Thursday, November 10, 2011

Bluest blue - Russian Sage

This year the Russian sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia) seems more intensely blue than previous years.  Could it be the weather we've had brought out the color more?  

Or perhaps so many other things didn't bloom their best this year and that just makes it seem so much prettier right now.

Russian sage is a great garden plant for many climates.  I've seen it blooming in Colorado even after the first snow of the season.  It's common in Provence to supplement lavender's earlier bloom time.  It does look similar to lavender doesn't it?

Russian sage is less picky than lavender, these plants replaced lavender that didn't do well here.  It works great in this hot island between the sidewalk and the circle drive.

Russian sage loves our full Texas sun.  When planted in morning shade it will flop over and reach for more sun.

It's such a beautiful plant I plan to add as many as I can fit in.


  1. I'd bet it was the hot, dry summer - that is some vibrant flower color! It is duller and floppy w/ more humidity, cloud cover and rain.

    But it is gray and drab in the cool season...also spreads and reseeds here, after a while. I might like it more, if it were not both overused and poorly used in Abq.

  2. My gardening friends also tell me that many of my favorites are overused, reseed, invasive. What's left? This makes a good discussion.

    Reseeding is not much of a problem here yet, with so much ground to cover I'd even look forward to it.

    I get the poorly used part. An office building that has them all in a row without much else. Not interesting much of the time and for some reason theirs are still paler blue this year.

    I'll never be a native plant purist or a foliage only gardener. The blue looks great here when everything else is brown. Always mixed with other plants is best. If they stop looking good, I'll replace them.

    There's my rant...probably should be a post.

    Thanks, David, for making me think.:-)

  3. I love the Russian sage...mine doesn't get enough sun so is floppy and reaching for more but I still like it in the garden. I was just out this morning taking a photo of it. It's drooping over the orange zinnia and the combo of orange and purple is so pretty to my eye. I only wish I had the sun for it; yours is gorgeous.

    My white mistflower buds have a pink tinge to them this year but when fully opened they are white. The yellow/white firecracker fern also has a pinkish/red tinge to the flowers. Maybe the early freeze last week? It's an anomaly!

  4. I've never been able to grow lavender. This could be a good substitute. I have a perfect hot, dry, sunny spot for it.

    And, deer don't eat it....I think. Never know with these deer. They're 'trimming' the autumn sage a bit now.

  5. Cat - Thanks, your white mistflower is very pretty. I'll look for that one, I need more neutrals. Orange and purple are a great combo.

    Linda - The Russian sage in the back yard is right where the deer browse almost daily and so far not a nibble. They ate two agave pups planted in with them while ignoring the R. sage. It's not an expensive plant, so give one a try.

  6. I have always seen the perovskia an intense blue when traveling in the west. I think it is the clear sun. Mine has never been quite that blue because it is often past its best by the time we get these clear blu skies. I do love it though. Never have to do anything to it but cut it back to the ground in the spring. Interesting to hear that the deer don't eat. I will try some out in my deer areas.

  7. LR - Clear sun does seem right. The perovskia I saw blooming in CO a few years ago was such an intense blue I had to look closer to confirm it was the same plant. Their skies are clearer than ours much of the time. Our weather fronts have mostly pushed the clouds away except the last few days.

  8. Yours looks great. Is it a dwarf? When I was in the nursery recently, I noticed that they had a dwarf form that was supposed to stand more upright. It sounded tempting since I don't have room for the full sized plant.

  9. Hi Abbey, thanks. It's not a dwarf and last year was quite tall and less intense. It has started growing taller, fading and looking more standard. I read that the color is supposed to start out light and intensify but these were opposite this year.

  10. I was in Colorado last weekend for visit with my son and my hotel had 3 super large Russian Sages in the landscape surrounding the hotel. I know some say they are invasive, but I hope mine gets as large and intensely colorful as those in Colorado Springs. I`ll post a picture some Wednesday.


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