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Russian sage is neither Russian nor a sage but this low maintenance, showy perennial is a great choice for both beginning and experienced gardeners.
With its shrubby habit, silvery grey-green leaves, beautiful lavender flowers, and long bloom time it is an attractive addition to any border or bed. Once established this plant is reliably drought tolerant. It also prefers hot dry heat so if you have a hot spot in your garden and just don’t know what to put there this plant is your answer.
Perovskia looks like a lavender on steroids with its own sweet, sage-like, high desert fragrance. The stems of this perennial can also be cut for dried flower arrangements or left on the plant for nice fall color. A good plant to combine with Perovskia would be Rudbeckia, Agastache, sedums or ornamental grasses.
Perovskia atriplicifolia - Lavender blue flowers on 3-4 foot tall x 2 foot wide plants, blooms July-Sept. The foliage is silvery gray-green, toothed, on narrow, grayish white stems. Hardy in zones 4-9.
Filigran - Soft lavender blue flowers on 3-4 foot tall x 2 foot wide plants, blooms July-Sept. The foliage is finely cut on a bushier more compact plant. Hardy in zones 4-9.
Little Spire - Lavender flowers on compact 2 foot tall x 2 foot wide plants, blooms July-Sept. Ideal for the smaller garden. Hardy in zones 4-9.
Longin - Lavender blue flowers on 2-4 foot tall x 2 foot wide plants, blooms July- Sept. The foliage is silvery but not as toothed as P. atriplicifolia. Hardy in zones 4-9.
Taiga - Light blue flowers on dwarf 1-2 foot tall x 3 foot wide plants, blooms July-Sept. Hardy in zones 4-9.
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5050 SE Stark, Portland, OR
9000 SE Division, Portland, OR
Common Name: Russian Sage
Origin: Central Asia, Himalayas, and the Middle East. A genus of 7 species.
Culture: Sunny, well drained soil is crucial.
Maintenance: Plants can be pinched or cut back by one half when they are about 12” to all to obtain fuller shrubs. This plant also benefits from heavy pruning each spring before new growth starts and seldom needs dividing.
Pest and Disease: None serious