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Russian Sage

Russian Sage

Size

Description: Russian Sage is characterized by its silvery-gray foliage and tall, upright stems adorned with small, tubular flowers in shades of blue and purple. The aromatic leaves are deeply lobed and resemble those of sage plants, though Russian Sage is not closely related to culinary sage. The flowers appear in dense, spiky clusters along the stems and bloom from mid-summer through fall, attracting pollinators like bees and butterflies. Russian Sage is prized for its ability to add vertical interest and a touch of color to garden landscapes, as well as its tolerance of hot, dry conditions.

Size: Russian Sage typically grows to a height of 2 to 4 feet (0.6 to 1.2 meters) and spreads of 2 to 3 feet (0.6 to 0.9 meters) at maturity. However, individual plants may vary in size depending on growing conditions and cultivar. Russian Sage has an open, airy growth habit with slender stems and wispy foliage, creating a graceful and ethereal appearance in the garden. The plant forms a clump-like mound, and its size can be managed through pruning and division.

Best Growing Zones: Russian Sage is native to central Asia and is well-suited to regions with continental climates characterized by hot, dry summers and cold winters. It is hardy in USDA plant hardiness zones 5 through 9, where temperatures rarely drop below -20°F (-29°C) in zone 5. Russian Sage thrives in full sun and is intolerant of excessive moisture and humidity, making it ideal for arid and semi-arid climates. In cooler regions, Russian Sage may benefit from winter protection, such as mulching around the base of the plant.

Soil and Sun Requirements: Russian Sage prefers well-drained soil with good aeration and moderate fertility. It thrives in full sun, receiving at least 6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight per day. Adequate sunlight is essential for promoting strong growth and abundant flowering. Russian Sage is tolerant of a wide range of soil types, including sandy, loamy, or rocky soils, as long as they are well-drained. Avoid planting Russian Sage in areas with poor drainage or standing water, as this can lead to root rot and other problems.

Watering: Russian Sage is drought-tolerant once established and requires minimal supplemental watering. Water young plants regularly during the first growing season to help establish a strong root system. Afterward, water only during prolonged periods of drought or when the soil feels dry to the touch. Overwatering can lead to root rot and other moisture-related problems, so it's essential to allow the soil to dry out between waterings.

Maintenance: Russian Sage is relatively low-maintenance and requires minimal care to thrive. Prune as needed to maintain the desired shape and size, removing any dead, damaged, or leggy growth. Russian Sage can be pruned back hard in late winter or early spring to promote vigorous new growth and prevent the plant from becoming woody or overgrown. Dividing mature clumps every few years can help rejuvenate the plant and improve its overall health and vigor.

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