Mass Planting of Russian Sage Interwoven with Other White Flowering Herbs
Answered by: Inge Poot
Question from: Robin
Posted on: June 12, 2005

I ordered one plug tray of the Russian Sage which should be arriving any day now. I am planting it on a slope with good drainage. I do not wish to see space between the plants yet I do not want to crowd them or cut off air circulation. They need to appear as a wonderful mass planting. Our summers are hot and dry. What would you suggest for plant spacing?

Plant them on 18 inch (45 cm) centers and mulch heavily in between. You did not mention what climatic zone you live in and should keep in mind that Russian sage overwinters up to zone 5 but not in zone 4 and lower. It does better in clay than in sand, but do work something into the soil to have it hold moisture.

I would also like to weave through this mass with some long lived white flowers. The soil is rocky and clay. I have a few thoughts but I am not sure as to how they will grow in this soil.

1. Achillea white

Would work fine. It is more invasive in sandy soil, but may be a bit short to show well between the sage.

2. White Flax

White is a rare colour for this genus. Most are blue. Also the petals drop by noon for every days batch of flowers, so you only have a half day of the weaving effect.

3. Centranthus white

Best in zone 6 or higher. Again most are pink not white and may therefore be hard to get. They do not flower as long as Russian sage.

4. Hesperis matronalis

This plant is a biennual and must be replaced every second year and only blooms in its second season. Otherwise would work well.

5. Ammi major

Good choice. Also only hardy to zone 5, but very white.

6 Daucus carota

Very hardy and unfussy as to soil but not as snowy white as Ammi majus and a biennual which tends to seed around heavily. Thus same problem as Hesperis matronalis and not as showy.

I am also tossing around the idea of possibly some Artemesia. My considerations are height, long lived, adaptability to clay, heat and dry spells yet not too invasive.

Try Silver Mound artemisia or beach wormwood. They are great, and Silver Mound has survived for me in zone 4.

Any suggestions would be most appreciated as some of this info is not in the catalogs. Any additional varieties not mentioned above that you think may be better please tell me.

Echinacea ‘White Swan’ would work well.

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