Little Spire

Perovskia atriplicifolia x
abrotanoides
'Little Spire'
Dwarf Russian Sage


"Your renown
Is as the herb, whose hue doth come & go."

-Dante Alighieri
(1265-1321)

   

The cultivar 'Little Spire' is a semi-dwarf somewhat more compact version of Wild Russian Sage. It grows to only around two or at the most three feet height, which is half the mature size of the species, & though still an airily-branched flower, it is even so more compact than the species, & the spires of flowers are less likely to be tippy.

It is an upright clumping perennial that almost never needs staking. In moderately well-watered sharp-draining soils its growth rate can be swift; it also blooms extremely well in poor, dry soil, but the clump will spread more slowly.

Its many good traits include deer resistant, butterfly & honeybee attractant, good cut flowers, lengthy bloom time early summer into autumn, a pleasant pungence when brushed against, & low maintenance for xeriscape garden or container.

Spicy-scented foliage has a smoky beauty in silvery green or blue-green, holding its looks to the end of autumn. At maturity it is a semi-woody perennial & sometimes attempts to keep a winter presence, though it is usually pretty beat up by winter's end, & may die back altogether if there is a lasting coldsnap. Whatever might be left of it after winter should be pruned to about six inches height before new spring growth begins. At the colder end of its zone tolerances it will more certainly die back in winter, & may call for some mulch for winter protection.

Hardy & elegant, it might be a bit thinly branched to hold a spot as a specimen, but if it is poking skyward out of some shorter flowery perennial, 'Little Spire' is just one of the best fill-in plants imaginable.

An old clump can be divided every few years, but for speedier propagation, four-inch cuttings can be started in pots.

Despite the name Russian Sage, it is not native to Russia, but from Pakistan. It got its name in honor of V. A. Perovskia, a 19th Century Russian general, & instead of Russian Sage should've been called The Russian's Sage.

   



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