Abroad, Perovskii is known as Rissian Sage, although it does not grow in Russia. However, most of the Perovskiy is found on the territory of the post-Soviet space. They are brought together with sage only by strong-smelling leaves. In the landscape, they are no worse than the popular sage.
Genus perovskia(Perovskia) belongs to the Yanotkovy family (Lamiacaeae)... There are only 9 species of dwarf shrubs in it, most of which (7 species) grow wildly in the mountainous regions of Central Asia. From here, the range of these plants stretches through Afghanistan and northern Iran to Pakistan and northern India.
The clan bears the name of Vasily Alekseevich Perovsky (1794-1857), count, governor-general of the Orenburg and Samara provinces, who fought in Central Asia and concluded a treaty beneficial for Russia with the Khiva Khan. There are also mentions that it was he who first introduced gardeners to Perovskaya more than 150 years ago.
Perovskii have a flat surface root system, from which numerous stems extend upward, woody at the bottom. Annual shoots are herbaceous, furrowed, pubescent and provided with rounded golden glands. Leaves are opposite, twice pinnately dissected into linear lobes or whole. The flowers are numerous, in false whorls, collected in a leafless paniculate inflorescence. Flowers with a two-lipped pubescent and glandular calyx, the corolla is typical for lamellar, two-lipped - the upper lip is 4-lobed, with larger lateral lobes, the lower one is whole. The flowers have 4 short stamens and a column with a bipartite stigma. Fruits are inconspicuous ovoid nuts, up to 2.5 mm long.
Without exception, all Perovskii are decorative, valued for their drought resistance and the ability to grow in open sunny places. But mainly 2 species are cultivated, having graceful bluish pinnate foliage, the rest are rare.
Perovskaya wormwood, or fragrant(Perovskia abrotanoides), got its specific Latin name from the medicinal wormwood (Artemisia abrotanum), abrotanum - derived from Greek habrotonon - means "reminiscent of appearance and smell". It grows in the mountains of Turkmenistan, Tien Shan, in Eastern Iran, Afghanistan, China (Tibet), Pakistan, North India (Kashmir) on dry pebble, stony and gravelly slopes up to an altitude of 2000 m (in Kashmir - up to 3600 m) above sea level ...
It is a wide shrub 0.5-1 m tall, with highly branched stems up to 5 mm in diameter. Leaves 2-4 cm long and 1-2 cm wide, twice pinnately dissected, oblong-ovate in outline, with oblong or oblong-linear obtuse lobules, pubescent with short branched hairs, on petioles 5-8 mm long. Panicles are large, up to 40 cm long, consisting of 2-4 (6) -flowered whorls. Calyx tubular-campanulate, densely pubescent with short white and purple hairs. The corolla is lilac or violet, less often white, about 1 cm long, the upper lip is 4-lobed, with slightly curled edges, the lower one is whole, ovoid, obtuse. Blooms from June to August.
Perovskia swan-leaved (Perovskia atriplicifolia), synonym Perovskaya Pamir(Perovskia pamirica) originally from Afghanistan, China (Xinjiang), Pakistan, North India (Kashmir). Grows on rocks and gravelly slopes. In the West, it is called Azure Sage.
Semi-shrub 0.9-1.5 m tall, with grayish-whitish pubescent stems woody at the base. Annual stems are herbaceous, tetrahedral. Leaves pinnately dissected, oblong-lanceolate in outline, crenate or deeply serrate along the edge, up to 5 cm long and 2.5 cm wide, tapering to a petiole up to 4-6 mm long, silvery, with a sharp spicy aroma when rubbed. Panicles over 30 cm long. Lavender-colored flowers, fragrant, do not differ in structure from the previous species. Blooms from late summer to autumn for 2-3 months.
This species is most in demand in floriculture, there are a number of varieties that differ in shades of foliage and flowers, plant height, flowering time:
- Filigran - up to 90 cm tall, characterized by strictly vertical growth, textured heavily cut bluish foliage and long blooming purple flowers.
- Blue Spire - up to 1.2 m tall, with flexible stems, blue-violet flowers in large panicles and deeply indented gray pubescent leaves. Blooms from mid-July to autumn.
- Blue Mist - Light blue flowers and earlier flowering.
- Lacey Blue syn. Lisslitt is a compact variety 45-50 cm tall and has the largest purple flowers of all varieties. Blooms from mid-summer to autumn.
- Longin - Similar to Little Spire, but tall, 0.9-1.2 m, with more upright stems and less dissected silvery-gray-green foliage up to 5 cm long. Named after the Swiss kennel Longin Ziegler.
- Superba - tall, up to 1.2 m, with silvery-green foliage and lilac flowers. Low winter hardiness, up to -15оС.
- Taiga is a magnificent variety with sky blue flowers, 40-50 cm tall. It blooms in late summer and early autumn. The name was given to the variety for its high winter hardiness (zone 4).
- Silvery Blue - up to 60 cm tall, with pronounced silvery foliage and blue flowers. Blooms in late summer.
In Great Britain, the Perovskian hybrid is found in culture (Perovskia x hybrida), which is found in Kyrgyzstan and is a hybrid of Perovskaya wormwood and swan-leaved (P. abrotanoides × P. angustifolia)... It has ovoid bluish-green toothed leaves and dark purple flowers. Blooms from late summer.
The cultivar Little Spire is also referred to hybrids of the same species, which often appears as a cultivar of Perovskii swan-leaved:
Little Spire - 45-75 tall, with bluish foliage and purple-blue flowers. Blooms in July. Zone 5a.
In the mountains of the Tien Shan and Pamirs, the Perovian norichnikovaya and related species also grow:
- Perovskaya Norichnikovaya, or norichnikovaly(Perovskia scrophulariifolia) - differs in solid elliptical leaves and purple or white flowers in panicles up to 30 cm long.
- Perovskia Kudryashova(Perovskia kudrjaschevii) - with pale yellow flowers;
- Perovskii narrow-leaved(Perovskia angustifolia) - with narrow leaves 0.8-3 cm wide, purple, less often white (in the Albiflora form) flowers;
- Perovskiy rod-shaped(Perovskia virgata) - with rhombic-lanceolate whole leaves up to 4 cm long and 0.8 cm wide, and purple flowers;
- Perovskiy Linchevsky(Perovskia linczevskii) - 0.6-0.7 m tall, with oblong-lanceolate whole leaves, purple or white (in the form of Albiflora) flowers;
- Perovskia Bochantseva(Perovskia botschantzevii) - grows on the territory of Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan.
Perovskii - plants for dry sunny places. They can grow in light partial shade, but the stems often grow weaker and lodge. Plants tolerate a wide range of acidity (pH 5.0-7.8), but thrive best in neutral and alkaline soils. The main condition for successful cultivation is drained areas without waterlogging. Even sandy and saline soils are suitable.
Perovskaya wormwood belongs to the 5th zone of winter hardiness (up to -28 degrees). For the winter, it is covered with sand with the addition of wood ash (a glass of ash is placed on a bucket of sand), covered with a dry leaf and winter waterlogging is avoided. It is also worth doing with the Perovskian swan-leaved - although it is winter-hardy up to -34 degrees, its varieties are more often in the culture that are more sensitive to frost. When freezing, Perovskii easily recover from the root.
In the process of growth, plants almost do not require watering, only in severe prolonged drought they are watered once a week. If the soil is moderately fertile, then you can do without top dressing. Perovskii thrive on poor soils, but for good flowering on them, the plants are fed with full mineral fertilizer in a half dose. On too fatty soils, the winter hardiness of plants decreases, the wood does not ripen.
Pruning of Perovskii stems is carried out in early spring, before regrowth, at a height of 20 cm. For the winter, the stems are left for better overwintering and creating a winter decorative effect in the garden. The cut stems can be used for spring cuttings.
Perovskii are almost not affected by pests and diseases.The essential oil secreted by the glands of the plant has insecticidal properties and repels pests not only from the plant itself, but also from neighboring ones. However, occasionally, Perovskii can be attacked by aphids, and in closed ground - by spider mites and whiteflies.
Perovskii species can be propagated by seeds. They are sown before winter in open ground. You can also sow in spring - through seedlings or into open ground. Before sowing, seeds are stratified for a month at + 4 + 5оС. Cold stratification accelerates germination; without it, seedlings appear for a long time (from 3 to 12 weeks) and uncommonly. Plants grown from seeds reach almost maximum height already in the first year, but bloom only in the 3-5th year.
Perovskia swan-leaved in culture is often represented by varieties that need to be propagated vegetatively.
For spring cuttings, take the lignified parts of the plant remaining after pruning, for summer cuttings with a "heel" (a piece of rhizome) or apical cuttings. They are rooted in well-drained moderately moist soil in a greenhouse at a soil temperature of + 20 + 24 ° C, avoiding the appearance of condensation, which can lead to decay. Therefore, the greenhouse must be ventilated. Roots begin to form on the 10-14th day, after which the plants are fed with low doses of mineral fertilizers. Full rooting occurs in 4-5 weeks. During cultivation, the plants can be pinched over the 5th node to enhance tillering, although this is not necessary.
Perovskii are low-maintenance plants that resemble wormwood or lavender in appearance, with spectacular flowering. And in the garden can be used like them. Very often, lavenders are planted with roses, but Perovskii are more unpretentious and can be successfully replaced.
Taking into account their natural habitats, Perovskii can be planted in gravel and rocky gardens, on dry southern slopes. High drought tolerance allows these plants to be used for container compositions.
They make magnificent silvery borders with towering verticals of inflorescences. They are most effective in bulk, they are planted at a distance of 70 cm.High species and varieties create in flower gardens a harmonious pair or background for almost any drought-resistant perennials - echinacea, oriental poppies, hyssopes, snakeheads, catnipids, wormwood, sage, autumn asters, ornamental cereals ... Silvery-gray foliage and violet-blue flowers saturate flower gardens with interesting texture, color and contrast in relation to green-leaved summer-flowering plants. They can replace faded tulips and decorative bows. Pairs well with Buenos Aires Verbena, the purple form of fennel.
Perovskii must be kept in a fragrant garden; they attract many butterflies and pollinating insects.
The new trend for the use of perennials in urban landscaping has forced to pay attention to these unpretentious plants - in Moscow, for example, Perovskia decorates the flower gardens of the park named after. Gorky.
Perovskii inflorescences are suitable for floral arrangements, they can be dried for winter bouquets, in which they retain a pleasant aroma for a long time.
Perovskii are good dyeing and essential oil plants. All parts, including the roots, are raw materials for obtaining a fragrant essential oil, in which more than 40 valuable components are found, with the highest content of monoterpenes in the oil (more than 70%). Plants have medicinal properties that are currently poorly understood. Active research on the properties of Perovskaya wormwood and its essential oil is underway in Pakistan and Iran. Pakistani traditional medicine uses it to treat typhoid fever, headache, gonorrhea, vomiting, toothache, atherosclerosis, cardiovascular disease, liver fibrosis and cough, while Iranian medicine is used to treat cutaneous leishmaniasis.The herb of the plant has an analgesic, sedative, antiseptic, cooling effect, has a high antioxidant and antimicrobial activity. Recent data indicate the prospects for the use of this plant in the fight against infections (Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus, Salmonella) and tumors. At the same time, the plant is recognized as absolutely safe for everyone, except for allergy sufferers.
Perovskaya fragrant is so named for a reason, its foliage has a pleasant aroma, reminiscent of strawberry. The herb can be used as a spice for canning, for flavoring teas, alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks. Flowers, in addition to aroma, also have a sweetish taste, which makes it possible to use them in flower cuisine - in salads and baked goods, to decorate dishes.
Other types can be used similarly if you like their flavor.