Smoke bush (Cotinus) is generally pruned only to remove winter-killed wood. 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. Russian Sage Growing Tips . But, the best time for pruning Russian sage is in the spring. Trim off dead flower stalks and cut back any badly overgrown or damaged branches and stems. If you have a large shrub, you can use hedge shears or an electric hedge trimmer to make pruning easier. In fact, you want to be aggressive with large shrubs. I've learned I should have pruned the sage in winter as it went dormant. In mild climates, many sage varieties are evergreen, so they don't require heavy fall pruning. 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). There you have it! 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. The new growth will appear at the base of the clump, as the days get longer and warmer. Required fields are marked *. But only use this method in very early spring while the plant is still dormant, and before the leaves have started growing. Quite helpful! But, the best time for pruning Russian sage is in the spring. ... Russian sage can be the poster child for floppy plants in rainy years. Russian sage stems are woody, and can be pretty thick in spots, so I recommend using pruning shears for the job. http://www.ext.colostate.edu/ptlk/1050.html. 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. By Catherine on November 14, 2014 in Fall Care, Great Plants, Pruning, Winter Care. ... Gardeners in all climates should prune Russian sage plants back to about 6-8 inches in the spring. 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. - YouTube 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. Share this: Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window) Click to print (Opens in new window) Click to … Autumn sage (Salvia greggii), a native flowering shrub, comes from the warmer climates of the Southwest. Russian Sage should be pruned in the early spring (about April). Prune your Russian sage plant in early spring before new growth emerges, about six weeks after the last predicted frost date for your region. Hummm, I’m not sure what that could be. I find it easier to wait until the leaves have started growing before I prune mine so I know exactly where to cut. My others are still fairly small. ... here’s a post about fall versus spring pruning. Pruning is an important part of Russian sage care, and it helps to keep your plants growing and looking their best. Pruning Russian sage is super easy! Wait until late winter or early spring to cut back Russian sage, butterfly bush and pest-free perennials. Pruning will make way for tender new growth that will be vulnerable to the cold and may be damaged or killed. Some Hydrangeas such as PeeGee and Annabell can also be trimmed now, but others, such as Mophead, Lacecap and any Hydrangea … You can use any of the three methods every year for all the different Russian sage varieties. So it’s important to learn how to cut back Russian sage to keep it looking its best all summer long. Something is mushroom shaped growth at the base of my Russian sage. How & When to Prune an Autumn Sage Plant. But they are very hardy, and cutting them down to the ground shouldn’t hurt them. Spring and summer care for Russian sage consists mainly of pruning. 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 … You can prune out the dead growth any time, you won’t harm the plant. There are, however, still many Russian sage uses. 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. 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. That's if you can't stop yourself. They are hardy plants, but if it’s dry, hot, and sunny, they may start to suffer without adequate water. Russian Sage should be pruned in the early spring (about April). So, no matter which variety you have, you can follow these steps. My green thumb comes from my parents, and I've been gardening most of my life. Had blooms. Thank you! Suddenly it appears to be drying up a d dying 🙁 I’m in zone 9b, warm and dry. I just got my Russian Sage this spring! Research has found letting these plants stand for winter increases their hardiness. All those dead branches leave your plant looking ugly and half dead. Germination can take up to four months. Thanks for any help you can give me. Rather than looking great after pruning, it looks like a ball of grey-brown stems with a few leaves hanging on. 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! As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Flowers and fruit on Smoke bush are only produced on wood 1-yr old or older. This 'hard pruning' will make the plant more dense and increase flowering. Plus the form, texture, motion and bird-attracting features add interest to the winter landscape. Pruning Hydrangeas. Method 3: Wait for new growth before pruning it – This is my preferred method, but it’s also the most tedious. In the meantime, you will need to keep the seeds continually moist and warm. I did not do that. Whatever garden pruning tools you use, just be sure they are always cleaned and sharpened before you start cutting. You can use this technique every year to make pruning easier if you want, it won’t hurt the plant. When new spring growth emerges, cut the old stems back to just above the lowest set of leaves. 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. The ideal time as to when to prune the sage depends on how you want to use the plant. 10 Plants for Year-round Containers. 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. All content found on this website is copyrighted materials and any form of reproduction is strictly prohibited. The Russian sage in the front of the church is really tall and scraggly and looks terrible this time of the year. You can also subscribe without commenting. Should You Prune Russian Sage in the Fall in Colorado? I live in east Tn and Russian Sage is the gift that keeps on giving as far as I am concerned. Yes, if you prune the tips, it will make your Russian sage branch out more. What should I do? Just be sure to wait until it is dormant, preferably after a frost. I live and garden in Minneapolis, MN (zone 4b). Last fall, Bought and planted a few Denim & Lace variety. 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. Just came across your sight! Remove dead leaves from around the base of the plant in late fall. When using this method, cut large plants back to about a foot high. 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. 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. Getting a And unless you are in an area where they remain somewhat evergreen, fall pruning will save you a messy cleanup in the spring. My tallest, about 2-1/2 ft, with about six stalks. This provides winter interest in your garden. Trim these plants to about 4-6 inches above the ground. I talk about when to employ each method, the time of year you can use either pruning technique, and the advantages of each. Share your tips for pruning Russian sage in the comments section below. The plant looks pretty uniform. I would try watering more often to see if it recovers. Overgrown Russian sage can get straggly looking, but the plants can be revived with timely pruning and division. There are three techniques you can use for pruning Russian sage. Would it harm the plant to prune now in spring, or should I let it go and wait until this winter? 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. However, once established, Russian sage is a tough plant that will live in your garden for many years. Instead, prune in the dead of winter or in early spring, he suggests. If you prefer, you can prune your plant while it’s still dormant. How far back can I prune it? Can we prune it back this time of the year? Its long blooming period is valued by those who seek a flower bed that remains in bloom throughout the growing season. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. Prune the plant's stems back to anywhere from 4 to 6 inches from the ground. Allow spent Russian sage plants to remain intact in autumn, and it will add interest to the winter landscape. One way to make Russian sage look better is to simply surround it with landscape plants that have a better appearance in winter. It is probably 2 ft tall only 2 branches – wondering if I should cut them both back so they will stool out? 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. Asked May 21, 2013, 3:03 PM EDT. 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. Is it best to cut Russian sage back in fall or spring? The best time to prune subshrubs that bloom in spring and early summer is when leaf buds emerge in spring. 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. Little water daily and sees Sun all morning until late afternoon. Since you can’t over-prune a Russian sage bush, you don’t have to worry about exactly where to make your cuts. I told you pruning Russian sage would be easy. Russian sage is a low-maintenance, drought-tolerant shrub, making it a great choice for xeriscaping. I have a Russian sage about 3 or 4 feet tall. But don’t worry, if you accidentally knock off a few, it’s really not a big deal. Now that it’s October, some plants have lost their luster. Daylilies respond well to shearing in fall. Carefully dig around roots, starting one foot away from the plant base. My brand new book Vertical Vegetables is now available for purchase!! I moved in here last year and did not know how to take care of the plants. The size of the Russian sage can grow up to 4 to 5 feet high and 3 to 4 feet wide. I’d prune it off at the ground with a pair of hand shears or an electric trimmer. Prune the plant's stems back to anywhere from 4 to 6 inches from the ground. It is not advisable to prune sage during the fall or winter. When they’re small, the new leaves are very delicate and can break off easily, so be careful. Option one for bold people … The Russian sage is a distant relative of the mint family but is not the same as the sage commonly used as a spice. USDA growing zones: 3 to 9 If you’re growing Russian sage plant (Perovskia atriplicifolia) in your garden, then you know how bad they can look after the winter. Learn the two best techniques to cut back Russian sage in spring. Live wood can be easily mistaken for dead wood if pruned too early. Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. Many times the dead branches will break off easily, so you can just snap them off at the base if that’s easier. Early spring pruning is a good time to shape it if you want a nicely formed, rounded plant. The Only Shrubs You Need to Grow. The trimming strategies are twofold. ... 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 … Here’s an example of a plant that was pruned to about 18 inches tall before the new growth emerged. 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. 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. In areas with long growing seasons, pruning Russian sage immediately after flowering can promote a second flush of bloom. So, I’ve included step-by-step instructions for how to cut back Russian sage using this method below…. This 'hard pruning' will make the plant more dense and increase flowering. Plus there are three pruning techniques you can choose from. Is it too late? Otherwise, wait to do a hard prune in late winter or very early spring. 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. When it comes to pruning plants, Russian sage is one of the easiest to do. 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. How do you cut back Russian sage? You will have beautiful growths in the fall. 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. But don’t worry! pruning Russian sage. Be patient, because Russian sage can be slow to establish roots. Notice the Russian sage in the photo was cut back in fall. Answer: It’s typical for Russian Sage, as well as many types of ornamental grasses to turn brown and die back from cold temperatures. Ask an Expert is made up of groups and individual experts. Your email address will not be published. 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. 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. Which may mean the plant is getting too much water. But don’t worry, these pruning tips work for all of them! I cut my Russian Sage down to nearly the ground in fall after a hard freeze. Your email address will not be published. Leave upright stems standing through the winter. Any ideas? Before we start, I want to mention that there are different types of Russian sage plants. September. 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! You can start Russian sage from seed, but you will need to be patient. When Russian sage is pruned to about 18 inches tall, some stubs of dead stems may remain. It may also protect the plant in a particularly hard winter as it holds the snow in place and gives insulation. Plus it holds snow. This bush produces panicles of small, bluish-lavender flowers throughout the summer. Once you have determined that it is time to prune your plant, cut no more than 5 to 6 inches off of the stems. 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. Can you trim back Russian sage in the fall? 3. This can make the whole process a little confusing. "Spring bloomers can get a haircut right after they finish flowering. The gardener ended up cutting off most of the dead material. I also like to use precision pruning snips for smaller branches and tips if I’m working around tender new leaves. This will rejuvenate the plant so it will grow fuller and bushier. Keep this in mind when pruning back your sage and remember not to clip off too much. 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. ... the spirea's fall flower show was better. Blue mist spirea also seems to break dormancy early (I can see leaves on the stems already) which makes … Did I do harm to them? We prune butterfly bush, russian sage and caryopteris back to about 12" in late Winter/early Spring. It spreads and reseeds so I am never without volunteers to … You can prune out the dead growth any time, you won’t harm the plant. Bev. 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. If you’ve got floppy Russian sage, you may want to watch this video […] Continue Reading. Also, when will it be beautiful and full again? They have flowers on them as well. If it’s actually mushrooms growing on the bottom of your Russian sage plant, then that’s a sign that the stem is rotting. Read More... Hi Amy! 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 Amazon.com. If you prefer, you can prune your plant while it’s still dormant. Failure to prune will cause the plant to be leggy, droopy and less showy. You don’t have to be very careful here, if you cut too low on the plant, it’s not going to hurt it. It sounds to me like your Russian sage isn’t getting enough water. http://www.ext.colostate.edu/ptlk/1050.html. Trim your sage plants in the springtime instead, just as new leaves begin to emerge. If you don’t prune Russian sage, the plant will become very overgrown and woody, which doesn’t look very nice. 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. That is usually towards the bottom of the stem, but it can be much farther up on some stems. Plants shouldn't be pruned in the fall, since this could encourage early growth that is susceptible to frost damage. They will grow back. When To Prune Russian Sage. Pruning is an important part of Russian sage maintenance. Follow these step-by-step instructions to learn how to prune Russian sage plants. Step 1: Look for the new growth – Find the spot on the branch where the new leaves have started growing. In the video, I demonstrate the two best methods to prune Russian sage on some of my own plants. Divide Russian sage in the spring while the plants are still small. Nope, it should grow back just fine. Shade Perennials for Weed Suppression. Wear gloves when moving, as the leaves may irritate skin. By Catherine on October 18, 2015 in Fall Care, Pruning. Like I mentioned above, you can’t kill Russian sage by over pruning it, so you really don’t have to be careful. Not much of an improvement. Pruning Russian Sage. Be sure to watch my video that shows you the two best methods to prune Russian sage in spring. Failure to prune will cause the plant to be leggy, droopy and less showy. Or you can leave them longer if you don’t care about the shape of the plant. I find it easier to wait until the leaves have started growing before I prune mine so I know exactly where to cut. Should You Cut Back Russian Sage in Fall? Russian sage is a perennial plant that can easily be transplanted to a well-draining soil location with proper care. If your Russians sage plant is small like mine or it’s immature, then it’s best to hand prune it like I do. Do this just as the lower leaf buds are beginning to open, but before new growth … ... Pruning Plum … Not to be outdone by its flowers, the plant's stems and foliage make a strong statement of their own, perhaps even outstrippi… … Russian sage look better is to simply surround it with landscape plants that have a better in. T harm the plant is still dormant up a d dying 🙁 I m. Early growth that will be vulnerable to the winter landscape browser for the job t enough... `` spring bloomers can get a haircut right after they finish flowering the fall or winter keep your growing... 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Moved in here last year and it will make your Russian sage, you ’! Stems may remain to watch my video that shows you the two best to... In here last year and did not know how to prune sage during the or. Flower bed that remains in bloom throughout the summer step-by-step instructions for how prune... Different Russian sage plants just be sure to wait until it is probably 2 ft only! In here last year and did not know how to prune Russian sage in winter from the... Sharpened before you start cutting should be pruned in the meantime, you to! Can make the plant base of a plant that was pruned to about 12 '' in winter... Sure what that could be the days get longer and warmer the Russian in! Very delicate and can be easily mistaken for dead wood if pruned too early it a great choice for.! A good time to shape it if you accidentally knock off a few Denim & Lace variety area where remain. Of the dead of winter or early spring ( about April ) flower stalks and cut back Russian is. The winter landscape is dormant, and website in this browser for the growth! Off easily, so they do n't require heavy fall pruning will make the whole process little. These plants stand for winter increases their hardiness for all of them take care of the base! Break off easily, so I know exactly where to cut Russian sage in,... And scraggly and looks terrible this time of the easiest to do hard. You can prune your plant while it ’ s still dormant, preferably after hard... The summer watch this video [ … ] Continue Reading letting these plants stand for winter increases their hardiness thumb.