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Video: How to Prune Russian Sage in Spring

Another video is here! Due to all of the interest I’ve received related to the best method to prune Russian sage before it starts growing in spring, we finally got a video together to SHOW you how to do it.

In the video, I demonstrate the two best methods to prune Russian sage on some of my own plants. I talk about when to employ each method, the time of year you can use either pruning technique, and the advantages of each. I hope this will help you take great care of your Russian sage plants for many years to come.

If you haven’t read my post on how to prune Russian sage, it may be helpful to read in order to supplement the information in the video. In addition, I wrote another post in mid-summer last year to show you the results of each pruning method. If you’re wondering about when to prune it, here’s a post about fall versus spring pruning.

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4 Responses to Video: How to Prune Russian Sage in Spring

  1. Edd August 16, 2014 at 9:36 am #

    Thanks for this video on pruning Russian Sage. Very helpful.
    I have a problem, however. My sage is threatening to take over. Besides getting way bigger than I ever imagined, it’s sending out shoots everywhere. I pull these but more come almost daily. What would happen if I cut the main plant clear to the ground in the spring. I realize this doesn’t eliminate the shoot problem but maybe I could end up with a smaller, more manageable plant?
    Thanks in advance for any advice you might have.

    • Catherine August 19, 2014 at 9:50 pm #

      Hi Edd. Yes, Russian sage spreads aggressively through underground stems and seeds and can get HUGE. If you don’t manage it, it will become a large colony after a few years. Unfortunately, I don’t think cutting it to the ground will make it much smaller or control the suckering problem. There is a cultivar called “Little Spire” that is supposed to only get two feet tall. I planted one this year, so I have yet to learn how big it will actually get. As far as controlling the shoots, I have two ideas. The first is to keep pulling them regularly like you are doing. The second is get a 15 gallon nursery pot, the kind that containerized trees come in. Cut off the bottom so you have a large ring left. Dig up the main plant you want to salvage, then remove the shoots you don’t want. Bury the plastic pot ring in the soil so the top of the pot is a few inches below the soil surface. Plant the plant by filling the ring with the native soil. This method, in essence, creates a barrier ring that contains plants that sucker a lot. I’ve used it successfully with horseradish in the past. It is important to use the existing soil and cut off the bottom of the pot so the water will drain and not create a soggy, water logged mess. Anyone else have any ideas?

  2. Sid May 12, 2017 at 10:09 am #

    Great video, Catherine! I have a question. I just planted 2 Russian Sage plants I got at the local nursery. Each has 5 stems about 3 feet tall, so they are tall and spindly. Should I cut the stems back, maybe one at a time as to not shock it, down to a node maybe 9-12″ up front the ground so the plant will get bushy? Or will it somehow get bushy on its own? PS: I live in Atlanta. Thanks!

    • Catherine May 12, 2017 at 2:20 pm #

      Thanks for the kind words. You know, as Russian sage matures it will naturally produce more stems from ground level. So I wouldn’t prune it now. I’d let it produce new stems naturally. Let me know how it goes!

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