In late autumn through winter, Russian blossom sheds its blossoms to reveal stately silvery stems for a perfect snowscape complement. Nevertheless, it’s also safe to say that purple-flowering plants reign in summer and spring gardens, and Russian sage, a popular spiky specimen, stands above similarly hued sorts with a soft, purple haze of blooms — which makes this plant a wonderful garden accessory year-round.

The New York Botanical Garden

Botanical name: Perovskia atriplicifolia (hybrids and cultivars)
Common title:Russian sage
USDA zones: 5 to 9 (find your zone)
Water necessity: Small to moderate
Light requirement: Full sun
Mature dimension: 3 to 4 ft tall and wide
Benefits and tolerances: Drought tolerant; bull resistant; attracts butterflies and hummingbirds; grows at higher altitudes
Seasonal attention: Flowers summer into fall; architectural
When to plant: Spring to summer

Jay Sifford Garden Design

Distinguishing attributes. Russian sage is especially lauded for its blossoms and capacity to flourish where little else will grow. Little purple flowers bloom from summer into fall, drawing butterflies and hummingbirds into the backyard. Leaves are tender and grayish-green, and emit a subtle, sage-like odor.

Russian sage’s backyard interest persists well past its blooms have faded. Attractive seed heads remain on the stems past the first frost, producing visual delight in primitive winter gardens. The distinctive vertical construction of the plant survives into sunlight, drawing attention using its skeletal shape and silvery stems.

Russian burial jobs high above surrounding plants in this Slovenian backyard.

Arrow. Land + Structures

The best way to utilize it. Volume Russian sage or use it along a garden path. Its elevation and fine texture reach above encircling foliage in a different and attractive way. At a mass, Russian socialization can even be utilized as a seasonal display.

Plant it alongside lavenders or salvias for subtle contrast in color and texture, or opt for a pragmatic blended perennial planting. Russian sage is a butterfly attractor; bunch other butterfly attractors for a bigger garden series.

Russian sage thrives where many other plants neglect; but a blessing is also a burden, as the vigorous growth of the plant could overpower surrounding plantings. Plant it together with grasses or other dominant plants which may keep Russian blossom in check without your constant management.

Jocelyn H. Chilvers

Planting notes. Russian blossom grows well — almost too well in some regions. Make certain it is not considered invasive locally. If it’s safe to move, find a garden place that will get ample sunshine — at least several hours every day, as Russian sage prefers bright, warm summers. It is frequently utilized in xeriscape gardens but is tolerant of light supplemental watering. Limiting watering may prevent Russian sage from spreading too aggressively.

There’s a frequent criticism that Russian sage has the tendency to flop over. Dry, well-drained soil light in nitrogen may help avoid this. If you observe that your Russian sage is leaning a bit wearily, cut it back by half in summer months or when the plants are about 1 foot tall. This will help create fuller, more robust growth to keep your plants standing tall.

The New York Botanical Garden

Popular cultivars, such as ‘Blue Spire’ (shown) are smaller, quite common and may be less likely to flop over.

Perhaps you have grown Russian blossom? We would really like to see it on your summer and winter gardens. Share a photograph in the Remarks below.

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