Russian Ghost of Summer’s Past

I was outside on Tuesday afternoon walking around the yard while a thirty minute window in the clouds opened to allow the sun to shine down. It was a short respite from the rainy weather but this time of year any respite is a good respite. While walking about I was struck by how white the stalks of the Russian sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia) were. They were ghosts of their former selves but not unattractive. Wispy multi-branched stems rest in front of the hollies in the front porch garden and along the front sidewalk garden patiently waiting for the growing season to begin.

I have never considered them as plants for winter interest but perhaps I should.  The pale ghostly white shade of the branches would be very unique planted next to the bright red of a red twig dogwood. They will need a pruning before they start growing but for now I’m enjoying my garden ghosts.  I may have to try and see a how a few more propagated Russian sages would look like in the Winter Garden.  Their summer color is fantastic and I’m always looking for a good excuse to propagate a few more!

15 thoughts on “Russian Ghost of Summer’s Past

  1. Frances

    Hi Dave, HA, *any respite is good respite*, you are such a card! And you ain’t seen nothin’ yet! You are so right about the white ghosts and against the red twig would be a fine combo! That very brief window of sun came to us too yesterday, way too brief but a reminder of how the light CAN look. I should have run out with the camera, but didn’t of course. If it happens today, I will.

  2. Dave

    To say I like Russian sage is an understatement!


    I clip them back to around 6-8 inches in the spring. If the stems have buds on them I try to leave some branching ones to help them grow more full and faster.

  3. jodi

    They do look fabulous, Dave. Russian sage, however, hates me, or more specifically, it hates our soil and our cold wet springs. I’ve tried it in all kinds of spots around the yard, but even if the soil drains well it seems to decide it hates it here and expires. I’ve tried four or five times, and now I just enjoy others vicariously.

  4. Dave


    Too bad! It’s such a fun plant and has a great aroma on its leaves. You walk past it and it’s sage like smell brushes against you. We have much warmer weather here and it seems to be very happy. Maybe planting it near some stone or with stone mulch would help?

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