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Growing Russian Sage from Bare Root in Containers

Russian Sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia) is a favorite for its unique texture, airy look, and impressive drought tolerance. While the classic Perovskia can be tall and prone to lodging, newer varieties like 'Denim 'n Lace' offer a more compact, well-behaved form. Here is a guide to ensure your bare-root Perovskia thrives:

Planting for Success:

  • Timing: Plant bare-root Perovskia in spring for a faster turnaround (around 8 weeks).
  • Containers: Use well-drained, 1-gallon containers filled with a bark and peat mix (pH 5.8-6.5).
  • Planting Depth: Ensure the bare root crown sits at the soil line.

Spring-planted Perovskia:

  • Reaches maturity in 6-8 weeks at 68-72°F growing temperatures.
  • No vernalization (cold treatment) required for flowering.


  • Provide a constant liquid feed of 75-100 ppm nitrogen or incorporate slow-release fertilizer (1.0-1.25 lbs per cubic yard).
  • Maintain a pour-through EC of 1.5-2.0.


  • Despite its drought tolerance, water moderately to slightly dry in containers.
  • Use drip or overhead irrigation, allowing foliage to dry by evening.
  • Avoid prolonged wet conditions to prevent root rot.


  • Perovskia is a full-sun plant and does not require extra lighting to flower.
  • Grow indoors under clear plastic or outdoors in direct sunlight for a compact habit (low light causes stretching).


  • Grow indoors at 68-72°F and harden off to 40-50°F after finishing.
  • Outdoor planting in late spring may take longer than 8 weeks due to cooler temperatures.

Pests and Diseases:

  • Watch for aphids, leaf hoppers, spider mites, and whiteflies.
  • Proper growing practices can help prevent root rot and stem blight.

Finishing Touches:

  • Spacing: 'Denim 'n Lace' requires less space than Perovskia atriplicifolia. Good air circulation reduces foliar disease risk.
  • Pinching: Bare-root Perovskia generally needs minimal or no pinching.
  • Forcing: Expect blooms in 10-12 weeks at 68-72°F from a spring-planted bare-root.
  • PGRs (Plant Growth Regulators): Unnecessary with proper spacing and high light. If needed, use a spray like 2500 ppm Daminozide (B-Nine) for height control. Water management and avoiding high fertility levels can often suffice.

By following these tips, you can transform bare-root Perovskia into beautiful, thriving Russian Sage for your garden or production.

If there are no plants listed, we may be sold out this season.