can you prune russian sage in the fall

Though the leaves of the Russian sage plant are slightly toxic and you should not eat them, the plant's flowers are edible and have a peppery flavor. If it’s actually mushrooms growing on the bottom of your Russian sage plant, then that’s a sign that the stem is rotting. I pulled it out last year and it seemed to kill half the plant….it is bigger now and the plant seems to have shrunk. The best part is that you don’t have to worry about over doing it, you can’t kill a Russian sage shrub by over-pruning. Yes, if you prune the tips, it will make your Russian sage branch out more. ... the spirea's fall flower show was better. Russian Sage should be pruned in the early spring (about April). When they’re small, the new leaves are very delicate and can break off easily, so be careful. I’m a passionate gardener who loves growing everything from vegetables, herbs, and flowers to succulents, tropicals, and houseplants - you name, I've grown it! The new growth will appear at the base of the clump, as the days get longer and warmer. How To Prune Chives & Deadhead The Flowers, How To Prune Tomatoes For Maximum Production, Lasagna Gardening 101: How To Make A Lasagna Garden, 7 Easy DIY Potting Soil Recipes To Mix Your Own, How To Make Potting Soil For Indoor Plants, Terms Of Use, Disclaimer and Privacy Policy. If you don’t prune Russian sage, the plant will become very overgrown and woody, which doesn’t look very nice. So, no matter which variety you have, you can follow these steps. So, I’ve included step-by-step instructions for how to cut back Russian sage using this method below…. One way to make Russian sage look better is to simply surround it with landscape plants that have a better appearance in winter. Not much of an improvement. The size of the Russian sage can grow up to 4 to 5 feet high and 3 to 4 feet wide. So it’s important to learn how to cut back Russian sage to keep it looking its best all summer long. The ideal time as to when to prune the sage depends on how you want to use the plant. If you can't get to cutting back all the dying foliage in fall, at least make a point to remove any diseased parts of the plant. Russian sage stems are woody, and can be pretty thick in spots, so I recommend using pruning shears for the job. Is it too late? Prune the plant's stems back to anywhere from 4 to 6 inches from the ground. Before we start, I want to mention that there are different types of Russian sage plants. If you have a large shrub, you can use hedge shears or an electric hedge trimmer to make pruning easier. This can make the whole process a little confusing. Autumn sage (Salvia greggii), a native flowering shrub, comes from the warmer climates of the Southwest. Shade Perennials for Weed Suppression. I would try watering more often to see if it recovers. pruning Russian sage. Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. My brand new book Vertical Vegetables is now available for purchase!! Do this just as the lower leaf buds are beginning to open, but before new growth … I talk about when to employ each method, the time of year you can use either pruning technique, and the advantages of each. ... Sterilize pruning shear blades by wiping them with a cloth that was dipped in rubbing alcohol, and prune all Russian sage stems to 6-inches tall in spring … Otherwise, wait to do a hard prune in late winter or very early spring. Share this: Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window) Click to print (Opens in new window) Click to … Plus it holds snow. If you prefer, you can prune your plant while it’s still dormant. Keep in mind it’s a “subshrub,” meaning the top half of each stem dies back each year, but the bottom part of each stem lives through the winter. It is not advisable to prune sage during the fall or winter. Pruning Hydrangeas. Hummm, I’m not sure what that could be. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. USDA growing zones: 3 to 9 That is usually towards the bottom of the stem, but it can be much farther up on some stems. You can also subscribe without commenting. Pruning Russian sage is super easy! Should You Cut Back Russian Sage in Fall? The plant looks pretty uniform. This 'hard pruning' will make the plant more dense and increase flowering. You can start Russian sage from seed, but you will need to be patient. Instead, prune in the dead of winter or in early spring, he suggests. That's if you can't stop yourself. Can we prune it back this time of the year? Learn the two best techniques to cut back Russian sage in spring. ... Russian sage can be the poster child for floppy plants in rainy years. You can give plants a hard prune at this point, cutting plants to 6 to 12 inches tall, if you don’t want to see stems all winter long. We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees through links to This provides winter interest in your garden. I cut it back in the spring and then, after it's first flush of flowering starts to wane (late July/early Aug.), ... fall swath of blue. - YouTube Also, when will it be beautiful and full again? Answer: It’s typical for Russian Sage, as well as many types of ornamental grasses to turn brown and die back from cold temperatures. Russian sage does tend to spread more when you cut it down to the ground rather than just pruning the branches back to fresh growth. But, the best time for pruning Russian sage is in the spring. Divide Russian sage in the spring while the plants are still small. Once you have determined that it is time to prune your plant, cut no more than 5 to 6 inches off of the stems. Trim off dead flower stalks and cut back any badly overgrown or damaged branches and stems. You can prune out the dead growth any time, you won’t harm the plant. I live and garden in Minneapolis, MN (zone 4b). Or you can leave them longer if you don’t care about the shape of the plant. Russian sage is a low-maintenance, drought-tolerant shrub, making it a great choice for xeriscaping. How far back can I prune it? Russian Sage should be pruned in the early spring (about April). Many times the dead branches will break off easily, so you can just snap them off at the base if that’s easier. Pruning is an important part of Russian sage care, and it helps to keep your plants growing and looking their best. I told you pruning Russian sage would be easy. If any of the branches are sticking out a lot higher than others, then you can cut them back to the same length so the plant is shapely. Should You Prune Russian Sage in the Fall in Colorado? And unless you are in an area where they remain somewhat evergreen, fall pruning will save you a messy cleanup in the spring. Is it best to cut Russian sage back in fall or spring? Not to be outdone by its flowers, the plant's stems and foliage make a strong statement of their own, perhaps even outstrippi… I find it easier to wait until the leaves have started growing before I prune mine so I know exactly where to cut. I've learned I should have pruned the sage in winter as it went dormant. I find it easier to wait until the leaves have started growing before I prune mine so I know exactly where to cut. Method 1: Cut it down to the ground – If your Russian sage is really woody and hasn’t been pruned before, then you might want to try cutting it all the way down to the ground. We prune butterfly bush, russian sage and caryopteris back to about 12" in late Winter/early Spring. Prune the plant's stems back to anywhere from 4 to 6 inches from the ground. Thank you! Pruning will make way for tender new growth that will be vulnerable to the cold and may be damaged or killed. This bush produces panicles of small, bluish-lavender flowers throughout the summer. Wait until late winter or early spring to cut back Russian sage, butterfly bush and pest-free perennials. Method 2: Prune it for shape – With this method, you can use hedge shears or an electric hedge trimmer to shape your Russian sage bush to a nice rounded form. Wear gloves when moving, as the leaves may irritate skin. I have a Russian sage about 3 or 4 feet tall. Flowers and fruit on Smoke bush are only produced on wood 1-yr old or older. However, once established, Russian sage is a tough plant that will live in your garden for many years. Would it harm the plant to prune now in spring, or should I let it go and wait until this winter? Thanks for any help you can give me. Plus there are three pruning techniques you can choose from. They will grow back. Early spring pruning is a good time to shape it if you want a nicely formed, rounded plant. It sounds to me like your Russian sage isn’t getting enough water. How & When to Prune an Autumn Sage Plant. In the meantime, you will need to keep the seeds continually moist and warm. Step 1: Look for the new growth – Find the spot on the branch where the new leaves have started growing. Since you can’t over-prune a Russian sage bush, you don’t have to worry about exactly where to make your cuts. By Catherine on November 14, 2014 in Fall Care, Great Plants, Pruning, Winter Care. So the dead twigs that are sticking out above the leaves in the spring will be there all summer if you don’t prune it. In the video, I demonstrate the two best methods to prune Russian sage on some of my own plants. The best time to prune subshrubs that bloom in spring and early summer is when leaf buds emerge in spring. Try to make the cut as close to the leaves as you can, any part of the dead branch that is sticking out will be there all summer. If the plant begins to spread open or sprawl in late spring or summer, shear off the top one-third of the stems to encourage upright growth. If you’re growing Russian sage plant (Perovskia atriplicifolia) in your garden, then you know how bad they can look after the winter. But they are very hardy, and cutting them down to the ground shouldn’t hurt them. Plants shouldn't be pruned in the fall, since this could encourage early growth that is susceptible to frost damage. I cut my Russian Sage down to nearly the ground in fall after a hard freeze. Any ideas? You can prune out the dead growth any time, you won’t harm the plant. Although many of us have been taught to leave Russian sage standing and prune it in spring, I’ve also had perfect results pruning it in fall, when I cut down my spent perennials. When it comes to pruning plants, Russian sage is one of the easiest to do. I did not do that. … In mild climates, many sage varieties are evergreen, so they don't require heavy fall pruning. When using this method, cut large plants back to about a foot high. Many thanks for the Russian Sage info its just what I was looking for as I only planted them this year and our winter in the UK is fast approaching so I was wondering how to deal with the plants when winter arrives. In areas with long growing seasons, pruning Russian sage immediately after flowering can promote a second flush of bloom. Trim your sage plants in the springtime instead, just as new leaves begin to emerge. It spreads and reseeds so I am never without volunteers to … Step 3: Remove any dead branches – If you find dead branches that don’t have any new leaves on them, you can cut those down to the ground. The gardener ended up cutting off most of the dead material. Quite helpful! Plus the form, texture, motion and bird-attracting features add interest to the winter landscape. I live in east Tn and Russian Sage is the gift that keeps on giving as far as I am concerned. Be sure to watch my video that shows you the two best methods to prune Russian sage in spring. The Only Shrubs You Need to Grow. You can cut it back all the way down to the ground, prune it for shape, or wait for new growth before pruning it (which is the method I like to use, see the step-by-step instructions below). What should I do? Can you trim back Russian sage in the fall? Russian sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia) is a hardy, drought-resistant member of the mint family, though it grows with a slightly woody, shrub-like habit not unlike … But only use this method in very early spring while the plant is still dormant, and before the leaves have started growing. You can use this technique every year to make pruning easier if you want, it won’t hurt the plant. The trimming strategies are twofold. Plants you should prune in the fall: Now (November) through December is the perfect time to cut back grasses such as Russian Sage, Catmint, Black-Eyed Susan, Lavender, Butterfly Bush, Itea, and Hibiscus. My others are still fairly small. Although you may be tempted to prune earlier, it is best to wait until you see a little green before removing the dead tips of branches and old flowers. Your email address will not be published. Follow these step-by-step instructions to learn how to prune Russian sage plants. Option one for bold people Step 2: Cut right above the new leaves – Using pruning shears or precision pruning snips, cut back the old stem right above the spot where the new foliage is growing. Just be sure to wait until it is dormant, preferably after a frost. Suddenly it appears to be drying up a d dying 🙁 I’m in zone 9b, warm and dry. Share your tips for pruning Russian sage in the comments section below. All those dead branches leave your plant looking ugly and half dead. September. Now that it’s October, some plants have lost their luster. There are three techniques you can use for pruning Russian sage. I’d prune it off at the ground with a pair of hand shears or an electric trimmer. Like I mentioned above, you can’t kill Russian sage by over pruning it, so you really don’t have to be careful. My tallest, about 2-1/2 ft, with about six stalks. This 'hard pruning' will make the plant more dense and increase flowering. Failure to prune will cause the plant to be leggy, droopy and less showy. Had blooms. Which may mean the plant is getting too much water. Trim these plants to about 4-6 inches above the ground. Live wood can be easily mistaken for dead wood if pruned too early. Russian sage is a perennial plant that can easily be transplanted to a well-draining soil location with proper care. You can use any of the three methods every year for all the different Russian sage varieties. By Catherine on October 18, 2015 in Fall Care, Pruning. When new spring growth emerges, cut the old stems back to just above the lowest set of leaves. Overgrown Russian sage can get straggly looking, but the plants can be revived with timely pruning and division. Germination can take up to four months. If your Russians sage plant is small like mine or it’s immature, then it’s best to hand prune it like I do. 3. I also like to use precision pruning snips for smaller branches and tips if I’m working around tender new leaves. They have flowers on them as well. They are hardy plants, but if it’s dry, hot, and sunny, they may start to suffer without adequate water. Something is mushroom shaped growth at the base of my Russian sage. It’s also important to know that Russian sage won’t grow back at the tips of the plant after the winter, and the branches die back towards the bottom of the plant. It is probably 2 ft tall only 2 branches – wondering if I should cut them both back so they will stool out? If your Russian sage leaves have already started growing, then use methods 2 or 3 instead, and wait until next spring to cut it all the way back. Depending on your strategy of using it as a flower or a sub-shrub you should prune around early spring or mid-September, the extent of the pruning depending on your choice. Nope, it should grow back just fine. "Spring bloomers can get a haircut right after they finish flowering. Leave upright stems standing through the winter. ... here’s a post about fall versus spring pruning. Did I do harm to them? Prune your Russian sage plant in early spring before new growth emerges, about six weeks after the last predicted frost date for your region. Ask an Expert is made up of groups and individual experts. Daylilies respond well to shearing in fall. How do you cut back Russian sage? You don’t have to be very careful here, if you cut too low on the plant, it’s not going to hurt it. Read More... Hi Amy! Russian Sage Growing Tips . But don’t worry, these pruning tips work for all of them! Here’s an example of a plant that was pruned to about 18 inches tall before the new growth emerged. Little water daily and sees Sun all morning until late afternoon. All content found on this website is copyrighted materials and any form of reproduction is strictly prohibited. Although some gardeners cut back their Russian Sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia) plants in the fall, it is better to leave the plant over the winter and cut them back in the spring. 10 Plants for Year-round Containers. Smoke bush (Cotinus) is generally pruned only to remove winter-killed wood. Research has found letting these plants stand for winter increases their hardiness. Notice the Russian sage in the photo was cut back in fall. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. Failure to prune will cause the plant to be leggy, droopy and less showy. But don’t worry, if you accidentally knock off a few, it’s really not a big deal. Carefully dig around roots, starting one foot away from the plant base. If you prefer, you can prune your plant while it’s still dormant. It may also protect the plant in a particularly hard winter as it holds the snow in place and gives insulation. ... Gardeners in all climates should prune Russian sage plants back to about 6-8 inches in the spring. Required fields are marked *. In fact, you want to be aggressive with large shrubs. The Russian sage in the front of the church is really tall and scraggly and looks terrible this time of the year. Some Hydrangeas such as PeeGee and Annabell can also be trimmed now, but others, such as Mophead, Lacecap and any Hydrangea … ... Pruning Plum … Remove dead leaves from around the base of the plant in late fall. Choose a cool morning on an overcast day so the roots won't dry out quickly, and so the newly-divided plant will have time to establish in its new location. Bev. Rather than looking great after pruning, it looks like a ball of grey-brown stems with a few leaves hanging on. Be patient, because Russian sage can be slow to establish roots. I just got my Russian Sage this spring! The Russian sage is a distant relative of the mint family but is not the same as the sage commonly used as a spice. Just came across your sight! Keep this in mind when pruning back your sage and remember not to clip off too much. You will have beautiful growths in the fall. Asked May 21, 2013, 3:03 PM EDT. Pruning is an important part of Russian sage maintenance. But, the best time for pruning Russian sage is in the spring. Whatever garden pruning tools you use, just be sure they are always cleaned and sharpened before you start cutting. This will rejuvenate the plant so it will grow fuller and bushier. Allow spent Russian sage plants to remain intact in autumn, and it will add interest to the winter landscape. Russian Sage, considered a summer-blooming, woody, subshrub perennial is a great addition to the home landscape and was named the 1995 Perennial Plant of the Year by the Perennial Plant Association! Its long blooming period is valued by those who seek a flower bed that remains in bloom throughout the growing season. Spring and summer care for Russian sage consists mainly of pruning. There are, however, still many Russian sage uses. Pruning Russian Sage. Your email address will not be published. There you have it! If you’ve got floppy Russian sage, you may want to watch this video […] Continue Reading. My green thumb comes from my parents, and I've been gardening most of my life. I moved in here last year and did not know how to take care of the plants. Blue mist spirea also seems to break dormancy early (I can see leaves on the stems already) which makes … When To Prune Russian Sage. When Russian sage is pruned to about 18 inches tall, some stubs of dead stems may remain. Getting a Or you can alternate these methods from year to year as you need to in order to keep your plant growing nice, and keep it shapely. Last fall, Bought and planted a few Denim & Lace variety. Method 3: Wait for new growth before pruning it – This is my preferred method, but it’s also the most tedious. But don’t worry!

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