Perovskia atriplicifolia - Russian sage

Origin and Distribution

Russian sage is native to the steppes in the Near East. They belong to the labiate family and are thus related to sage, thyme and lavender.


Russian sage is an upright half shrub with loosely overhanging branches. It has slender, rod-like shaped and grey, felty shoots. Russian sage can reach a height of 1 m in total. The pinnate leaves can be 3 to 6 cm long and have an aromatic scent. Starting in the middle of July numerous purple-blue flower spikes appear in great abundance.

Interesting Facts

Russian Sage is named after W. Aleksiewitch Perowski, who was the governor of the Russian province Orenburg.

Garden Design

Russian sage is a valuable late season flowering shrub with a long lasting florescence period from July until October. The blue-silvery character of the plant can easily be combined with other plants with silver-grey foliage. Those combinations will even intensify the strong look of Russian Sage. Woody plants like oleaster, willow-leaved pear, buddleja and lavender are perfect partners for Russian sage. Arrangements with silver-grey grasses, like blue fescue or blue oatgrass and pink-coloured lavatera or roses will create a perfect image in the garden.

It is worth mentioning, that Russian sage is not only a feast for the eyes, but is also very attractive for bumblebees, hoverflies, butterflies and bees.

Russian sage has to be cut back to their base every year (preferably in the early spring time), as they blooming on one year old shoots. They often freeze to the ground in winter, but will grow nicely anyways in springtime.

Russian sage likes warm, dry and sunny spots. They can handle heat and drought very well, but are sensitive to moisture in winter times and like to be protected with foliage in the first couple of years after planting.