • Bloom Time: August to September
  • Bloom Description: Lavender to blue
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun
  • Water Requirements: Drought tolerant when established, it does appreciates occasional watering
  • Water: Dry to medium
  • Maintenance: Low
  • Tolerates: Rabbit, deer, drought, clay soil, dry soil, air pollution

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