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Looking for Alternative for Russian Sage

Posted by lovefornature 5B IL (My Page) on
Mon, Oct 22, 07 at 15:05

Over the weekend, I was out of the state and seen some Russian Sage (someone had to tell me what it was, first time I ever seen) and thought it was beautiful.

I came home and looked it up and noticed it was not a native.

Is there an alternative native shrub that shows like Russian Sage that would be perennial in my zone (Zone 5B, IL)? and.....not invasive.

Thanks all from the newbiee here :)

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Looking for Alternative for Russian Sage

I am glad someone is concerned about Russian Sage being invasive. I have seen it spread to wild areas in several states, and I am sure that in a few years there will be Russian Sage eradication programs out west. Every non-native plant brought to this continent is one more roll of the dice to see if we have another purple loosestrife, cheat grass, or kudzu.

Enough preaching to the choir... I think that Pitcher Sage (Salvia azurea) might be a nice substitute for Russian Sage. Pitcher sage is native to your area, and has a similar light blue color. I have not grown it myself, so i don't have any firsthand tips on how to grow it.

RE: Looking for Alternative for Russian Sage

Russian sage isn't a shrub, it's a woody perennial. Trust me, you don't want it. They spread everywhere and are impossible to kill off. It laughs at Round-Up.

Vernonia fasciculata (Ironweed) is a wonderful plant as is Verbena hostata. Both bloom a pretty purple color (though not the same exact color) for a good long time. Liatris pycnostachya is another. All are good butterfly nectar plants.

Salvia azurea is s spotty native in IL, based on the USDA site and looking thru various other sites for native plants in IL.

Here is a link that might be useful: USDA

RE: Looking for Alternative for Russian Sage

Try one of the large, native salvias - I've seen some growing here in the Wash DC area and from a distance they look just like russian sage...but sorry, I don't know the specific names....BTW, I grow russian sage in my garden and it's not invasive-behaving for me at all - it does well in our dry, humid summers here - Eric

RE: Looking for Alternative for Russian Sage

I also thought Russian Sage would be that wonder plant we are always in search of, and it played out that way here in our arid high desert with subzero winter temps. I became alarmed when it became somewhat invasive in a garden setting, but what really caused me to strike it from my preferred plant list was when it began showing up in our native desert landscape. It did seem to respond well to Round-up, especially when mixed with 2-4-D!

RE: Looking for Alternative for Russian Sage

Hehe, for me, the problem with Russian sage is its very ubiquity. In other words, I find it woefully overused in the trade, along with such other (to me) boring plants like feather reed grass, knockout roses, et al. Just my personal opinion. My wife wanted us to plant some RS in our home garden. This is where I had to put my professional horticulturist foot down and say 'no more'! Really sick of that thing.

I think the Salvia ideas might get you close.


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