Floridata Plant Encyclopedia

A Floridata Plant Profile 719 Perovskia atriplicifolia

Common Names: Russian sage Family: Lamiaceae (mint Family)

Russian sage
This is the Russian sage cultivar 'Longin'.


Russian sage is a deciduous semi-woody subshrub with upright, grayish white stems and lobed, silvery gray leaves to 2 in (5 cm) long and 1 in (2.5 cm) wide. Older stems are woody at the base, and younger stems are herbaceous and square in cross section. The stems and leaves give off a pungent odor when crushed or bruised. In late summer and autumn Russian sage produces 12 in (30.5 cm) spires of small, tubular lavender flowers. Flowering persists for two or three months. Russian sage grows in a clump, 3-5 ft (0.9-1.5 m) tall with a spread of two or three feet, and sometimes falls over, especially if not positioned in full sun.

'Filagren' has finely dissected, almost fernlike leaves; 'Blue Haze' has leaves that are hardly lobed at all; 'Blue Mist' has light blue flowers and blooms earlier in the season; 'Blue Spire' has darker violet flowers; 'Longin' is more upright and less spreading than the species. Any or all of these cultivars may in fact be hybrids between Russian sage and P. abrotanoides.

Russian sage
Russian sage creates a purple haze at the back of this butterfly garden.


Russian sage, Perovskia atriplicifolia, is native to Afghanistan and Pakistan where it grows in gravelly or rocky situations.


Light: Russian sage likes full sun. It will survive in partial shade but it will become leggy and probably need staking. Moisture: Russian sage is fairly drought tolerant. Hardiness: USDA Zones 5 - 9. Russian sage seems to perform best in zones 6-8. Propagation: Start new plants from softwood tip cuttings in spring, or from semi-ripe cuttings with a heel in summer.


Russian sage is at its best in mass plantings. Include a group of Russian sage in a mixed border. The pale gray stems provide a strong vertical element, and are especially appealing in winter when they are leafless. However, Russian sage should be cut back almost to the ground before growth begins in spring since the best flowering occurs on new growth. Russian sage is tolerant of dry, chalky soils with a high pH; and it is salt tolerant and drought tolerant. It is therefore a good shrub to grow in a seaside garden.

Russian sage
Russian sage is used here as a (very attractive) large scale groundcover on a freeway embankment in Kentucky.


Russian sage is easy to grow in full sun in any well drained soil. The grayish stems and leaves provide a fine-textured backdrop for the pale lavender flowers.

Named for a 19th century Russian general, the genus Perovskia includes only seven species. But it is one of some 220 genera in the mint family (Lamiaceae). With more than 5500 species, the mint family is the seventh most diverse plant family, exceeded in number of species by the asters (Asteraceae), the orchids (Orchidaceae), the peas (Fabaceae), the madders (Rubiaceae), the grasses (Poaceae), and the spurges (Euphorbiaceae).

Steve Christman 6/24/00; updated 9/6/03, 7/30/04

Master Plant List

Click here to find plants in our Encyclopedia using the Master Plant List grid. Use this widget to search, sort and filter Floridata's plant database to easily locate Plant Profile pages. Use the dropdown menus to filter the grid to display items matching the selected Plant Type and Feature tags.

Plant Type Tags

tree icon
shrub icon
perennial plant icon
aquatic plant icon
cactus and succulents icon
grass icon
vine icon

Feature Tags

Attracts Birds
Attracts butterflies
Attracts Hummingbirds
Edible Plants
Cutting and Arranging
for pots and containers
drought tolerant plants
grows in wet soils
ornamental fruits
fall color
foliage plants
easy to grow plants
fast growing

Site Search

Use Google to search all of the pages on Floridata including the Plant Profile pages

Perovskia species profiled on Floridata:

Perovskia atriplicifolia

( Russian sage )

More Floridata:

Copyright 2015 Floridata.com LLC