is not a salvia, or true sage, but the grey-green of its foliage, its aromatic qualities and purple flowers are certainly similar to that large genus.
The Latin genus name, Perovskia is one that many gardeners enjoy learning, as it seems to impart an immediate Russian accent to the speaker, and virtually trips off the tongue. That name commemorates a 19th century Russian general, and not as many think, the country itself.
Russian Sage is native to Central Asia through to the Himalayas, and is therefore a lover of dry, rocky sites and alkaline soils – a terrific choice for the water-conscious gardener.
The almost shrub-like habit of Russian Sage gives it a unique presence in the landscape. Use it to create a backdrop for other traditional garden flowers to grow through it in garden beds, or to stand as a hedge or small shrub in its own right, providing an airy texture and cottagey feel to heavier plantings.
Site it right for success
The biggest enemy of Russian Sage is wet feet. It doesn’t tolerate those conditions during the growing season and will stumble along weakly, often succumbing to root rot. In the winter, these conditions are an absolute death sentence – rotting the roots and destroying the plant.