How to Propagate Russian Sage?

Russian sage, scientifically known as Perovskia atriplicifolia, is a striking perennial plant prized for its ethereal silver-gray foliage and clusters of vibrant lavender-blue flowers. If you’re passionate about gardening and wish to multiply the beauty of Russian sage throughout your garden, learning how to propagate it is the key. This comprehensive guide will take you through the art of propagating Russian sage, providing step-by-step instructions and insights into various methods to successfully expand your garden with this elegant perennial.

Russian Sage Propagation

  • The Essence of Propagation: Propagation is the process of creating new plants from existing ones. For Russian sage, propagation opens up possibilities to nurture more of these enchanting perennials without having to purchase additional plants.
  • Methods and Timing: Russian sage can be propagated through several methods, each suited to different seasons. The timing of your propagation efforts can significantly impact success, so understanding these methods is crucial.

As we explore the intricacies of Russian sage propagation, you’ll gain insights into softwood and hardwood cuttings, division, and growing from seeds. Each method offers a unique approach to multiplying the grace and allure of Russian sage in your garden, ensuring you can enjoy its beauty in various corners of your outdoor sanctuary.

Softwood Cuttings

  • Selecting Cuttings: Softwood cuttings are best taken in early summer when the plant’s new growth is still soft and flexible. Look for healthy stems without any signs of disease or damage.
  • Preparing Cuttings: Using clean, sharp pruning shears, take 4 to 6-inch cuttings from the tips of young, green stems. Remove any lower leaves, leaving only a few at the top.
  • Applying Rooting Hormone: Dip the cut end of each cutting in a rooting hormone powder or gel. This helps stimulate root development.
  • Planting: Plant the prepared cuttings in a well-draining potting mix or sand. Ensure that at least two-thirds of the cutting is buried, and gently firm the soil around them.
  • Maintaining Moisture: Keep the soil consistently moist, but avoid waterlogging. You can cover the cuttings with a plastic bag or a plastic dome to create a humid environment and retain moisture.
  • Rooting Time: Softwood cuttings typically root within a few weeks to a couple of months. You’ll know they have rooted when you see new growth.
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Hardwood Cuttings

  • Timing: Hardwood cuttings are best taken in late fall or early winter when the plant is dormant.
  • Selecting Cuttings: Choose healthy, woody stems that are about the thickness of a pencil. Cut them into 4 to 6-inch sections, making sure each cutting has several nodes.
  • Preparing Cuttings: Dip the cut end of each hardwood cutting in rooting hormone to encourage root growth.
  • Planting: Insert the cuttings into a well-draining potting mix or sand, burying at least two-thirds of each cutting. Place them in a sheltered location.
  • Overwintering: Hardwood cuttings need time to develop roots. Overwinter them in a protected area or cold frame, ensuring they remain moist but not waterlogged.
  • Transplanting: In spring, once the weather warms and the cuttings have rooted, you can transplant them into their permanent garden location.

These methods of propagating Russian sage, whether through softwood or hardwood cuttings, offer you the opportunity to multiply this lovely perennial and share its beauty with different areas of your garden or with fellow gardening enthusiasts. Each method requires a bit of patience and care, but the reward of watching new Russian sage plants flourish is well worth the effort.


  • Timing for Division: The best times for dividing Russian sage are in the spring or early fall when the plant is not actively blooming.
  • Digging and Separating: Carefully dig up the mature Russian sage plant, ensuring you lift the entire root ball. Once you have the plant out of the ground, gently separate the root clumps into smaller sections. Each section should have healthy roots and shoots.
  • Planting Divisions: Replant the divided sections in well-prepared soil, making sure they are at the same depth as they were previously. Water thoroughly to help settle the soil and remove air pockets.
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Growing from Seeds

  • Seed Collection: Collect mature Russian sage seeds in late summer or early fall. Look for dried flower heads that have gone to seed.
  • Preparing Seeds: Extract the seeds from the dried flower heads. Be sure to store them in a cool, dry place until you’re ready to plant.
  • Sowing: You can sow Russian sage seeds directly in your garden bed in late fall or early spring. Ensure that the soil is well-prepared and that you plant the seeds at the recommended depth on the seed packet.
  • Germination and Transplanting: Russian sage seeds may take several weeks to germinate. Once they’ve grown large enough, thin the seedlings as needed, and transplant them to their desired garden locations.


Propagating Russian sage allows you to celebrate this breathtaking perennial in various corners of your garden or share its beauty with others. Whether you choose to propagate through softwood and hardwood cuttings, division, or seeds, the process requires patience, attention, and a deep love for gardening.

By following the appropriate steps and timing for each method, you can successfully multiply the graceful foliage and captivating blooms of Russian sage. Each propagated plant becomes a testament to your gardening skill and a source of inspiration as you watch it flourish and add its unique charm to your outdoor haven.