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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:

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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.


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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


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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


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