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Bee Plants

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Bee Plants

Honeybees and their many relatives make life sweet for us. Without bees many of our favorite foods and flowers would not be available. From apples to ornamentals to zuchinni, we rely on bees for pollination. According to the USDA, one-third of our diet is made possible by insect pollinators, and approximately 80 percent of that pollination is due to bees. By planting long blooming, drought-resistant Salvias and other flowering plants favored by honeybees and other species of the family Apidae, home gardeners can provide the nectar and pollen that these tiny pollinators need to survive.

Drought is causing shortages of many flowering plants on which bees survive. Food loss, both through drought and climate change, is one of many factors that bee researchers say is likely contributing to Colony Collapse Disorder, a mysterious malady that weakens honeybees and causes their destruction. The Natural Resources Defense Council notes that bee researchers began documenting this problem in America around 2006.

The Häagen-Daz Honey Bee Haven of the University of California, Davis, in July 2014 reported that "few plants show their value as bee plants for hot, dry gardens better than the salvias." UC Davis even includes red-flowering species among its bee favorites, although some bee researchers say that bees mostly can't see reds.

Many factors affect the predilections of honeybees, including markings on flowers -- sometimes called "beelines" -- that guide bees to the pollen and nectar they need. Unlike humans who can't see colors in the ultra-violet range, bees see UV colors including markings invisible to people but acting like lit-up runways for insects. Perhaps this characteristic enables them to access red flowers.

This list offers honeybee favorites in many colors grown at Flowers by the Sea.

Plants


  • Salvia elegans

    (Pineapple Sage) An indispensable fall-blooming addition to the garden, this tender perennial is, perhaps, the best of all hummingbird plants. When in bloom, it is covered in 3-inch-long red flowers.

    10.50
     


  • Salvia elegans 'Golden Delicious'

    (Golden Pineapple Sage) The bright crimson flowers of this extremely fragrant sage are attractive to both humans and pollinators. However, it is the glowing golden foliage that most distinguishes this cultivar from other varieties of Pineapple Sage.
    10.50
     


  • Salvia elegans 'Honey Melon'

    (Honey Melon Pineapple Sage) This is a short Pineapple Sage that is long blooming. It is the earliest and longest flowering of all the many varieties of Salvia elegans. We recommend it for indoor herb gardening as well as for outdoor borders and groundcovers.

    10.50
     


  • Salvia elegans 'Tangerine'

    (Tangerine Pineapple Sage) This citrus-scented cultivar is our smallest variety of Pineapple Sage. Worth growing just for the exotic scent of its leaves, this culinary sage is also one of the longest blooming plants in its species.

    10.50
     


  • Salvia farinacea 'Art's Blue'

    (Art's Blue Mealy Cup Sage) Salvia farinacea 'Art's Blue' is a dusky violet-blue beauty with strong white "eyes" that are beelines helping winged pollinators find their way to the plant's nectar and pollen.

    10.50
     


  • Salvia greggii 'Burgundy Seduction'

    (Burgundy Seduction Autumn Sage) A deeply saturated burgundy, the flowers of this Autumn Sage clone are large and profuse. They seem to bloom nonstop and glow in contrast to their dark calyxes. Plus, this Southwestern plant grows rapidly.


    10.50
     


  • Salvia greggii 'Cherry Chief'

    (Cherry Chief Autumn Sage) With hundreds of varieties of Autumn Sage on the market, there is much confusion as to which ones to plant.  This red-flowered cultivar, developed by Richard Dufresne of North Carolina, is a top choice.
    10.50
     


  • Salvia greggii 'Cold Hardy Pink'

    (Cold Hardy Pink Autumn Sage) Medium creamy-hot pink flowers and contrasting, red bracts make this Autumn Sage stand out. This drought tolerant Autumn Sage from Northern Texas is also compact, rugged, heat tolerant and capable of handling Zone 5 chill. Yes - Zone 5!
    10.50
     


  • Salvia greggii 'Dark Dancer'

    (Dark Dancer Autumn Sage) The clear, light raspberry flowers of this largish Autumn Sage bloom from spring into summer. It makes a colorful, tall groundcover and looks lovely on slopes. This variety was discovered as a sport in the Aptos, California nursery of Nevin Smith.
    10.50
     


  • Salvia greggii 'Elk Pomegranate'

    (Elk Pomegranate Autumn Sage) We're proud to say that this is an FBTS cultivar. It is one of the finest dark flowered, compact Autumn Sage varieties we have seen. Its extraordinarily large, raspberry blossoms bloom from spring into fall.

    10.50
     


  • Salvia greggii 'Flame'

    (Flame Autumn Sage) Crimson flowers contrast brightly against deep purple calyxes and stems in Flame Autumn Sage. The leaves -- tiny ellipses without veins -- are soft and shiver in the breeze.

    10.50
     


  • Salvia greggii 'Furman's Red'

    (Furman's Red Autumn Sage) Selected by noted Texas plantsman W.A. Furman in the 1970s, this hardy Texas native is beautiful and tough withstanding heat, drought and freezing winters. Its flowers, which bloom spring through fall, are a rich, saturated red bordering on magenta.

    10.50
     


  • Salvia greggii 'Grace Pink'

    (Grace Pink Autumn Sage) Dark hot pink flowers and contrasting, dark bracts make this Autumn Sage stand out. Originally fom the JC Raulston Arboretum in North Carolina. This variety is large but compact, rugged, heat tolerant and capable of handling Zone 6 chill.

    10.50
     


    New!
  • Salvia greggii 'Lipstick'

    (Lipstick Autumn Sage) Similar to a little bit of lipstick on a pretty face, the rosy flowers of this hardy, heat-tolerant sage add a finishing touch to a perennial Salvia border. The creamy pinkish-red blossoms have a contrasting white throat and are cupped by rosy brown calexes on long spikes.

    10.50
     


  • Salvia greggii 'Lowrey's Peach'

    (Lowrey's Peach Autumn Sage) No other Salvia has a color like this: a warm, rosy orange with a pastel peach skirt and bright yellow throat. Wow! This is our best pastel orange Autumn Sage not only due to its blossoms but also it's compact branching habit and glossy foliage.
    10.50
     


  • Salvia greggii 'Navajo Purple'

    (Navajo Autumn Sage) Even a hint of blue is unusual among Autumn Sage flowers. Salvia greggii 'Navajo Purple' is a rarity due to its magenta-purple blossoms, which hint at natural hybridization including a mystery parent in the blue range, such as Salvia lycioides.

    10.50
     


    New!
  • Salvia greggii 'Orange Yucca Do'

    (Big Orange Autumn Sage) Standout color is the big draw for this large growing Autumn Sage. Collected in the mountains of Northern Mexico, it grows well in a wide range of climates, including the hot dry Southwest and the cool moist Pacific Northwest. A difficult color to capture in a photo, it is well described as a warm orange with a scarlet overlay.

    10.50
     


  • Salvia greggii 'Playa Rosa'

    (Pink Beach Autumn Sage) When it blooms from spring into fall, this heat- and chill-tolerant sage is covered with large, two-tone pink flowers that attract butterflies, honeybees and hummingbirds. This compact, drought-tolerant beauty also features small, shiny, bright green leaves.

    10.50
     


  • Salvia greggii 'Radio Red'

    (Radio Red Autumn Sage) Dark calyxes support true red blossoms in Salvia greggii 'Radio Red', a 2015 introduction from the Darwin Perennials division of Ball Seed. Its tiny, smooth, elliptical leaves form a light, airy backdrop for the dramatic flowers.

    10.50
     


  • Salvia greggii 'Salmon'

    (Salmon Autumn Sage) Creamy salmon-colored flowers with white throats make this elegant Autumn Sage perfect for a pastel garden or as a cooling color in a mixed sage border. Bloom time is spring into fall for this petite Salvia greggii native to the American Southwest and Mexico.

    10.50
     


  • Salvia greggii 'Stormy Pink'

    (Stormy Pink Autumn Sage) The dramatic name of this floriferous Autumn Sage is due to the calyxes cupping its smoky apricot-pink blossoms. Some gardeners report gray calyxes and others say dark plum. But for whatever reason, the Stormy Pink that we grow on our Northern California coastal farm has green calyxes with dark stripes.

    10.50
     


  • Salvia greggii 'Texas Wedding'

    (Texas Wedding White Autumn Sage) This is our best white-flowered Autumn Sage. It is compact, hardy and blooms abundantly. We love it as a contrast to the generally bright colors of its group. Texas Wedding seems to always be blooming, with massive displays in spring and fall.

    10.50
     


  • Salvia greggii 'Wild Thing'

    (Wild Thing Autumn Sage) Native to West Texas where it was collected in the wild, this cold-tolerant sage has perky, upright flowers that are coral pink with a darker throat. Overall, it is a vigorous, upright plant with dense, deep green foliage. Butterflies, honeybees and hummingbirds love it.
    10.50
     


  • Salvia greggii x karwinskii 'Brent's'

    (Brent's Fall Hybrid Sage) Although hybrids involving Salvia gregii (Autumn Sage) are common, but this one is exceptionally tall, attractive and long blooming. Its other parent is the tall, tubular-flowered Roseleaf Sage.
    10.50
     


  • Salvia greggii x lemmonii 'Raspberry Royale'

    (Raspberry Royale Sage) Honeybees and hummingbirds love this sage, which stands out for its compact habit and large raspberry-pink flowers. Richard Dufresne developed this hardy hybrid that does well in full sun or partial shade and blooms spring through fall.
    10.50
     


  • Salvia haematodes

    (Red Veined Sage) In 1827, John Wilkes referred to Salvia haematodes as "Bloody Sage" in his Encyclopaedia Londinensis, Volume 22. This might seem mysterious when first viewing the sage's upright yet somewhat relaxed spikes of whorled, violet-colored flowers.

    10.50
     


  • Salvia hierosolymitana

    (Jerusalem Sage) This lovely herbaceous perennial is native to Cyprus, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, and the West Bank. Its clear pink flowers change at times to a pink highlighted with violet lines and dots. Prominent glandular hairs on the buds, bracts and floral stems exude a fragrance that is delightful on a warm day.

    10.50
     


  • Salvia lemmonii 'Wild Pink'

    (Wild Pink Lemmon's Sage) Botanists Sarah Allen Plummer Lemmon (1836-1923) and John Gill Lemmon (1832-1908) collected Salvia lemmonii in the sky islands of southeastern Arizona while honeymooning. A contemporary seed collector found this variety growing wild in New Mexico.
    10.50
     


  • Salvia lemmonii 'Wild Rose'

    (Wild Rose Lemmon's Sage) Botanists Sarah Allen Plummer Lemmon (1836-1923) and John Gill Lemmon (1832-1908) collected Salvia lemmonii in the sky islands of southeastern Arizona while honeymooning. A contemporary seed collector found this variety growing wild in New Mexico.
    10.50
     


    New!
  • Salvia lycioides x greggii 'San Isidro'

    (Saint Isidro's Sage) This hardy, lavender-blue-flowered Salvia comes from Southern Texas and has the same breeding as the famous Ultra Violet Autumn Sage. Although it needs warmer winter temperatures and has smaller foliage, it also does well in stressful conditions, including drought.

    10.50
     


  • Salvia lycioides x greggii 'Ultra Violet'

    (Ultra Violet Hybrid Sage) Hardy is a word bandied about by gardeners and nurserymen. Its use is often exaggerated. But this fine hybrid deserves to be called "the hardiest Autumn Sage." It's Zone-5 hardy, drought resistant and has lovely, soft purple flowers. Ultra Violet is a winner.

    10.50
     


  • Salvia mellifera

    (Black Sage or Honey Sage) One of the most common and fragrant native shrubs in Central California's Coast Ranges, Black Sage is ideal for dry gardens. Admirably adaptable, it tolerates soils ranging from the most marginal to ones that are loamy and provide excellent drainage. It is a survivor.

    10.50
     


  • Salvia mellifera 'Jade Carpet'

    (Jade Carpet Black Sage) Black Sage Salvia mellifera is one of the most common and fragrant native shrubs in the California Coast Ranges and is ideal for dry gardens. At 24 inches tall by 6 feet wide, this variety is an excellent groundcover. It is slightly taller and has more grey in the leaf color than the closely related variety 'Terra Seca'.

    10.50
     


  • Salvia mellifera 'Terra Seca'

    (Dry Earth Black Sage) Black Sage Salvia mellifera is one of the most common and fragrant native shrubs in the California Coast Ranges and is ideal for dry gardens. At 12 inches tall by 5 feet wide, this variety is an excellent groundcover.

    10.50
     


  • Salvia microphylla 'Belize Form'

    (Black Stem Mountain Sage) Intense cardinal red flowers, stiff black stems and large, ribbed, green leaves make this Salvia microphylla stand out. Its color and upright growth make it dramatic amid a group of soft, rounded Salvias.

    10.50
     


  • Salvia microphylla 'Berkeley Barb'

    (Berkeley Barb Mountain Sage) California's Monterey Bay Nursery discovered a surprising Mountain Sage (Salvia microphylla) seedling growing accidentally on its gravel floor one day.
    10.50
     




Take a Quick Look at a group of Salvias
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Reviews


Blooms pretty continuously from late spring through fall, planted in full sun wit 45 minutes of drip every 5 days in summer. Attracts various pollinators.
Mary Smith
Aug 12, 2017