Monrovia.com uses the following description for Russian Sage “Tall, airy, spike-like clusters create a lavender-blue cloud of color above the finely textured aromatic foliage. This vigorous, hardy, heat loving and drought tolerant plant resists deer and pests. A superb companion for perennials, succulents and ornamental grasses.” That pretty much sums it up.
This bushy perennial has nothing to do with Russia by the way, but is a favorite amongst butterfly gardeners. Very low maintenance. If anything too much attention (like watering and fertilizing) can have a negative effect on the plant. Russian Sage enjoys plenty of sunlight and soil that is not overly soft. It is a plant that will do well in clay based soils so long as there is sufficient drainage
Like Salvia, it is wise to not plant Russian Sage near a downspout or low laying area in the garden. If Russian Sage gets too much water, especially early in the season, the woody stems will not develop and the plant will droop and lay on the ground like a cluster of purple noodles
Russian Sage has hard, woody stems that should be cut back in the fall. However, during the blooming season (May – September) the plant does not require any trimming or deadheading. The aromatic purple blooms will take care of themselves.
Bees and butterflies both love Russian Sage. I have seen as many as 30 bees hovering around one plant at a time. I would not call this a hummingbird magnet. After owning Russian Sage for two years I am yet to see a hummingbird feeding at one.
Expect the plant to get about four feet tall and four feet wide – as early as the first year when planted. Russian Sage can also withstand most winter weather.
I like to pull my fingertips gently across the purple blooms and smell the pungent aroma. It has a very distinct and strong smell, like rosemary
So if you have the room and are looking for a lovely plant to add to your garden that requires little attention, and is very forgiving to gardener errors – the Russian Sage is for you.
Available at any nursery or large home improvement store.