Native Garden

Ernest Righetti High School


Blue Spire Sage - Perovskia

Category: Perennial
Family: Lamiaceae (Labiatae) (Mints)
Origin: Pakistan (Asia)
Flower Color: Lavender Blue
Bloomtime: Summer/Fall

Perovskia 'Blue Spire' (Russian Sage) - This is a hardy, upright multi-stemmed, sub-shrub or deciduous perennial that grows to 3 to 4 feet tall (to 5' if well watered) with stems that are thin, white and covered with finely-divided feathery olive-green leaves, which emit a pleasant aroma when touched. The light fuzzy clusters of small lavender-blue flowers appear summer through early fall along the coast. Cut back to the lowest buds (nearly to the ground) in late fall as the plant tries to go dormant (leaves can linger here in our mild climate) or in early spring prior to new growth emerging. It prefers full sun and well-drained soil with occasional summer watering, though it is a tough plant that is resistant to drought, heat, pests and poor soils. It is hardy to USDA Zone 5a (-20°F). It is resistant to deer browsing and the flowers attract butterflies and honeybees and are nice in floral arrangements. This plant was originally received by Notcutts Nurseries of Suffolk, England from Germany. They named it and first exhibited it to the Royal Horticultural Society in 1961. It is thought to be a Perovskia atriplicifola cultivar or a hybrid between P. atriplicifola and P. abrotanoides. It received the Perennial Plant Association's Plant of the Year award in 1995 and we have grown it continuously since 1989. The name Russian Sage is a bit of a misnomer. Perovskia is closely related to the genus Salvia (sages) but comes from southern Asia from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran east to China and was named for Russian General and Count, Vasily Alekseevich Perovsky, who campaigned in central Asia in the 1850s.  This description is based on our research and observations made of this plant as it grows in our nursery, in the nursery garden and in other gardens that we have visited. We will also incorporate comments received from others and always appreciate getting feedback of any kind from those who have some additional information about this plant, in particular if this information is contrary to what we have written or if they have additional cultural tips that would aid others in growing Perovskia 'Blue Spire'.

San Marcos GROWERS

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