Garden Oracle / Drought and Heat Tolerant Gardening / Tucson - Phoenix - Arizona - California

Growing Perovskia atriplicifolia:
Russian Sage

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Form: A clump-forming subshrub with a woody base and herbaceous stems.
Lifespan: Perennial.
Leaf retention: Evergreen but frost deciduous.
Growth rate: Moderate.
Mature Size: 2-5' high and as wide depending on cultivar.
Flowers: Purple to blue, very small, clustered in spikes, edible.
Bloom: Late spring through summer.
Fruit: Up to four tiny seeds at the base of each dried calyx (cup-like structure that holds the flower and ovary).
Leaves: Silver green, downy, roughly serrated edges, aromatic but not edible.
Stems: No thorns, grayish-white, becoming woody with age.
Roots: This plant has a taproot.
Wildlife: Attracts bees. Seldom browsed by mammals.
Toxic / Danger: Causes an allergic skin reaction in a few people.
Origin: Central Asia, including Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan and Tibet.

Cultivation and Uses
USDA hardiness zones: 4-9, depending on cultivar.
Heat tolerant: Yes.
Drought tolerant: Yes.
Sun: Full sun to light shade.
Water after becoming established: Once a month.
Soil: Well drained, dry, low in organic content, pH 6.1-8.5 (slightly acidic to alkaline).
Mulch: Bare soil or gravel. The soil must dry quickly after watering or rain.
Prune: Cut back to 6" high after the last winter freeze. This plant produces flowers on new growth. Cut off spent blossoms to encourage additional blooming.
Propagation: Seed sown in the fall, cuttings.
Uses: Ornamental, xeric garden.

This plant is a member of the Mint family (Lamiaceae), but is not a true sage (Salvia) nor from Russia. The flowers shown are from two different cultivars, one or both could be a hybrid with another Perovskia species.

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Perovskia atriplicifolia: Russian Sage - flowers

Perovskia atriplicifolia: Russian Sage - flowers

Perovskia atriplicifolia: Russian Sage - leaves

Perovskia atriplicifolia: Russian Sage

Latest update: January, 2019
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