“Russian sage”, Plant of the Month June 2021

Salvia yangii typifies the genus, thriving in extreme heat and actual full sun in zone 9. If you have a spot that gets absolutely scorched during the summer, and you find that the plants boasting ‘heat and drought tolerant’ don’t survive a month – Russian Sage might be your answer. Russian Sage is a deciduous perennial that grows as a form of upright shrub, with panicles of lavender-colored flowers covering the entire plant all summer. The blooms attract pollinators, which absolutely swarm it daily. The long stalks of gray-green foliage have been described as having aroma somewhere between sage and lavender. Interestingly, there is great variation in the exact shape of leaves in sharpness of the lobes, even within community populations. Pruning Russian Sage back to about 12 inches in the early spring helps manage the size to about 3-4 feet, but it looks great even without managing the biomass. Overall, this is sure to be a great addition in your sunny Chico yard!

Contributed by Becky Wheeler-Dykes