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Anisacanthus wrightii


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Anisacanthus wrightii



Time to think about Fall Planting
This plant is
Ideal for Fall Planting
Degree of Difficulty
Easy
Degree of Difficulty
This plant is easy to grow in a variety of conditions.
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Blue Tag Plant
This plant is sensitive to overwatering.

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Description

(Texas Firecracker) Hummingbirds and butterflies will thank you with frequent visits if you add this long-blooming plant to your wildlife garden. Its bright orange trumpet-type flowers with long, narrow petals are wells of delicious nectar.

Texas Firecracker is a subshrub, which means that it combines soft, herbaceous perennial foliage with some woodiness. It has slender, lance-shaped, dark green leaves. Trim it back in late winter for better form and fuller spring growth.

Although related to the Bears Breeches genus (Acanthus), Texas Firecracker lacks the thorny sepals of those plants. Anisacanthus is Greek for "without thorns." Wrightii means that this native Texas species is named for American botanist Charles Wright (1811-1885) who, beginning in 1837, spent 15 years collecting extensively in Texas.

This is a mid-height, heat-tolerant species that loves full sun. Texas Firecracker resists drought, but thrives with average watering based on local conditions. It does well in containers as well as mixed borders.

For pyrotechnical color in the garden, mix it with the clear, pumpkin-orange flowers of Golden Flame Texas Firecracker (Anisacanthus quadrifidus var. wrightii) and the crimson blossoms of Red Texas Firecracker ( Anisacanthus wrightii 'Select Red').

Don't worry about deer; this plant isn't to their taste.

Details

Product rating
 
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In stock
Out of stock

Common name  
Texas Firecracker
USDA Zones  
7 - 11
Size (h/w/fh)  
36"/24"/36"
Exposure  
Full sun
Soil type  
Any
Water needs  
Drought resistant
Pot size  
3 1/2 inch deep pot
Container plant?  
Yes
Our price
10.50

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Exposure

Full sun
Full sun
Heat tolerant
Heat tolerant

Growing Habit

7 - 11
7 - 11
36 inches tall
36 inches tall
24 inches wide
24 inches wide
Perennial
Perennial

Water Needs

Average water
Average water
Drought resistant
Drought resistant

Blooming Season

Fall blooming
Fall blooming
Spring blooming
Spring blooming
Summer blooming
Summer blooming

Wildlife

Butterflies
Butterflies
Deer resistant
Deer resistant
Hummingbirds
Hummingbirds
  • Kniphofia 'Mango Popsicle'

    (Mango Popsicle Hot Poker) This genus has become very popular in the last few years - for good reason. They feed hummingbirds & honeybees, and attract butterflies. And this superior variety from Oregon's TerraNova Nurseries is compact, free blooming and amazingly hardy.

    In 2011 and 2012 we grew dozens of the new Kniphofia varieties, and only a few stood out from the pack. This is absolutely our favorite. One of our nursery friends in Portland, Oregon said that it continued to bloom through January, even though the foliage was covered with a foot of snow.

    We don't grow many non-Salvias, and when we do it has to be special. This is one of those very, very good new plants. A must have plant.

    11.50

    OUT OF STOCK

  • Kniphofia 'Papaya Popsicle'

    (Papaya Popsicle Hot Poker) Terra Nova Nursery's Popsicle Series of dwarf Hot Poker perennials are reminiscent of the kind of frozen treats designed to look like rocket ships and fireworks. The blossoms of Papaya Popsicle are a bright orange-red and gold.

    Tidy clumps of grassy, green foliage surround Papaya Popsicle's flower spikes. It is a full-sun perennial that appreciates regular watering but is drought resistant. We grow a number of Popsicle Kniphofias and can attest to their super-long bloom time, which keeps butterflies and hummingbirds busy in our gardens.

    Aside from being wildlife friendly, this easy-to-grow Hot Poker is cold tolerant and works well in Salvia gardens due to low demand for both water and fertilizer. Sometimes Kniphofias are referred to as Torch Lilies due to their shape as well as their fiery look, which helps light up the landscape -- especially when mixed with hot-colored Salvias.

    11.50

    OUT OF STOCK

  • Kniphofia 'Pineapple Popsicle'

    (Pineapple Popsicle Hot Poker) This genus has become very popular in the last few years - for good reason. They feed hummingbirds and butterflies. And this superior variety from Oregon's TerraNova Nurseries is compact, free blooming and amazingly hardy.

    In 2011 and 2012 we grew dozens of the new Kniphofia varieties, and only a few stood out from the pack. We love this one for its bright, neutral color that goes with anything. One of our nursery friends in Portland, Oregon said that it continued to bloom through January, even though the foliage was covered with a foot of snow.

    We don't grow many non-Salvias, and when we do it has to be special. This is one of those very, very good new plants. A must have plant.

    11.50
  • Salvia azurea

    (Prairie Sage) Native to a large part of the central United States, this perennial Salvia is a beloved wildflower, delighting us with large cerulean blue flowers. Hummingbirds and butterflies love it as well.

    In full sun with good soil, this sage provides a spectacular floral display from late summer through fall.  We like to plant it among other perennials and shrubs, where it can poke its head out here and there.  It's a reliable addition to any garden designed to attract pollinators and the human eye.

    10.50
  • Salvia darcyi 'Pscarl'

    (Vermilion Bluffs® Mexican Sage) The brilliant red flowers of Vermilion Bluffs bloom abundantly from August to October. This variety of the Mexican native Salvia darcyi is cold hardy to Zone 5b at altitudes up to 5,500 feet.

    Salvia darcyi comes from Mexico's eastern Sierra Madre Occidental mountain range where it grows at altitudes up to 9,000 feet. Denver Botanic Gardens developed Vermilion Bluffs to withstand the colder winter weather of the Rocky Mountain region. It is a welcome substitute for Salvia microphylla or Salvia x jamensis , which struggle in cold weather.

    This sun-loving sage likes loamy soil. Plant it in shrubby borders, dry flower gardens and containers. Its underground runners form a tough mat that blocks weeds.

    The wrinkly, soft green foliage forms a graceful mound that glows against the bright flowers, which attract butterflies and hummingbirds. After frost, the foliage dies to the ground like an herbaceous perennial. Then it returns in spring.

    We can't help but highly recommend this easy-care plant. 

    Vermilion Bluffs is a registered trademark of Plant Select.

    10.50
  • Salvia leucantha 'White Mischief'

    (White Mischief Mexican Bush Sage) Profuse white blossoms and true white velvety bracts make the flowers of this South African hybrid a lovely choice for a wedding. In our experience, many of the plants sold as White Mischief are not the real thing. This tough, compact, long blooming sage is.

    Although its flowers are white, we've noticed that hummingbirds love this Salvia leucantha, which blooms summer into fall. Butterflies are also partial to it, but luckily deer keep their distance.

    Plant this heat-loving herbaceous perennial in full sun and well-drained soil. It is elegant in shrubby borders, large containers and cut-flower gardens. 

    10.50
  • Salvia mexicana 'Limelight'

    (Limelight Mexican Sage) The chartreuse green calyxes and deep violet flowers of this sage form an electric combination that lights up the partial shade garden from late summer through fall. The light gray-green leaves are a handsome finishing touch.

    The unusual foliage, mesmerizingly blue flowers and relatively large size of this sage makes it one of our most popular plants. Originally from Mexico's Queretaro Province, this cultivar was introduced to U.S. horticulture by Robert Ornduff of University of California at Berkeley in the late 1970s.

    10.50
  • Salvia mexicana 'Ocampo'

    (Ocampo Mexican Sage) Growing from 7 to 10 feet tall each year, this is the largest of our Mexican Sages. Yet due to its erect form, this sage only spreads 36 inches. It has large, deep violet flowers with almost black calyxes that rise up on tall spikes and dark green, heavily veined foliage.

    Collected near the mountain valley town of Ocampo, this Salvia mexicana is native to Mexico's eastern Sierra Madre range in the northeastern state of Tamaulipas on the Gulf of Mexico.

    In its homeland, Ocampo Mexican Sage grows on the edges of oak and pine forests. So it does well under tall, deciduous trees and at the margins of moist woodlands in USDA Zones 8 to 11 where it blooms in fall.

    Give this hummingbird favorite well-drained, rich soil and regular watering. It works well as a screen or background planting or in tall borders and cut flower gardens. Container planting is fine, but limits height.

    10.50

    OUT OF STOCK

  • Salvia mexicana 'Puerto de la Zorra'

    (Door of the Fox Mexican Sage) Purplish foliage contrasts attractively with the violet-to-purple flowers of this big sage, which grows 6 feet tall and 4 feet wide. Bloom time is autumn. This darkly dramatic Mexican Sage makes a particularly attractive entryway accent.

    Zorra is Spanish for female fox as well as slang for prostitute. At one time, we heard that Puerto de la Zorra (door of the fox) was collected in front of a brothel. How wrong we were. Upon learning that North Carolina Salvia specialist Rich Dufresne found this Mexican Sage in the Mexican state of Hidalgo, we asked him about its naming and location. He collected it along what is still an isolated stretch of the old Pan American Highway (Mexican Federal Highway 85). The only marker nearby was a wooden sign that said "Zorra." Dufresne concludes that there may be lots of fox dens in this rural area.

    Other good uses for this Salvia mexicana include hedges and perennial borders. It looks pretty among mixed plantings in a hummingbird garden. Growing it in a container is fine, but will limit height.

    Give this unique, heat-tolerant perennial full sun to partial shade along with regular watering. One more tip: It doesn't seem to mind occupying damp spots in the yard.

    Highly recommended!

    10.50

    OUT OF STOCK

  • Salvia mexicana 'Russell's Form'

    Expect rapid, tall growth from this Salvia Mexicana . In the ground, Russell’s Mexican Sage can reach up to 10 feet tall and 5 feet wide, providing an effective screen of dark green, heart-shaped foliage. By late autumn it’s bursting with flowers.

    Floriferous panicles of clear blue blossoms with green calyxes are a major attraction of this heat-tolerant sage. It does well in full sun to partial shade in USDA Zones 8 to 11. In cooler parts of its winter range, it may be best to grow this lush beauty in a large container beneficially positioned for protection from wind and cold. It freezes to ground when temperatures drop to 20 degrees F or a little bit higher and then returns the following spring. However, it generally grows to a shorter height in containers.

    Similar to Salvia involucrata and Salvia madrensis , Russell’s Mexican Sage is one of the Jack and the Beanstalk giants of the Salvia world. Occasional trimming controls growth and helps maintain the fullness of its symmetrical, bushy form.

    Give this perennial rich soils; it does well in mineral-rich clays as long as they drain well. In its native habitat of Central Mexico, it grows near the edge of forests and in open woods, which indicates a preference for partial shade. Although it only needs regular watering, it tolerates planting in areas that are steadily moist.

    Use it to back other plantings or to provide autumn spectacle in a perennial border or cut flower garden. And grow it to provide a bounteous meal for butterflies, honeybees and hummingbirds at a season when other flowering plants are fading.

    10.50

    OUT OF STOCK

  • Salvia mexicana var. minor

    (Little Mexican Sage) This low-growing sage is a shrub in its warmest zones and a perennial in the cooler ones. It's just right for small spaces or tiny gardens. Short and compact, its flowers are similar to but smaller than those of S. mexicana 'Limelight'.

    Little Mexican Sage has the broadest temperature tolerance of all the Salvia mexicana we grow, ranging from USDA Zones 7 to 11.

    Compared to our other varieties, some of which can rise up to 10 feet tall, Little Mexican Sage is also petite at a maximum of 30 inches tall and 24 inches wide. Even it 's gray-green leaves are smaller than those of the other varieties. They contrast handsomely with the sage's royal blue flowers, which bloom in fall.

    The size of this full-sun plant makes it a fine container choice for colder climates.  We also love Little Mexican Sage in perennial borders and along walkways. It needs well-drained ground, but is otherwise unpicky about its soil. We highly recommend this easy-to-grow plant.

    10.50

    OUT OF STOCK

  • Salvia mexicana x hispanica 'Byron Flint'

    (Byron's Mexican Sage) One of our favorite Mexican Sages, this large variety is reputed to be a hybrid between Salvia mexicana and S. hispanica -- a species of Chia Sage.

    Byron's Mexican Sage grows up to 6 feet tall and 3 feet wide. Its large, fall-blooming flowers are deep violet with bi-color calyxes that are bright green with dark purple streaks. Hummingbirds and honeybees love the blossoms.

    Unlike its parent species, this plant is fragrant. It's also the strongest growing and longest blooming type of S. mexicana that we grow.

    We have found this variety to be exceptionally drought resistant, but it does best with regular watering. It also appreciates rich, well-drained soil. Grow this perennial as an accent, screen or part of a tall border. We've voted it our very best Salvia mexicana.

    10.50
  • Salvia pitcheri grandiflora

    (Big Pitcher Sage) As its scientific name indicates, this sage has very large flowers. They are almost two-tone, changing from deep violet to a light blue or white at their base where they are cupped by dusky purple calyxes.

    The tall, sprawling stems of this sage are just right in mixed plantings. That is how they grow in the wild from Texas to Nebraska on the Great Prairie.

    This heat- and cold-tolerant sage is a superb choice for the native or wild garden. It's also at home in the back or middle of more refined borders. Anywhere you put it, expect bees, butterflies and hummingbirds to buzz in for its pleasures.

    Although drought tolerant, this perennial sage appreciates regular watering. It is adaptable from USDA Zone 4 to 9 where it blooms from late summer into fall. Give it full sun, but this plant will tolerate some partial shade. It handles almost any kind of soil that drains well.

    Finally, you need to know that this is another sage with naming challenges: Is it a variety of Salvia azurea as some say? We think it is significantly different, and is a species on its own. In any case, we love its bright blue blooms, especially when poking up amid shrubby sages such as Salvia regla.

    10.50
  • Salvia regla 'Jame'

    (Jame Orange Mountain Sage) North Carolina plantsman Richard Dufresne collected this fine variety of Salvia regla near the village of Jame, in central Mexico where the western and eastern Sierra Madre mountains meet.

    This fragrant, compact Salvia regla is densely clothed with the largest leaves of any of the varieties we grow. It also has 3-inch-long, persimmon-orange flowers that bloom from summer into fall. Dark leafed Heuchera look handsome planted with this bright sage.

    Salvia regla is native to the Chisos Mountains in Southwestern Texas and of Mexico from Coahuila to Oaxaca. It is powerfully heat tolerant. Although it appreciates average watering based on local conditions, the species does well in waterwise gardens in USDA Zones 7 to 10. Give it full sun and well-drained soil. Use it as a screen, tall shrub border or background plant. It grows 5 feet wide and tall! This is a favorite in native gardens and dry gardens.

    Hummingbirds love this species, which has become an important nectar source for their southbound, autumn migration to the tropics. Butterflies and honeybees are also frequent visitors. So it's almost impossible to keep this plant in stock when in bloom.

    NOTE: Theses are slow to propagate, and generally take at least 8 weeks for an appropriate plant to be grown.

    10.50
  • Salvia regla 'Royal'

    (Orange Mountain Sage) Coahuila, Mexico, is home to many fine Salvias, including the smallest variety of Salvia regla that we grow. This one averages about 3 feet tall and wide.

    This fragrant, compact Salvia regla has tidy foliage and large, orange flowers that bloom from summer into fall in USDA Zones 7 to 10. The absolutely unique characteristic of this variety is its bright orange bracts that even turn the heads of longtime Salvia enthusiasts.


    A native of the Chisos Mountains in Southwestern Texas and of Mexico from Coahuila to Oaxaca, Salvia regla is powerfully heat tolerant and fragrant. Although it appreciates average watering based on local conditions, the species does well in waterwise gardens. Give it full sun and well-drained soil. Grow it as a screen, shrub border or background plant. This is a favorite in native gardens and dry gardens.

    Hummingbirds love this species, which has become an important nectar source for their southbound, autumn migration to the tropics. Butterflies also visit. So it's almost impossible to keep this plant in stock when in bloom.

    NOTE: Theses are slow to propagate, and generally take at least 8 weeks for an appropriate plant to be grown.

    10.50
  • Salvia reptans

    (West Texas Grass Sage) Small clusters of true blue blossoms are spaced widely along the grass-like stems of this willowy West Texas mountain sage. Like so many American native plants, it is a key food source for honeybees, butterflies and hummingbirds.

    The scientific appellation repens refers to its creeping roots that spread like a mat-forming grass. This densely clumping, heat-resistant sage is spectactular during bloom time in late summer and fall. It is also cold tolerant and grows well in USDA Zones 5 to 9.

    As a stand-alone accent plant, West Texas Grass Sage is nothing short of spectacular. It also works well in perennial borders with its 4-foot-long flower spikes poking out amidst sages with denser foliage and floral displays.

    This sage grows best in full sun but is adaptable to afternoon shade. It prefers average watering based on local conditions, but also does well in dry gardens.
    10.50
  • Salvia reptans 'Summer Skies'

    (Summer Skies West Texas Grass Sage) Butterflies and honeybees particularly favor this West Texas mountain native. In contrast to the true blue flowers of regular Salvia reptans, this cultivar has purple blossoms with cloud-like, lavender-to-white throats.

    Summer Skies tolerates heat, cold and drought. It grows best in Mediterranean-style coastal areas and semi-arid climates. The scientific epithet repens refers to its creeping roots that spread like a mat-forming grass helping to conserve moisture in the soil.

    Although this tough perennial handles full-sun, it does particularly well with morning sun and afternoon shade, especially where summers are extremely hot. Give it rich, well-drained soil and average watering depending on your local conditions. However, this is a sage that grows well in dry gardens.

    Salvia repens is a narrow, vertical species. Its whorled flowers are widely spaced on tall, slender flower spikes. It looks pretty as an accent plant, standing alone or in a mixed border poking out amid plants with denser foliage.

    New Mexico's High Country Gardens developed Summer Skies after discovering it as a happy purple accident amid cobalt sages. You might say it came from out of the blue.

    10.50
  • Salvia x 'Anthony Parker'

    (Anthony Parker Bush Sage) Floriferous spikes of dark blue to purple flowers bloom midsummer to fall on this tidy, mid-height subshrub that grows as wide as it is tall.

    Anthony Parker Bush Sage is a chance hybrid that garden designer Frances Parker discovered in her South Carolina garden in 1994 and named for her grandson. It appears to be a cross between Mexican Sage (Salvia leucantha 'Midnight') and Pineapple Sage (Salvia elegans) and is perennial in areas with moderate winters.

    Although not aromatic, the gray-green, heart-shaped leaves are similar to those of Pineapple Sage, including their attractive veining. Anthony Parker Bush Sage's flowers -- lovely in cut-flower arrangements -- reflect those of Mexican Sage, but are darker and more slender.

    Hummingbirds love this full-sun sage, which makes it a valuable addition to wildlife habitat. We love it too and give it our "best of class" designation as the best blue-blossomed, fall-flowering sage for your garden.

    Our photograph of this variety is not particularly good.  Here is a link to a better one on Pinterest.

    10.50
  • Salvia x 'Waverly'

    (Waverly Sage) A pale pink to lavender blush adds delicate color to the white flowers of Waverly Sage, which are supported by plum-colored calyxes. Its mid-green leaves are lance shaped and veined.

    This is a tender, woody shrub that may remain evergreen or an herbaceous perennial that dies to ground, depending on the winter temperatures where you live.

    First called "Mark's Mystery White," this long-blooming, sun-loving plant that can tolerate some shade. It appears to be related to Mexican Bush Sage (S. leucantha), but it's likely we'll never know all the details of its heritage.

    Waverly Sage has a fountain-like form with long stems that rise up from the base and then arch downward. Height varies depending, once again, on local growing conditions. On our farm, it tends to reach about four feet high and six feet wide. However, it does well in a large container.

    Deer avoid this shrub, which is popular with butterflies, honeybees and hummingbirds. Heat tolerant and drought resistant, it is a great choice for dry landscapes.

    10.50

    OUT OF STOCK

  • Agastache x 'Kudos Coral'

    (Kudos Coral Hybrid Anise Hyssop) Dense plumes of deep coral flowers are accented by mid-green foliage in this heat- and drought-tolerant favorite of pollinators. Kudos Coral is a compact, clumping, semi-dwarf variety.

    Agastaches are ideal companion plants for Salvias and beneficial choices for attracting butterflies, honeybees and hummingbirds. Similar to so many members of the mint family (Lamiaceae) -- such as sages -- they thrive in low-fertility soils, but need excellent drainage.

    Kudos Coral is a fragrant, long-blooming Agastache developed by Oregon's Terra Nova Nurseries.


    Most Agastaches are native to the Southwest and Northern Mexico. These are the most heat- and drought-tolerant members of the genus. In contrast, some species -- such as the Asian Agastache rugosa -- can handle more moisture and colder winters. This one does well in USDA Cold Hardiness Zone 5.

    By crossing Southwestern species with varieties of Agastache rugosa, you gain the best of both types as in the Kudos Series. Kudos Agastaches are more compact, floriferous, long flowering and weather-resistant than most Agastaches. Their non-browning calyces create long-lasting color that endures even when blossoms are gone.

    10.50

    OUT OF STOCK

  • Agastache x 'Kudos Mandarin'

    (Kudos Mandarin Hybrid Anise Hyssop) Dense plumes of creamy orange flowers are accented by deep green foliage in this heat- and drought-tolerant favorite of pollinators. Kudos Mandarin is a compact, clumping, semi-dwarf variety.

    Agastaches are ideal companion plants for Salvias and beneficial choices for attracting butterflies, honeybees and hummingbirds. Similar to so many members of the mint family (Lamiaceae) -- such as sages -- they thrive in low-fertility soils, but need excellent drainage.

    Kudos Mandarin is a fragrant, long-blooming Agastache developed by Oregon's Terra Nova Nurseries.

    Most Agastaches are native to the Southwest and Northern Mexico. These are the most heat- and drought-tolerant members of the genus. In contrast, some species -- such as the Asian Agastache rugosa -- can handle more moisture and colder winters.

    By crossing Southwestern species with varieties of Agastache rugosa, you gain the best of both types as in the Kudos Series. This one grows well in USDA Cold Hardiness Zone 5. Kudos Agastaches are more tidy and upright, floriferous, long flowering and weather-resistant than most Agastaches. Their non-browning calyces create long-lasting color that endures even when blossoms are gone.

    10.50
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Texas and Southwestern Native Plants for Butterflies, Honeybees and Hummingbirds

Texas and Southwestern Native Plants for Butterflies, Honeybees and Hummingbirds


Category: Everything Salvias Blog
Posted: Aug 25, 2014 03:30 AM
Synopsis: Many gardeners and wildlife lovers in states with recurrent drought choose to increase the number of native plants in their yards. This is especially true of Texas, where statewide drought began in 2010 and hasn't yet abated. Native plants appeal to local wildlife, including pollinators. To help gardeners from Texas and the Southwest who want to create wildlife habitat, Flowers by the Sea (FBTS) suggests 25 Salvias and companion plants appropriate for Texas and Southwest gardens.
I like Amstiad

Hummingbirds love Salvia (sage) nectar and are attracted to it by the bright colors of tubular sage blossoms. In particular, these little whirlybirds can easily spot flowers in the red spectrum, which is prevalent among sages. Here are some hummingbird gardening tips.


  1. Go tubular. Hummingbirds need tubular flowers that are easy for long, thin beaks to access.
  2. Provide lots of color. Think of yourself as a cafeteria manager who needs to provide many tempting choices in order to attract business. Red, pink, orange and purple sages are particularly powerful hummingbird magnets.
  3. Keep your garden blooming. Plant a variety of Salvias based not only on color but also a broad span of bloom times. Many flower from spring into fall. Others are prolific fountains of nectar for shorter seasons. Numerous winter-blooming species are available for areas that are home to hummingbirds year round.
  4. Grow sages native to the Western Hemisphere. Although hummingbirds will take advantage of many kinds of tubular flowering plants, these tiny birds are native to the Western Hemisphere and prefer flowering plants native to their half of the world.
  5. Select Salvia companion plants. Hummingbirds appreciate a variety of favorite tubular-flowered plants.
  6. Plant hummingbird gardens near cover. Trees and bushes surrounding feeding areas provide protection from predators and chilly, rainy weather.
  7. Don't use pesticides. Insects provide protein for hummingbirds, so don't kill these food sources.
  8. Provide water. Hummingbirds frolic in misters and shallow birdbaths.
  9. Supplement plantings with feeder tubes. Change the sugar water every few days and don't add food coloring. Keep the feeders clean, but don't scrub them with soaps or detergents. Here is more feeder care information.
  10. Read more. Our Everything Salvias Blog offers a number of articles about hummingbirds.
Eastern Tiger Swallowtail butterfly

Fragrance as well as color attracts butterflies. However, they don't have noses. Instead, butterflies smell and taste with their antennas and feet. Here are some ways to attract them:


  1. Plant sages with platform-type blossoms. Unlike hummingbirds, butterflies can't hover while feeding. Sages with large lower lips and short nectar tubes, such as those in the Autumn Sage (Salvia greggii) and Mountain Sage (S. microphylla) group, give butterflies a place to stand while gathering nectar and pollen.
  2. Provide lots of color and sunlight. Butterflies need to stay warm and are attracted to a broad range of flower colors.
  3. Include native species. Insects and plants have co-evolved to meet each other's needs within their native regions. Butterflies prefer feeding on their local, native perennials and shrubs.
  4. Grow Caterpillar Host Plants. Butterflies need baby nurseries. Some are extremely picky about the plants on which they lay eggs, such as Monarchs, which need milkweeds (Asclepias spp.). The North American Butterfly Association is a good source of information about host plants.
  5. Don't use pesticides. They kill many beneficial insects, including butterflies.
  6. Keep your garden blooming. Plant a variety of Salvias based on bloom times as well as color and shape. Many flower from spring into fall. Others are prolific fountains of nectar for shorter seasons.
  7. Provide puddles. Butterflies stay hydrated by splashing in puddles located in sunny spots on the ground or raised up in shallow birdbaths. Include rocks for basking; butterflies need to dry and warm their wings.
  8. Plant butterfly gardens near shelter. Butterflies need to be able to flee into trees, shrubbery and woodpiles when predators appear and when windy or rainy weather occurs.
  9. Supplement plantings with rotten fruit. Some butterflies love the juice of rotting fruit even more than nectar.
  10. Read more. Our Everything Salvias Blog offers a number of articles about butterflies.

Hey, got any greens?

If you live in suburbs or rural areas where deer plunder gardens, Salvias (sages) can be part of your plan for discouraging these hungry visitors. Here are some tips.


  1. Mask smells that deer like with aromatic sages. Deer and other members of the Cervidae family, such as elk, mostly leave Salvias alone. One theory is that they don't like the fragrance or taste of sage chemicals. Strategically planting sages near vegetable gardens or fruit trees -- elixir to deer -- may prevent consumption.
  2. Grow hedges including Salvias. Prickly hedges, including hairy-leafed Salvias and exceptionally thorny roses, can discourage deer from entering your yard. They don't like the mouth-feel of those textures. Tall hedges also hide strawberry beds and other yummy plantings from view.
  3. Don't overplant one species. Grow a variety of Salvias in case local deer take an unexpected liking to one species of sage.
  4. Fence deer out. Install electric fences or 8-foot wood or metal fences around particularly vulnerable areas. Make sure electric fencing is turned on during the peak feeding seasons of early spring and late fall.
  5. Use motion-detection tools. Install outdoor lighting that is activated by movement.
  6. Let the dogs out. Deer are especially wary of large dogs.
  7. Surround and cover. Wrap tough plastic around the trunks of trees that have tasty bark and cover foliage with bird netting when trees and bushes are fruiting.
  8. Change yard ornaments periodically. Objects such as scarecrows, statuary and cordons of monofilament string with strips of shiny foil attached cause deer to shy away.
  9. Make safe choices. Research repellants you plan to use to make sure they aren't poisonous.
  10. Be flexible and ready to share a bit. There is no such thing as a completely deer-resistant garden.
It's dry out there

Xeric plants are excellent for water conservation. They grow well in dry gardens with little to no supplemental watering once established. In fact, overwatering can harm these plants, which are native to dry environments such as deserts and chaparral.

At Flowers by the Sea, we identify all xeric plants with a blue plant marker that warns against overwatering. Here are some tips for growing and understanding our xeric, or blue tag, plants:

1) In a humid region, you may find it difficult to grow plants native to semi-arid and arid environments. Yet xeric plants may succeed if you have a persistently dry area, such as under a roof overhang or in the shelter of a tree.

2) Xeric plants are excellent for locations far from garden hoses, such as along sidewalks -- areas often referred to as "hellstrips."

3) Shipping is hard on xeric plants, which suffer from confinement in small containers as well as boxes. You may see some mold, spots on leaves or withered foliage when they arrive. But xeric plants perk up with proper care while hardening off in partial shade before planting.

4) When amending soil before planting, remember that xeric plants not only need excellent drainage but also flower better in low fertility soil. Fertilize sparingly and use a mix with more phosphorous than nitrogen to encourage flowering and discourage lax overgrowth of foliage.

5) Organic matter, such as compost, is an excellent soil amendment for xeric plants, because it keeps their roots healthy by improving aeration and drainage.

6) When your xeric plants are established, water infrequently to encourage deep root growth and to avoid fungal problems. However, it's a good idea to gently spray dust off foliage about once a week.