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Adding Charm Throughout The Year: Airy Perovskia

Perovskia has a handsome branching habit and looks airy with small grey leaves in spring, blue flowers in summer, and white skeletal branches in fall & winter.

800px-Perovskia_atriplicifolia

Photo: A. Barra

Perovskia atriplicifolia

Perovskia (per- OFF- ski- uh) is known by the common name Russian sage and is native to central Asia.

It is a strong grower though looks delicate. However, it is not aggressive, even though it is a member of the mint family. Its pungent scent is a valuable asset as deer dislike it, and so this is a plant that usually blooms where it is planted.

Growing Tips

Give it plenty of room so that its architectural appeal can be observed from all perspectives. Even the newer dwarf varieties need space around them. Perovskia is classified as a sub shrub and has soft top growth similar to an herbaceous perennial but a woody base.

This is similar to other sub shrubs such as lavender and rosemary, and it is important to remember never to cut into the woody base of a plant that is a sub shrub. In fact, the top growth should be left on the plant through fall and winter and only the top growth should be removed in the spring.

Perovskia has a handsome branching habit, and it looks airy with small grey leaves in the spring, blue flowers in summer, and white branches that look skeletal in fall and winter.

Thus, it has charm through all of the seasons, and even when it is covered with snow it is a major contributor to the garden landscape. Perovskia likes a site with well drained average and dry alkaline soil.

Moya Andrews

, originally from Queensland, Australia, served as Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculties at Indiana University until 2004. In the same year, Moya began hosting Focus on Flowers for WFIU. In addition, Moya does interviews for Profiles, is a member of the Bloomington Hospital Board, and authored Perennials Short and Tall from Indiana University Press.

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