Russian Sage

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  • #5270397 Report Abuse


    Can someone here tell me what experience (s) you have had with Russian Sage ?

    For some reason, I have never noticed this plant before this summer .  There is a house I go by almost daily and it is around their mailbox/post and just perfectly gorgeous.  Taller than the actual box/post; perfectly straight up and has been blooming all summer.

    Now, I see it everywhere but know nothing about growing it except what I read but I would rather hear from someone that has experience with it.

    Does it spread; multiply ? 

    Do I prune/trim it at any time ?

    I see it mostly in sunny areas .  Is it a sun or shade plant ?

    Because I don t need any more mums or butterfly bushes, I ve been telling myself that I won t be buying any more plants this summer/fall BUT ….

    This Russian Sage really gets to me and I saw small plants @ Menards’ this past week but I thought they were a little high priced for what I might get .

    Willing to learn about this from anyone that wants to jump in here ~~~

    TIA ~~~  Marilyn :)

    #5271880 Report Abuse

    Hi  Marilyn,

    I can share my sad~sad story of trying to grow Russian Sage ‘Perovskia’ successfully. 3 out of 4 of our RS~P’s tanked after a short time. The one Perovskia that managed to live was desperately struggling to survive; so I gave it to a nice, immensely sunny home.

    For me, these have been one of (if not the most difficult) flower/shrub to try & grow in part sun…which is really a generous phrase for our yard  as it is mostly, not sunny;-) I usually do not let lack of direct sunlight keep me from trying new things in the garden but I feel this is one of those plants that truly need lots of sunshine to flourish.

    Also, I wouldn’t suggest cutting it back at the end of the year. The stems are quite brittle & the ones that were snapped off by the nesting Cardinal never grew back. All 4 RS plants grew rather big (even the one that was tagged as a smaller version) but the flowers just didn’t do as well as they should’ve.

    The ones I have seen flourish for what seems like 4to6 weeks (in another garden) are planted on the edge of a hill just before it drops off.  They look ethereal when blooming. The purple flowers seem to float in the air from a distance it’s as if they are attached to the tiniest of filaments.

    For looking so dainty, their cold hardiness is fairly impressive and if you can provide it with good drainage & lots of sunlight then this may be the shrub for you? The Russian Sage is so pretty in bloom & I can attest that hummingbirds & cardinals love them too…but for completely different reasons;-)

    Good luck!

    #5271891 Report Abuse

    I grow russian sage here in TN. My main plant was given to me by a neighbor who dug up an extra piece that was around her main plant. So I guess that tells us that it can spread. She had given me 5/6 pieces.  Only one survived. It is in full sun and very full of blossoms which it drops all the time. Mine hangs over a rock wall and makes a mess on the driveway and I still love it.  When it gets too unruly I give it a light trim.  It does not seem to mind.  It is a great contrast to the magenta colored hardy hibiscus beside it.  When it started to grow this spring I pulled two pieces off the main plant that had their own roots. Looks like only one will survive. I will try to start more next year, but I think I will leave in a container outside in order to monitor it better. Good luck. I believe you will wonder like I did why you never tried one before.

    #5272068 Report Abuse


    MDgreenery, may I ask what zone or state you are in ? 

    Where I want to plant Russian Sage would be a totally sunny area with medium to dry soil possibly along a fence but definitely at the end of the fence against a post.

    I have (now that it has caught my eye), noticed beds of it in front of some of the businesses in a town close to us.  However, theirs is not nearly as tall as the local one around someones’ mailbox/post.

    I ve only seen a couple of plants of RS in the local garden centers and they are a tad pricey but if I m going to plant some I need to do it very soon I would think.

    Hmmmm ~~~ dilemmas, dilemmas, dilemmas … LOL !!!  I truly don t “”need”” more flowers/plants but I DO want Russian Sage.  At least try it and see what happens .

    Do you think I should wait until Spring to find some or plant some now and let it overwinter ?

    Tennessee, your reply  makes me confident that I could grow RS and also makes me want to run to the garden center first thing in the morning and buy the few pots they had left yesterday …. LOL !!!

    Thank you, Girls, for the replies ~~~  I will let you know what I decide ~~~ 😉


    #5272123 Report Abuse

    Hi Marilyn,

    I’m in zone 7…although the arboretum changed it to zone 6 after the great snowfall of 2010. I still go by Z7 as do some of the nurseries I buy from.

    Good luck with your RS, they are truly captivating plants when blooming.

    #5272541 Report Abuse


    I have had mine for several years. This year I cut it down by 1/3 in early June. The plant is bushier and lots of blooms.

    In warmer years it grows from the old wood – but one very cold year it came up from the roots.  I trim it back in the spring after the green gets a good start.

    Enjoy. Alma

    <*)~// Tealbird

    #5274889 Report Abuse

    I live in Canton, Ohio and I got a small piece as a start from a friend 4 or 5 years ago.  This is on the south/southwest side of my shed and has always grown and done well.  I usually cut it back in the Spring.


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    #5277901 Report Abuse

    Perovskia (Russian sage),  grows 3-4 feet and up to 5 feet in preemo conditions.  Growers prune or groom then a couple times a growing season to produce a short, and bushy plant. Often gardeners are surprised when it grow tall the following year and must relocate.

    Yes, it spread via root. If you want a nice clump, this is the way to go.

    Woody perennials or subshrubs should only be pruned in the spring  (after frost and freezes) in Zones 6 and colder. Just like butterfly bushes and lavender.

    Great plant for bees and even hungry hummers will visit.


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