Planting Russian Sages


Hi there,
I ordered a couple of Russian Sage bare roots in the mail and planted them at the beginning of the summer. I wet the roots with a hose but didn’t soak them prior to planting. I then watered them to keep the soil moist for the next two weeks but they never grew. Should I have pre-soaked them and is there a way now to revive them for next year?


Russian sage is a wonderful addition to any sunny garden as it is an aromatic member of the mint family and, once established, is extremely drought tolerant.  Below you will find some tips on planting and caring for these plants so that you can enjoy their prolific blooms for years.

  1. Purchase plant stock from a reliable source as close to your home as possible as this will lessen the transit time and plants should be healthier.
  2. Bare root plant stock should be soaked in water for approximately 30 minutes prior to planting.
  3. Even if roots are long, they should not be cut or pruned back to facilitate planting.
  4. Each plant should be potted up into a large container using a light soil mix containing bark, sand or peat.
  5. The bare root crown should be planted to the soil line depth – no deeper or higher.
  6. The ideal time to plant bare root stock is in late spring when the daytime temperature is consistently above 20 degrees C.
  7. A slow release fertilizer can be spread sparingly on the soil surface (5-10-5) of each pot.
  8. Water regularly (daily) so that pots do not dry out as the new roots need moisture to get established.
  9. Place pots in a very sunny location.
  10. Once the potted up plants are established and growing well, they can be transplanted into your garden.
  11. Choose a sunny location (6-8 hours minimum) for these plants as they like it hot & dry.
  12. Ideal garden soil is an average to slightly alkaline pH (5.8 – 6.5).
  13. Ideal soil make up is well drained, dry and not too fertile.
  14. These plants are remarkably drought tolerant and are ideal for xeriscaping.

Unfortunately, if the bare root plants you tried this spring are not growing and currently blooming, then it may be best to start the process anew next spring.

Alternatively, you could just purchase already growing plants from a local nursery and get them into your garden – these can be planted anytime between early spring and 6 weeks before the first frost with diligent watering during the hot summer months for new transplants.

Hope this helps.