Growth Habit: Russian sage is a tall plant, 3-5 feet in height with a spread of 2-3 feet. Gray-green foliage is reminiscent of lavender, as is the color of the flowers borne on tall panicles that have an airy, textured feel. Plants create a woody base over time that should be cut back in early spring.
Staking: Though Russian sage is a tall plant, it is not normally staked. Locating it in a very sunny position will create a strong plant that will not flop over.
Watering: Exceptionally drought hardy when mature, Russian sage does require a regular watering schedule during the first year in your garden to ensure a deep, drought-resistant root system. At that time, allow it to dry out between waterings. It should not be overwatered in following years, and will perish in soils that are not well-draining.
Fertilizing: Additional fertilizing is not necessary, though it can benefit from a light top-dressing of compost in the spring.
Mulching: Mulching can be used in the winter to protect vulnerable plants, however mulching is not necessary for Russian sage during the growing season. If mulching is required for aesthetic reasons, mulch lightly and keep mulch away from the crown of the plant. Consider using gravel or creating a gravel garden with other drought tolerant plants.
Trimming & Pruning: Deadheading will not affect bloom time for Russian sage, however it should be cut back each year in early spring to approximately 12-15” above the ground. In the winter landscape it is a visual bonus, offering a ghostly, airy appearance on frosty mornings.
In colder northern climates, the plant may die back completely to the ground and can benefit from being cut back in fall after the first frost and lightly mulched for protection with straw or garden debris.