Lavender Vs Russian Sage | How Are They Different?

A picture showing theLavender Vs Russian Sage

Some numerous plants and climbers can add to the beauty of your garden. Like Lavender Vs Russian sage, many similar-looking plants may confuse you about the original plant.

But actually, they belong to two different species, and although they look more like each other, they have some significant differences. We will have a detailed look at Russian sage versus Lavender.

Is Lavender a sage?

So, Is Lavender a sage? There has always been a comparison between Russian sage and Lavender to know which is which.

It is essential to understand that Russian sage and Lavender are two different plants. Several characteristics set this herb apart from other herbs of the Salvia family, although it belongs to the same genus.

The silvery green leaves, shrubby habit, and low maintenance make it an excellent choice.

It blooms for an extended period and has purple flowers. Russian sage flourishes in hot, dry conditions and is drought-tolerant once established.

Despite having similar fragrances, the two plants are prepared differently. Russian sage resembles Lavender more than Lavender and is more widely known for its aroma.

The floral form differentiates the two plants, regardless of their varieties.

Neither Russian sage nor Lavender has large flowers, but their scent is intense. Flower petioles are thin on both flowers.

There are no lateral stalks on Russian sage flowers, which makes them more elegant, whereas Lavender has close-together flowers without lateral stems.

The scent of Russian sage resembles Lavender, and many of its characteristics are similar to that of Lavender.

A delicate aroma emanates from the delicately scented flower petals, and its foliage has a silvery-green hue.

As a vertical element in the garden, it fills the voids during summer and fall. The plant will happily return to spring whenever the weather warms, and the deer leave.

Their flavours are distinct, even though they have similar aromatics.

Russian sage produces more flowers than Lavender, which has a more potent aroma. It is also used in cooking with its narrow, bluish-purple leaves and sage-like fragrance.

However, as much as Lavender does, soil pH does not seem to affect Russian sage. Your soil will produce more Lavender if you add garden lime to it if you live in an acidic area.

Sage can be mistaken for Lavender because of its similar appearance. Floral and foliage characteristics make it a woody perennial.

In contrast, Lavender requires more moisture. Although there might appear to be some similarities between the two species, there are actually several key differences between them.

The latter needs water more often because its scent is more delicate. However, the aroma is different despite their similarity.

In comparison to Russian sage, Mexican sage has a giant flower. It has more compact inflorescences than the lavender plant, but it has lavender-like inflorescences.

In contrast to the Russian sage, its panicles are large and loose. A hint of purple is visible in its flowers. 

There is a difference in lightness between the two. There is a similarity between its leaves and those of this plant.

Despite its appearance, it is not as hardy as its Russian counterpart, as it has a higher degree of hardiness.

Russian Sage Plant- An Overview

Known botanically as Salvia yangii, Russian sage is a subshrub. It was previously called Perovskia atriplicifolia and considered a singular plant.

There was a time when this plant did not belong to the Salvia genus. Now it does.

China and Pakistan are the primary locations of Salvia yangii. Eastern Europe has a lower prevalence of it.

The Russian Sage shrub grows about three to four feet tall and blooms at about the same time as Lavender, attracting many insects and bees in the summer.

The leaves have a delicate texture and are aromatic, grey-green.

Despite its small size, Rudbeckia and white daisies make a great combination in a cottage garden.

Russian Sage Traits

A late summer cloud of colour is created by the Russian sage’s large, grey-green leaves and square, silvery-grey stems.

A long stem is adorned with tubular purple-blue flowers arranged in whorls. There are small blue blooms on the long spikes of Russian sage.

Lavender Plant- An Overview

It has been commercially farmed for lavender essential oils since Roman times. Compared to Russian Sage, Lavender has a much wider variety of varieties.

French Lavender, English lavender, and Spanish Lavender are among the species linked to various geographical locations.

The lavender plant, like Russian Sage, thrives in areas with dry summers and mild winters, a condition that makes it drought-tolerant.

Although it can grow in various soil conditions, it prefers a sunny location with rich, well-drained soil.

Lavender is recommended to be planted in neutral pH soil instead of heavy clays, as Lavender dislikes wet feet.

Rejuvenating lavender plants at this stage is challenging since they do not respond well to harsh pruning.

Woody plants have sparse foliage as they mature. A plant will die when its young shoots are cut below the ground. 

Lavender Traits

The mint family includes Lavender, Lavandula angustifolia, in the Mediterranean region.

This plant has become an ornamental plant in many parts of the world after becoming naturalized.

The lavender plant has three to two feet of height and width. Violet-coloured spikes bear narrow green leaves and narrow, green leaves.

Late spring to early summer is the season for lavender blooming.

Lavender is used in flavours for ice cream, jelly, and tea, as well as in the plant’s flowers. There is also aromatherapy used for lavender oil.

Also, Lavender is drought-tolerant and grows well in dry, poor soils, making it an ideal plant for landscapes.

Lavender Vs Russian Sage: Similarities

Lavender Vs Russian Sage

Growth Rates

At the end of the season, both plants will need to be cut back as they grow fast and will need to be cut back to achieve their desired shape.

The blooming season is not the best time to be doing this as it is during the time of new growth spurts.

Generally, you should wait until spring when pruning lavender, as it does not always respond well to being pruned back after the spring rains.

Requirements for soil

Sage grows best in soil with a pH between 7.0 and 8.0. The soil requirements for Sage are very similar to those for Lavender, as well.

For both plants to thrive, the soil must drain well.

A bog soil or a spot where water has been allowed to accumulate for a considerable period without draining away will be too wet for either Russian Sage or Lavender to thrive in.

As a result of such an occurrence, both plants may suffer from root rot and may end up dying as a result.

In the case of potted plants, you should ensure that there is no standing water around them in order to ensure their safety. They don’t like being around stagnant water, either.


Russian sage vs. Lavender, sunlight is crucial no matter which plant we are talking about.

Both plants need to have full sun for them to grow well. There is no difference in how the plants prefer partial shade to full sun, although they can tolerate partial shade conditions.

To flower well and well, they need enough sun to grow, such as plants planted under trees. Otherwise, they will not bloom well.

Maintaining water levels

A ten-day watering is needed in drought conditions for both plants.

It is possible to grow both plants in drought-prone conditions, but they will appreciate water when conditions are arid.

Russian Sage Vs. Lavender: Differences

Untrained eyes may confuse Russian sage with Lavender, but the two differ quite.

Their leaves are slender, grey-green, and their flowers are delicately blue. However, a few key characteristics can determine the critical difference between the two plants.


The size of Russian sage can be easily differentiated from Lavender. Like Lavender, plants with thin, delicate leaves usually grow about two feet tall.

As contrasted with Russian sage, which grows up to four feet tall and has much broader leaves, it has a much shorter stem.

Russian sage has to adapt to harsh conditions such as high winds and intense sunlight, whereas Lavender originates in Mediterranean countries, with milder climates.


Their colours can also distinguish between Russian sage and Lavender. Russian sage is bluer in colour compared to Lavender.

There is a difference in the scent because the two plants contain different compounds.

Lavender has a sweeter scent due to its linalool content. In contrast, Russian sage smells medicinal due to its camphor content.

In addition to identifying the plants by their colours, different colours also add flavours to food – for example, Lavender will impart a sweet taste to food.

Time of blooming

During the ideal growing season of the Russian sage, it will flower from mid-summer until the end of September or the beginning of October.

There may be a shortening of the blooming period in colder climates.

The French Lavender blooms in late spring and early summer, whereas the Lavender of the Mediterranean flowers earlier.

Russian sage blooms for a shorter period than Lavender.

As much as 2 inches (5 cm) long and 1 inch (2.5 cm) wide can be found on the leaves of Russian sage. To connect them to the stem, they have pretty small petioles.

An intriguing pattern is created by dissecting the leaf to a high degree. There are often greyish-green leaves, but the leaf colour is primarily green.

When crushed, lavender leaves have a more potent aroma and juice than Russian sage leaves. Lavender is more fragrant than Russian sage leaves but not quite as strong.

Essential oils found in lavender leaves are prized for their healing properties. After drying or removing fat from leaves, they are used in perfumes, medicines, and other fields.

Sage leaves are more functional and decorative than Lavender leaves.


Compared to Russian sage, Lavender is smooth and silky to the touch, whereas Russian sage leaves feel rough and slightly furry. Some people are sensitive to the oil released by Russian sage leaves when touched. A small amount of powdery residue should be felt when you touch lavender leaves.

The two plants contain different compounds: Russian sage leaves have a rougher texture because of camphor, while lavender leaves have a smoother surface because of linalool.

The smell

Russian sage leaves a lasting impression on anyone who catches a whiff of it. A comparison has been made between the plant’s distinctive smell and that of Sage, Lavender, and rosemary. In contrast with Lavender, Russian sage lacks a unique aroma.

Russian sage differs from Lavender primarily by its fragrance. Russian sage has a more savoury, herbaceous scent than Lavender, which has a more floral, sweet scent.

Soap, shampoo, and bath and shower gels feature Lavender’s scent. In contrast, Russian sage scents are typically associated with repelling mosquitoes and preventing moths from entering.

How to Choose Between Lavender and Russian Sage

Let’s take a closer look at each factor to consider when choosing between lavender and Russian sage:


Lavender’s slender leaves and delicate flowers give it a classic, elegant look that’s hard to resist. It’s perfect for adding a touch of sophistication to any garden or landscaping project.

On the other hand, Russian sage has a more whimsical look with its silvery leaves and vibrant blue-purple flowers. It’s a great choice if you’re looking for a plant that adds a playful touch to your garden.

Fun fact: Lavender’s name comes from the Latin word “lavare,” which means “to wash.” The Romans used lavender to scent their bathwater!


Lavender’s soothing, relaxing scent is legendary. It’s often used in aromatherapy and natural remedies for its calming properties.

If you’re looking for a plant that will help you unwind after a long day, lavender is the way to go.

Russian sage, on the other hand, has a more earthy, herbal scent. It’s a great choice if you’re looking for a more subtle aroma that won’t overwhelm your senses.

Fun fact: In ancient Egypt, lavender was used in the embalming process to help preserve the bodies of the dead.


Lavender’s essential oils have a wide range of uses, from promoting relaxation and reducing anxiety to treating skin conditions and easing pain.

It’s also a popular choice for cooking and baking. Russian sage, on the other hand, is primarily used as a landscaping plant.

It can add height and colour to a garden and is often used as a backdrop for other flowers.

Fun fact: Lavender was used during World War II as an antiseptic and disinfectant. It was also used to treat burns and wounds.

Care and maintenance

Both lavender and Russian sage are fairly low-maintenance plants, but they do have some specific care requirements.

Lavender prefers well-drained soil and lots of sun, while Russian sage can tolerate a wider range of soil types and prefers full sun.

If you’re a beginner gardener or don’t have a lot of time to devote to plant care, either of these plants would be a great choice.

Fun fact: Russian sage was introduced to North America by a plant explorer named Nikolai Vavilov. He brought it back from an expedition to central Asia in the 1930s.

Ultimately, the choice between lavender and Russian sage comes down to your personal preferences and needs.

Both plants are beautiful and have their own unique characteristics. Consider what you’re looking for in a plant, and choose the one that speaks to you!


Lavender and Russian sage both attract pollinators like bees and butterflies, but they also have their own unique wildlife benefits.

Lavender is a favourite of hummingbirds, while Russian sage is a host plant for swallowtail butterflies.

If you’re looking to attract specific types of wildlife to your garden, this may influence your plant choice.

Fun fact: Lavender’s nectar is a favourite of honeybees, and it produces a high-quality honey with a delicate floral flavour.


Lavender and Russian sage both bloom in the summer, but their peak blooming periods are slightly different.

Lavender typically blooms in late spring to early summer, while Russian sage blooms later in the summer.

Consider when you want your garden to be at its peak and choose a plant accordingly.

Fun fact: Russian sage is known for its long blooming period, which can last from mid-summer to early fall.

Cultural significance

Lavender has a long history of cultural significance in many parts of the world. It’s been used in religious ceremonies, medicine, perfume-making, and more.

Russian sage doesn’t have quite the same cultural significance, but it has been used in traditional medicine in some parts of the world.

Fun fact: In ancient Rome, lavender was considered a symbol of cleanliness and purity. It was often used in public baths and to freshen the air in homes.

Bottom Line

If one were to look at them, it would be easy to confuse Russian sage for Lavender or the other way around. Yet, there’s more to this story than you might expect. 

There are some differences between Russian sage and Lavender in terms of their size, the way the flowers are shaped, the fragrance & appearance, the soil pH, and their hardiness tolerance. 

Regarding sunlight requirements, family classification and well-drained soil are the main aspects they have in common.

As far as cultivating herbs is concerned, they are great friends. Although both plants are capable of surviving in a wide range of soil types, there are some soil types that they cannot tolerate.

For your garden to be successful, select plants that grow well together rather than choosing species that compete with one another for space.

You can substitute Lavender with Russian sage if you cannot find Lavender since they both grow in similar environments. The blooms of these flowers are displayed on tall panicles. Hope you got to know a few points related to Lavender Vs Russian Sage.

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