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Best of Class

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Best of Class

Remember in childhood when you received a ribbon for doing a super job on a task or in a competition? It signaled an accomplishment of which others took notice. There are times at Flowers by the Sea when we pause from work and glimpse a plant that is particularly beautiful and reliable. We feel like hanging a colorful county-fair-type ribbon on it to proclaim top achievement. This Best of Class list shares the plants we honor as being winners in many ways. We give them accolades for great garden performance.

Each of our Best of Class plants is marked with a first-place ribbon icon giving a brief explanation of how it is tops. The accolade marks plants that are tops within a specific grouping or species for combinations of characteristics such as adaptability, appearance, cold hardiness, drought resistance, durability, ease of growth, heat tolerance, long bloom time, pest resistance, size and usability in particular circumstances.

Regarding usability, for example, we might recommend one plant as best of class among Salvia groundcovers for dry slopes and another as the best groundcover for damp shade.

This way of identifying fine performers is similar to the kind of “super plant” recommendations that university extension services sometimes offer. We base our Best of Class selections not only on experience with the plants in our gardens but on feedback from customers around the nation. When you call or write to us, we really do pay attention.

Keep in mind that what is best for your garden may not be best in another region with different growing conditions. When selecting plants from our catalog, please read their descriptions carefully to be sure they fit your local climate and any special features of your property. If a Best of Class plant is right for your USDA zone, summer heat, water availability and soil characteristics as well as the size and light level of the planned growing area, then it is one of the best choices you can make.

Plants


  • Salvia gravida

    (Gravid Sage) This tender perennial from Michoacán, Mexico, has large, rich magenta flowers that hang from the arching branches in clusters up to 12 inches long. Growing up to 5 feet tall, this sage offers an unforgettable display when in bloom.

    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 '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 '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 '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 '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 koyamae

    (Shinano-akigiri) Japan's largest island, Honshu, is home to Salvia koyamae, a shade- and moisture-loving herbaceous perennial that is perfect for woodland gardens or shady borders. It is notable for yellow flowers, which bloom from late summer into fall, as well as arrow-shaped foliage.

    10.50
     


  • Salvia leucantha 'Santa Barbara'

    (Santa Barbara Mexican Bush Sage) This compact Mexican Bush Sage was found in the Santa Barbara garden of Kathiann Brown. It is, without a doubt, the finest short Mexican Bush Sage -- hardy, tough and long blooming. Add drought tolerance and dark, rich purple flowers to its list of merits.

    10.50
     


  • Salvia leucocephala

    (White Headed Sage) One of the most visually stunning members of the genus, this large growing, tender, winter blooming species from the mountains of Ecuador will turn every head with its furry white calyxes and brilliant magenta red flowers.

    15.00
     


    Special Order Plant
    Special Order Plant   This plant is available by Special Order. Click for more information.
  • Salvia leucophylla 'Amethyst Bluffs'

    (Giant Spreading California Purple Sage or Giant Spreading California Gray Sage) Looking for a large-scale groundcover? One for poor soil, little-to-no water, howling winds or seriously hot sun? This variety of Salvia leucophylla may be the answer.
    10.50
     


  • Salvia libanensis

    (Giant Colombian Red Mountain Sage) In 1898, physician and medical plant researcher Henry Hurd Rusby (1855-1940) found this towering sage with large, deep red flowers in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta mountains of Colombia.

    15.00
     


  • Salvia lineata

    (Oaxaca Orange Wooly Sage) Tall, eye-catching spikes of dusky red-orange flowers that bloom from summer into fall make this one of our most impressive Salvias. Plus it's cold hardy into Zone 7.

    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 '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 mexicana 'Kelsi'

    (Variegated Mexican Sage) Although its deep violet flowers are compelling, it is the foliage of this sage that is its greatest attraction. Kelsi is full of surprises, including asymmetrical leaves that make this variety easy to identify.

    15.00
     


    Special Order Plant
    Special Order Plant   This plant is available by Special Order. Click for more information.
  • 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.

    10.50
     


  • Salvia microphylla 'Flower Child'

    (Flower Child Mountain Sage) At 18 to 24 inches tall, this is the smallest Salvia microphylla that we grow. Its common name is based on the plant's lavender-to-pink flowers, which are so abundant that they sometimes seem to outnumber the leaves.
    10.50
     


  • Salvia microphylla 'Heatwave Glimmer'

    (Glimmering White Mountain Sage) Heatwave Glimmer isn't a mirage. It is a Salvia microphylla that tolerates extremely hot climates as well as cooler regions. It doesn't just survive; it thrives in the heat of Southern California, the Southwest and Texas.

    10.50
     


  • Salvia microphylla 'La Trinidad Pink'

    (Trinity Mountain Sage) Heat and drought tolerant, this Salvia microphylla is native to Northeastern Mexico where summers are dry and temperatures can rise to more than 100 degrees F. It can survive winter temperatures down to 0 degrees.

    10.50
     


  • Salvia microphylla 'Mesa Azure'

    (Azure Hybrid Sage) Despite its name, the flowers of this tiny hybrid aren't really blue. They are a light purple. Due to its size, long bloom time, heat tolerance and drought resistance, Salvia x 'Mesa Azure' is a fine groundcover for areas where summers are hot and dry.

    10.50
     


  • Salvia microphylla var. neurepia

    (Big Leaf Mountain Sage) Nothing is little about this plant even though "microphylla" means "little leaf." The rough, wrinkly leaves are often 3 inches long and almost 2 inches wide. The pinkish-orange flowers are also large and bloom spring to fall.
    10.50
     


  • Salvia nemorosa 'Royal Crimson Distinction'

    (Royal Crimson Distinction Woodland Sage) Grown for hundreds of years in cottage gardens throughout the world, Salvia nemorosa was described by Carl Linneaus in 1762. This variety's large flower spikes bloom a dark violet-crimson, then age to a softer pink.

    10.50
     


  • Salvia nipponica 'BSWJ5829'

    (Kyushu Woodland Sage) We are in love with this short forest sage from Kyushu, Japan. Its clusters of large creamy flowers pale as fresh-churned butter begin blooming in September. Even when not blooming, its foliage is showy in a shady garden.

    11.50
     


  • Salvia orthostachys

    (Straight Spike Sage) Covered with whorls of crimson flowers, this long-blooming, perennial sage has erect form. It matures into a tall, wide plant that is ideal for massing as a screen or at back of border.

    10.50
     


    New!
  • Salvia pachyphylla 'Blue Flame'

    (Giant Purple Desert Sage) It’s best to plant this flamboyant native of the Southwest in spring or summer. However, once established, it tolerates winters from USDA Zones 5 to 9. Purple tubular flowers and burgundy bracts flare up its 10-inch flower spikes like flames on this softly rounded shrub.

    10.50
     


  • Salvia patens 'White Trophy'

    (White Trophy Gentian Sage) White Trophy loves partial shade and is the finest white Salvia patens available, with very large flowers that age to pale blue.
    10.50
     


  • Salvia ringens

    (Mount Olympus Sage) The deep violet and white flowers of Salvia ringens are eyecatching. Their wiry, branched spikes rise up to 5 feet tall from a dark green basal rosette.

    12.50
     


  • Salvia sclarea var turkestanica 'Piemont'

    (Italian Clary Sage) Clary Sages are well known for their use in folk remedies, aromatherapy and cosmetics. Glowing purple bracts frame the spectacular white blooms of this cultivar on 5-foot-tall spikes. It is a delight for honeybees, hummingbirds and butterflies.

    9.00
     


  • Salvia spathacea 'Avis Keedy'

    (Yellow Hummingbird Sage or Yellow Pitcher Sage) The Santa Barbara Botanic Garden introduced this rare yellow variety of fragrant Hummingbird Sage. Similar to other varieties of this species, Avis Keedy is alluring to butterflies, honeybees and hummingbirds.

    11.50
     


    Special Order Plant
    Special Order Plant   This plant is available by Special Order. Click for more information.
  • Salvia spathacea 'Elk Rose'

    (Elk Rose Hummingbird Sage) Dusky pastel, rose-toned flowers with burgundy stamens are surrounded by silvery, velvety bracts in this unusual variety of the native California species Salvia spathacea. It is an FBTS cultivar developed through several generations of breeding.
    10.50
     


    Special Order Plant
    Special Order Plant   This plant is available by Special Order. Click for more information.
  • Salvia splendens ‘Giant Form'

    (Giant Red Scarlet Sage) Looking to fill in large shady area? This may be your best bet. This variety is largest that we know of, growing to 6 feet - 7 feet - or even more in a sheltered shady spot.

    10.50
     


  • Salvia splendens ‘Sao Borja’

    (Sao Borja Scarlet Sage) Three-inch-long, smokey purple blossoms that bloom from spring to fall are a major clue that this heat-tolerant perennial is not your grandmother's Scarlet Sage.

    10.50
     


  • Salvia subrotunda

    (Giant Brazilian Sage) Yes, this one is gigantic. The first season we grew this heat-tolerant sage, it reached 8 feet tall by July! Masses of small, red-orange, trumpet-shaped flowers attract hummingbirds and honeybees to long, upward curving flower spikes towering over heart-shaped foliage.

    8.50
     


  • Salvia valentina

    (Strong Spanish Sage) Fuzzy green stems and bracts mature to burgundy on this lovely, lavender flowered sage that roughly doubles in height when blooming. Salvia valentina is a variety of the European native S. nemorosa, a Meadow Sage.

    10.50
     


  • Salvia VIBE 'Ignition Purple'

    (Salvia VIBE®'Ignition Purple') Purple once was a color reserved for royalty. Salvia VIBE® 'Ignition Purple' has deep royal purple flowers that are rare in a Jame Sage hybrid.  They bloom spring to fall for your enjoyment.

    10.50
     


    New!
  • Salvia x 'Alegria Dark Pink'

    (Dark Pink Joy Sage) Salvia x 'Alegría Dark Pink' is one of the most vigorous new plants at Flowers by the Sea.  It is a South American introduction from Roland Uria, an agronomy professor and plant researcher from the University of Buenos Aires in Argentina. This select clone is a deep burgundy pink shade.

    10.50
     


    New!


Take a Quick Look at a group of Salvias
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Reviews


Plant is doing well but not yet the showy plant described. Providing great late summer color and survived a week of 100+ temps without any attention.
Ms. linda allen
Sep 7, 2017