Perovskia atriplicifolia 'Rocketman'
Common Name: Russian sage
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Lamiaceae
Zone: 5 to 9
Height: 2.50 to 3.00 feet
Spread: 2.50 to 3.50 feet
Bloom Time: July to October
Bloom Description: Lavender blue
Sun: Full sun
Water: Dry to medium
Maintenance: Low
Flower: Showy
Leaf: Fragrant
Tolerate: Rabbit, Deer, Drought, Clay Soil, Dry Soil, Air Pollution

Culture

Easily grown in average, dry to medium, well-drained soils in full sun. Sharp soil drainage is especially important. Avoid wet, poorly drained soils. Plants have good drought tolerance. Best flowering occurs in full sun locations. Stems are more likely to flop if plants are grown in part shade. Cut back plants almost to the ground in late winter to early spring as soon as new growth appears.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Perovskia atriplicifolia, commonly called Russian sage, is a woody-based perennial of the mint family which typically grows 2-4' (less frequently to 5') tall and features finely-dissected, aromatic (when crushed), gray-green leaves on stiff, upright, square stems and whorls of two-lipped, tubular, light blue flowers tiered in branched, terminal panicles (12-15" high). Long summer bloom period. Perennial Plant Association Plant of the Year (1995).

Genus name honors Russian general V. A. Perovski (1794 - c. 1857).

Specific epithet means with leaves resembling salt-bush.

'Rocketman' was bred by Walter's Gardens, Inc. and introduced by them in 2014. It has an upright vase-shaped habit and was bred to have stronger stems making it less likely to flop. 'Rocketman' has lavender blue flowers with colorful calyxes that remain on the stem after the flower petals have gone by. Its foliage is similar to 'Little Spire' with aromatic gray green leaves and silvery stems. It grows 2.5 to 3 ft. tall and 2.5 to 3.5 ft. wide. United States Plant Patent Applied For (PPAF).

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems. Plants tend to sprawl or flop over as the summer progresses.

Garden Uses

Mass or specimen in borders. Provides long summer bloom for the perennial border. Contrasts well with both pink (e.g., phlox, mallow or roses) and yellow (e.g., rudbeckia) perennials.