This is one part in a weekly series featuring the UC Davis Arboretum Durable Delights, 30 can't-fail, easy-care plants well-adapted to our region.
Dwarf Russian sage
Perovskia atriplicifolia "Little Spire"
Size: Under 2 feet tall
Bloom season: Summer, fall
Exposure: Full sun
Pruning needs: Little or none; cut to base in winter.
Water needs: Once established, water deeply every two weeks.
Snapshot: Able to thrive in the most harsh environments, dwarf Russian sage is a deciduous perennial that is tough and heat-tolerant. It can even withstand deer and rabbits. "Little Spire" is smaller and more compact than other varieties. It rewards gardeners with vertical spikes of showy purple blooms in summer that last until frost in late fall. Drought-tolerant, it needs well-drained soil and full sun to be at its best. To renew its annual show, cut the plant to the base in winter. You can see specimens in the Ruth Risdon Storer Valley-Wise Garden on the UC Davis campus.
For more on Durable Delights, click on arboretum.ucdavis.edu
See the arboretum's Community Favorites and Arboretum All-Stars at http://www.sacbee.com/home_garden