Russian Sage is one of those interesting plants that have been oversold in the nursery business but have a valuable place in the garden with other perennial flowers.
My own experience with this plant is that it performs best in a very well drained garden (read hot and sunny-dry) and if you give it good garden soil with lots of water, you can expect to have it die over the winter.
Clay soils will simply kill Perovskia and there is little point in trying to grow it there. So, think the hottest and poorest soil you have and plant this gem there.
Perovskia is the botanic name and it was named after the Turkestani general/statesman V.A. Perovski (1794-857). The common name Russian sage is evident because of the fragrance of the leaves and the plant’s origin in Asia.
Perovskia ‘Little Spire’
Where to Plant Russian Sage
At 24 to 36 inches tall, Russian sage is a perfect plant for the full hot sun garden.
Its silver foliage stands out well against other greens in the garden and the haze of purplish blue flowers in mid to late summer is quite attractive.
Plant these 18 inches apart (you’ll want 3 or more in a clump) in a well drained, sandy soil.
For those of you with propagation in mind, Perovskia propagates easily from cuttings or seed (although it was not a spreading plant in my garden).
P. atriplicifolia – This species is the one most often found in garden centers and at 36 inches tall is a wonderful addition to the late summer and fall garden.
‘Filigran’ is a new introduction from Germany that has finer cut foliage than the species and the plants are more bushy and upright.
As a last note, try planting Perovskia with black eyed susans for a stunning combination of yellow and blue. The daisies will also help hold the tends-to-be-floppy Russian sage upright. Early blooming goldenrod varieties would also be a good combination.