Pruning is an important part of Russian sage maintenance. Tackle Russian sage pruning with confidence. Pruning: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. I did not do that. Sterilize the … When new spring growth emerges, cut the old stems back to just above the lowest set of leaves. It may also protect the plant in a particularly hard winter as it … In 1995, Russian sage received the Perennial Plant of the Year award, and rightly so. This hardy perennial is a prized medicinal plant in the Far East. But they are very hardy, and cutting them down to the ground shouldn’t hurt them. Proper spring Russian sage pruning prepares the way for a spectacular flower show. Getting a Step 2: Cut right above the new leaves – Using pruning shears or precision pruning snips, cut back the old stem right above the spot where the new foliage is growing. Before we start, I want to mention that there are different types of Russian sage plants. Like I mentioned above, you can’t kill Russian sage by over pruning it, so you really don’t have to be careful. If you’re doing your garden clean-up well before the last average frost date, leave 18 inches in place. When Russian sage is pruned to about 18 inches tall, some stubs of dead stems may remain. It is useful in container gardening, and a single plant in a large container brings color and fragrance to patios, decks and terraces. The straight species grows 3 to 5 feet tall and 2 to 4 feet wide. The plant looks pretty uniform. So it’s important to learn how to cut back Russian sage to keep it looking its best all summer long. Russian sage, Perovskia atriplicifolia, is an attractive plant with elongate, gray-green leaves and square, silvery-gray stems that produces an airy cloud of color late in the summer.The tiny, purple-blue, tubular flowers are arranged in whorls along long stems. For the average gardener, pruning Russian sage typically occurs on the ends of the growing season—near the start and finish. Learn the two best techniques to cut back Russian sage in spring. So, I’ve included step-by-step instructions for how to cut back Russian sage using this method below…. It’s perfectly fine to rejuvenate a Russian sage shrub that’s several years old by cutting it to the ground. The Russian sage is a popular plant for home gardens with warm climates, particularly sandy soils with low amounts of moisture. I find it easier to wait until the leaves have started growing before I prune mine so I know exactly where to cut. While pruning, cut off any dead branches and keep the inner rows of branches as tidy as possible. Is it too late? In areas with long growing seasons, pruning Russian sage immediately after flowering can promote a second flush of bloom. Russian sage is a beautiful perennial with small blue flowers that is neither Russian nor sage.Though it has the aroma of sage when the leaves are crushed, the plant is inedible and actually can be quite poisonous. Just gather up the twigs in one hand and prune them all off evenly with the other. In spring, new growth emerges on Russian sage from two places: stems and the plant crown, the growing point where roots and stem tissue meet. So the dead twigs that are sticking out above the leaves in the spring will be there all summer if you don’t prune it. In milder winters, stems may die back part way. At the end of the flowering season in cold regions, when flowers have faded and a killing frost has occurred, clip Russian sage stems back to 18 inches. Required fields are marked *. This bush produces panicles of small, bluish-lavender flowers throughout the summer. This provides winter interest in your garden. Prune the plants back halfway once they reach 12 inches. All content found on this website is copyrighted materials and any form of reproduction is strictly prohibited. Many times the dead branches will break off easily, so you can just snap them off at the base if that’s easier. 48" tall x 48" wide (cutting propagated). To see how the different pruning methods affect Russian sage … Spanish broom and Russian sage should be pruned during the dormant season if large stems are removed. Fertilize in early spring and prune to within several inches above the ground to promote dense growth and heavy bloom. Avoid wet, poorly drained soils. This semi-woody plant was named Perennial Plant of the Year in 1995 by the Perennial Plant Association. Pruning Russian sage is super easy! I have a Russian sage about 3 or 4 feet tall. Follow these step-by-step instructions to learn how to prune Russian sage plants. Early spring pruning is a good time to shape it if you want a nicely formed, rounded plant. Noteworthy Characteristics. I live and garden in Minneapolis, MN (zone 4b). (Answer) Although some gardeners cut back their Russian Sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia) plants in the fall, it is better to leave the plant over the winter and cut them back in the spring. But don’t worry! But don’t worry, if you accidentally knock off a few, it’s really not a big deal. Your email address will not be published. You can prune out the dead growth any time, you won’t harm the plant. There are three techniques you can use for pruning Russian sage. So, no matter which variety you have, you can follow these steps. ‘Blue Spire’ Russian sage tends to grow more upright than the species with stems that reach 2 to 3 feet tall and wide. I’m a passionate gardener who loves growing everything from vegetables, herbs, and flowers to succulents, tropicals, and houseplants - you name, I've grown it! They are grown for their attractive foliage and flowers. Plus there are three pruning techniques you can choose from. How To Prune Chives & Deadhead The Flowers, How To Prune Tomatoes For Maximum Production, Lasagna Gardening 101: How To Make A Lasagna Garden, 7 Easy DIY Potting Soil Recipes To Mix Your Own, How To Make Potting Soil For Indoor Plants, Terms Of Use, Disclaimer & Privacy Policy. Pruning is not part of Russian sage propagation, although taking tip cuttings might qualify as a pruning activity by true botanists. Join the party! Prune your Russian sage plant in early spring before new growth emerges, about six weeks after the last predicted frost date for your region. Russian Sage before pruning Now that we know the right way to prune Russian Sage, I’ll let you in on a little secret. They will grow back. It sounds to me like your Russian sage isn’t getting enough water. I would try watering more often to see if it recovers. Cut your Russian sage back to about 4 inches above the ground. Russian Sage (Perovskia) has taken the gardening world by storm, rising from obscurity to enormous popularity in the past decade. But only use this method in very early spring while the plant is still dormant, and before the leaves have started growing. But don’t worry, these pruning tips work for all of them! Plants resemble lavender when in full color. That is usually towards the bottom of the stem, but it can be much farther up on some stems. Prune russian sage back in early or mid-spring. In warmer regions, deadheading may result in a second flush of bloom. Otherwise, wait to do a hard prune in late winter or very early spring. It is not advisable to prune sage during the fall or winter. Not to be outdone by its flowers, the plant's stems and foliage make a strong statement of their own, perhaps even outstrippi… My tallest, about 2-1/2 ft, with about six stalks. ‘Denim ‘n Lace’ tames the tall and floppy growth of traditional Russian sage with a compact 28- to 32-inch height. Prune sage in the springtime. Pruning is an important part of Russian sage care, and it helps to keep your plants growing and looking their best. Foot-long flower heads infuse strong drama into plantings. Russian sage is a low-maintenance, drought-tolerant shrub, making it a great choice for xeriscaping. Learn which mums you can count on to color your landscape for years to come. Thinning the plant and pinching back represent the types of pruning that should be used to control Russian sage growth and flowering. Prune the plants to 6 inches above the soil surface in spring, as new growth provides the best flowering. Pruning Russian Sage The ideal time as to when to prune the sage depends on how you want to use the plant. I've learned I should have pruned the sage in winter as it went dormant. The plant's vigorous root system helps it withstand scorching-hot summers and dry spells. Privacy Policy. Hummm, I’m not sure what that could be. RUSSIAN SAGE CARE Water: Water regularly during the first growing season to establish a deep root system. You can then be more conservative the following year, then cut it to the ground again some time in the future. I moved in here last year and did not know how to take care of the plants. It can seem daunting at first, but once you get the hang of pruning Russian sage, your plants will grow stronger and fuller—and stage a prettier flower show. Nope, it should grow back just fine. ‘Longin’ is a compact Russian sage … Spruce up your outdoor space with products handpicked by HGTV editors. © 2020 Discovery or its subsidiaries and affiliates. Russian sage, Perovskia atriplicifolia, is a plant that was tailor-made for Colorado’s climate and growing conditions.An import from central Asia, Russian sage thrives in our high, dry climate, bright sunshine and alkaline soils. Or you can leave them longer if you don’t care about the shape of the plant. 'Blue Spires' Russian Sage, a European cultivar, is a vigorous, well-shaped grower with attractive dark-blue flower spikes. Method 1: Cut it down to the ground – If your Russian sage is really woody and hasn’t been pruned before, then you might want to try cutting it all the way down to the ground. Try to make the cut as close to the leaves as you can, any part of the dead branch that is sticking out will be there all summer. You can use any of the three methods every year for all the different Russian sage varieties. Had blooms. Many gardeners choose to prune their russian sage annually in order to make the plant grow bushier as a result. Cut plants back by half to encourage rebloom. The fuzzy flowers are whorled around silver-gray stems, forming an unusual and eye-catching scene. Pruning is not part of Russian sage propagation, although taking tip cuttings might qualify as a pruning activity by true botanists. It’s wise to leave stems in place in the coldest areas where Russian sage is hardy—Zones 4 and 5. Bev. The following is a guide to the dangers of growing Russian sage. Pinch back long, sparse stems with few flowers. After plants become established, they tolerate drought without complaint and rarely need supplemental watering. This will rejuvenate the plant so it will grow fuller and bushier. Thank you! Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. The flowers form on new wood -- branches that grew during the current season. With its airy spires of small, purple-blue flowers and finely-cut, gray-green foliage on upright, grayish-white stems, Russian sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia) adds a haze of color to the garden from midsummer into fall, blending well with just about any other flower color. It’s also important to know that Russian sage won’t grow back at the tips of the plant after the winter, and the branches die back towards the bottom of the plant. Thanks for any help you can give me. pruning Russian sage. If any of the branches are sticking out a lot higher than others, then you can cut them back to the same length so the plant is shapely. Russian sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia) is a hardy, drought-resistant member of the mint family, though it grows with a slightly woody, shrub-like habit not unlike garden sage (Salvia officinalis). Step 3: Remove any dead branches – If you find dead branches that don’t have any new leaves on them, you can cut those down to the ground. If you don’t prune Russian sage, the plant will become very overgrown and woody, which doesn’t look very nice. When it comes to pruning plants, Russian sage is one of the easiest to do. Easily grown in average to lean, fast-draining soils. Read More... Hi Amy! Last fall, Bought and planted a few Denim & Lace variety. Once established, Russian sage is drought-tolerant. When they’re small, the new leaves are very delicate and can break off easily, so be careful. Suddenly it appears to be drying up a d dying 🙁 I’m in zone 9b, warm and dry. They are hardy plants, but if it’s dry, hot, and sunny, they may start to suffer without adequate water. Russian sage is hardy in Zones 4 to 9. I told you pruning Russian sage would be easy. 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Since you can’t over-prune a Russian sage bush, you don’t have to worry about exactly where to make your cuts. Method 3: Wait for new growth before pruning it – This is my preferred method, but it’s also the most tedious. Get our best gardening advice and outdoor ideas delivered straight to your inbox. Something is mushroom shaped growth at the base of my Russian sage. In warmer regions it may not die back much, if at all, during the winter months. If all danger of frost has passed, clip stems to 12 inches or shorter. Take off with these rocket-shaped flowers. The best part is that you don’t have to worry about over doing it, you can’t kill a Russian sage shrub by over-pruning. My green thumb comes from my parents, and I've been gardening most of my life. I also like to use precision pruning snips for smaller branches and tips if I’m working around tender new leaves. I’d prune it off at the ground with a pair of hand shears or an electric trimmer. My brand new book Vertical Vegetables is now available for purchase!! Pinching back involves using your fingernail to press into the plant stem to remove individual flowers. Did I do harm to them? In areas with mild winters, tackle pruning Russian sage after flowers fade and when winter settles in. How To Prune Russian Sage. There you have it! Russian sage stems are woody, and can be pretty thick in spots, so I recommend using pruning shears for the job. If your Russian sage leaves have already started growing, then use methods 2 or 3 instead, and wait until next spring to cut it all the way back. Whatever garden pruning tools you use, just be sure they are always cleaned and sharpened before you start cutting. This makes pruning a necessity as it exceeds the space allotted to it. This colorful perennial is great for a mixed perennial border or cottage garden. If your Russians sage plant is small like mine or it’s immature, then it’s best to hand prune it like I do. If your plants tend to flop during the summer you can cut them a second time. Perovskia is a genus of 7 species of deciduous shrubs from Central Asia to the Himalayas. Any ideas? For the average gardener, pruning Russian sage typically occurs on the ends of the growing season—near the start and finish. Water deeply, regularly during the first growing season to establish an extensive root system; once established, reduce frequency. Asked May 21, 2013, 3:03 PM EDT. The gardener ended up cutting off most of the dead material. Learn how to plant Russian sage and use his drought-tolerant perennial. I just got my Russian Sage this spring! Botanical name: Perovskia atriplicifolia ‘Denim ‘n Lace’. Spring and summer care for Russian sage consists mainly of pruning. Sterilize pruning shear blades by wiping them with a cloth that was dipped in rubbing alcohol, and prune all Russian sage stems to 6-inches tall in spring before new growth appears. Pruning Russian Sage & Whitefly Control. Russian sage forms a purple haze in gardens starting in mid- to late summer with its purple spires of bloom. Before and after pruning Russian sage, sterilize pruning shear blades by wiping them with a cloth dipped in rubbing alcohol. In fact, you want to be aggressive with large shrubs. How do you cut back Russian sage? Step 1: Look for the new growth – Find the spot on the branch where the new leaves have started growing. Remove the growing tips and the first leaves behind the flower. You can use this technique every year to make pruning easier if you want, it won’t hurt the plant. When using this method, cut large plants back to about a foot high. Its long blooming period is valued by those who seek a flower bed that remains in bloom throughout the growing season. Little water daily and sees Sun all morning until late afternoon. Aug 10, 2016 - Learn about pruning Russian sage, including a few tips on Russian sage propagation, from the experts at HGTV Gardens. You don’t have to be very careful here, if you cut too low on the plant, it’s not going to hurt it. Here’s an example of a plant that was pruned to about 18 inches tall before the new growth emerged. Just came across your sight! Pruning will make way for tender new growth that will be vulnerable to the cold and may be damaged or killed. Yes, if you prune the tips, it will make your Russian sage branch out more. Quite helpful! My others are still fairly small. Overgrown Russian sage can get straggly looking, but the plants can be revived with timely pruning … We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees through links to Amazon.com. In a hard winter, all of the aboveground stems on Russian sage may be killed, and all new growth emerges from the crown. Add easy-care beauty to your yard by growing lantana—you won’t be disappointed. If you have a large shrub, you can use hedge shears or an electric hedge trimmer to make pruning easier. This plant is extremely forgiving; most landscapers on the island use the “Hair Cut” method of pruning. Depending on your strategy of using it as a flower or a sub-shrub you should prune around early spring or mid-September, the extent of the pruning depending … Hardy in Zones 4-9. Many thanks for the Russian Sage info its just what I was looking for as I only planted them this year and our winter in the UK is fast approaching so I was wondering how to deal with the plants when winter arrives. In this instance, new growth on a Russian sage would emerge from both the stems and the crown. I pulled it out last year and it seemed to kill half the plant….it is bigger now and the plant seems to have shrunk. As Russian sage matures through the growing season, stems shift from being green, tender and succulent to having a woody component. It is probably 2 ft tall only 2 branches – wondering if I should cut them both back so they will stool out? As you have observed, the Spanish broom becomes quite large and is often not given a large enough planting site. With semi-woody stems, this member of the mint family is drought tolerant and trouble-free. Or skip this pruning and leave stems intact through winter to add interest to winter garden scenery. If you’re growing Russian sage plant (Perovskia atriplicifolia) in your garden, then you know how bad they can look after the winter. Use this method in very early spring pruning is not part of Russian sage the ideal time as when... New spring growth emerges, cut the old stems back to 12 inches where to cut back Russian sage hardy—Zones! After flowering can promote a second flush of bloom a deep root system like use! Plant and pinching back represent the types of pruning back halfway once they reach 12 or... 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Very delicate and can be pretty thick in spots, so be careful that should be pruned during proper...