Growing Awesome Russian Sage from Bare Root
Perovskia, or Russian Sage, has been a long-time staple of landscapes and gardens due to its unique texture, airy look, and drought tolerance. Although beautiful, Perovskia atriplicifolia is very tall and tends to lodge. ‘Denim ‘n Lace’ is a new compact Perovskia that resists lodging, is showy in the landscape, and long-lived. Perovskia are easy to grow, but to get great-looking finished plants we have some tips and recommendations.
Potting and Timing
Based on our trials, we recommend planting bare root Perovskia in spring for a quick turn crop. Bare root Perovskia finish well in Premium 1-gallon containers.
When planting, make sure the bare root crown is at the soil line. Spring planted bare root should finish in 6-8 weeks based on 68-72° F growing temperatures. Use a well-drained soil mix composed of bark and peat with a pH of 5.8-6.5.
Perovskia do not require vernalization to bloom, but it is beneficial for a better performing plant. If you receive bare root plants in spring, these will have already been vernalized.
We recommend 75-100ppm Nitrogen constant liquid feed for optimum growth at every watering or incorporating slow release fertilizer at a rate of 1.0-1.25 lbs. per cubic yard of growing media. The recommended EC rate is 1.5-2.0 using the pour-through method.
In the landscape, Perovskia are well-known for being drought tolerant. This is generally true in production and you should grow your plants moderately moist to slightly dry. Perovskia will do well with either drip irrigation or overhead irrigation. Be sure to irrigate in the morning to allow the foliage to dry by evening. Perovskia do not like to remain under wet conditions for a long period of time because it can cause root rot.
Perovskia is day length neutral and does not require artificial lighting to flower. However, high light levels are recommended during the growing season—this is a full sun plant. Grow this crop under clear plastic indoors or in direct sunlight outdoors. Proper lighting will keep your plants more compact; low light levels will cause the plant to stretch.
Grow Perovskia indoors from bare root at 68-72°F. Once finished, these plants can be held at 40-50°F. If grown outdoors in late spring for early summer sales, the weeks to finish will be longer than 6-8 weeks because of the cooler temperatures.
Pests and Diseases
Aphids, leaf hoppers, spider mites, and white flies tend to be the most common pests seen on Perovskia crops. Root rot and stem blight are the most common diseases. Most diseases can be avoided using proper growing practices.
Because of its compactness, ‘Denim ‘n Lace’ does not require as much space as Perovskia atriplicifolia. Good spacing also allows for better airflow which prevents foliar diseases.
Growing from bare root should require no or little pinching.
Starting with a bare root plant in spring, Perovskia will bloom in 10-12 weeks at 68-72°F.
‘Denim ‘n Lace’ does not require PGRs if grown under high light levels and spaced properly. However if you grow under low light levels or do not space properly, you may require PGRs. We recommend 2500ppm Daminozide (B-Nine) as a spray to tone the plant. Generally, the plant height can be controlled with water management and avoiding high fertility levels.