Updated: Aug 19, 2021
The non-cultivar, P. atriplicifolia (above), can reach 5' when in bloom, so we opted for this compact cultivar that only reaches about 3'. Known as Russian sage (although native to the Himalayas and China), this perennial lends an ethereal, impressionistic air to a perennial garden. Designers, including me, have paired it with lavender to enhance the muted colors of gray and lavender. But be careful, too much can become monochromatic without interest. Its airiness lends itself to larger masses combined with similar-sized masses of ornamental grasses, if you can spare the room. If not, one in an appropriately-sized container will add a unique texture to a patio.
Missouri Botanical Garden states that the species epithet, atriplicifolia, comes from leaf that has a similar look to the salt bush, or its Latin name, Atriplex. Maybe the resemblance is from a distance. Closer up, our little spire has deeply cut leaves, lending to the overall effect.
Botanical Name: Perovskia atriplicifolia 'Little Spires'
Common Name: Russian sage
Origin: Parent plant, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran, and Tibet
Sunset Zones: 2-24
Plant Type: Perennial
Optimal Height and Spread: 3' x 3'
Exposure: Full sun
Form: Open, upright
Primary Feature: Gray-green leaves followed by spikes of lavender flowers summer into fall.