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Drought Tolerant

Drought Tolerant

Drought tolerance is characterized by a plant's ability to get by on less water. Yet native climate often defines the boundaries of this trait. The plants in this list all share the ability to grow in arid conditions when water is scarce.

A plant that tolerates and perhaps thrives on less than 15 inches of annual rain may be overwhelmed by moisture in a state where drought lowers the annual average from 50 to 40 inches. But Flowers by the Sea also gladly provides information if you ask about Salvias and companion plants that are appropriate for drought in damper parts of the nation.

One definition of drought is a below-average amount of rain and snow over an extended period, such as during more than one growing season. Yet drought is caused by more than a shortfall of local precipitation.

Even if your area’s seasonal average of moisture is at a historically normal level, the level in another region may not be. If waterways and dams connect the two regions -- such as in the American West -- low river levels can mean decreased water storage and drought for both areas. Furthermore, if your region’s population is growing but its water supply isn’t, that can also lead to drought due to insufficiency.

This adds up to a web of trouble that can only be untangled through water conservation. One effective conservation measure is to design gardens with plants that are attractive yet need little water. These are called xeriscapes, waterwise landscapes and dry gardens.

Drought tolerance is closely connected to the term "xeric," a Greek word for "dry” and the root of xeriscape. Xeriscapic plants include species accustomed to arid climates or dry summer/wet winter growing conditions, such as along coastlines with Mediterranean climates.

The Salvias and companion plants in this list share the ability to grow when water is scarce. They are attractive even while surviving minimal summer water. Many are native to arid regions or are from Mediterranean climates.

Before ordering plants, please carefully consider your local growing conditions in order to select species that will be right for your climate and yard. We're happy to provide recommendations.

Products


  • Salvia 'Dara's Choice'

    (Dara's Choice Creeping Sage) A California native hybrid Sage that blooms in spring and early summer, Dara's Choice is widely considered the best choice for slopes, sunny neglected areas and problem spots.
    $8.50
     

  • Salvia 'Silver Sabre'

    (Silver Sabre Sage) Hanging-basket gardeners, here's one for you! The pink, green and cream variegated foliage is so ornamental trailing over pots that you might forget its role as a fragrant cooking herb.

    $8.50
     

  • Salvia africana-caerulea

    (Blue African Sage or Blousalie) A handsome, densely branched shrub with small, gray leaves, this Salvia puts on a show when in full bloom. The pale blue flowers bloom on foot-long spikes that cover the plant. Each flower has a large, trumpet-shaped, green-and-red bract at its base.
    $9.00
     

  • Salvia africana-lutea 'Kirstenbosch'

    (Kirstenbosch Golden Sage) This clone of the durable and tough Golden Sage was selected at Kirstenbosch, the famous South African Botanic Garden. It is more vigorous than Golden Sage and often grows larger.
    $8.50
     

  • Salvia apiana

    (Sacred White Sage) Bees, hummingbirds and spiritual blessings are all connected to this elegant shrubby sage, which is an important herb to indigenous Californians and deserves a place in every salvia garden. Stiff and almost fleshy, its leaves are tight rosettes of brilliant, silvery white.

    $8.50
     

  • Salvia apiana x clevelandii 'Vicki Romo'

    (Vicki Romo White Sage) A hybrid two top Californian natives, Vicki Romo has foliage very much like that of White Sage (Salvia apiana) and darker lavender flowers than those of Cleveland Sage (Salvia clevelandii).
    $8.50
     

  • Salvia arizonica

    (Arizona Blue Sage) We are so impressed with this top-performing, drought-resistant ground cover that we have rated it best of class. Arizona Blue Sage is adaptable to a variety of shady conditions and blossoms so abundantly that it seems to have as many rich blue flowers as it has leaves. It is native to dry, shaded areas in mountain canyons in Arizona, New Mexico and Texas.

    $8.50
     

  • Salvia arizonica 'Deep Blue'

    (Arizona Deep Blue Sage) In contrast to the lavender-blue flowers of Arizona Blue Sage (Salvia arizonica), the blossoms of Arizona Deep Blue are nearly purple. They are the kind of deep lavender that you might see in a southwestern sunset.

    $8.50
     

  • Salvia aurita sps. aurita

    (Oogseerbossie) Short and fragrant, this heat-tolerant sage is endemic to South Africa and Swaziland. Its whorls of lavender, double-lipped flowers bloom from spring to fall. They are marked with white throats, white beelines on the lower lip and bright green calyxes. The lax foliage is mint-green with simple, oval-shaped leaves.
    $8.50
     

  • Salvia aurita sps. galpinii

    (Cut Leaf African Blue Sage) In botanical names, aurita means “ear shaped.” It’s the ear-like lobes of this sage’s leaves that give the species part of its name Salvia aurita ssp. galpinii. The cut leaf foliage is heavily lobed, mint green and lightly hairy.

    $8.50
     

  • Salvia ballotaeflora

    (Mejorana) In Spanish, Mejorana means ‘marjoram.” Similar to oregano-type Marjoram – another Mint family member -- this sage is used to flavor meat dishes. Our cultivar, which is native to Texas and Mexico, has lovely bluish-purple flowers that bloom summer to fall amid fragrant, fine, furry green foliage.
    $8.50
     

  • Salvia barrelieri

    (North African Sage) This stunning herbaceous perennial has sky blue flowers on showy, branched spikes that grow up to 6 feet tall.

    $8.50
     

  • Salvia brandegeei

    (Santa Rosa Island Sage) This is a hardy, California native sage although it is only found in the wild on one of Southern California's Channel Islands. It is drought resistant and forms dense mounds of fragrant, deep green, wrinkly foliage with heavenly clouds of lavender-tinged blue flowers in spring.
    $8.50
     

  • Salvia brandegeei x munzii 'Pacific Blue'

    (Pacific Blue Sage) Whorls of deep lavender-blue flowers contrast brightly against the dark maroon stems of this likely hybrid of Salvia brandegeei and Salvia munzii.

    $8.50
     

  • Salvia broussonetii

    (Stiff Canary Island Sage) The large, light green, furry leaves of this water-wise Salvia are beautiful. The plant's lush foliage and stiff, somewhat stocky stems contrast nicely with its branched spikes of small, delicate-looking, white flowers.
    $8.50
     

  • Salvia cadmica

    (Wand Sage) Whorls of deep violet blossoms are cupped by dark bracts on the flower spikes of this mid-height herbaceous sage from Turkey. Its foliage is thick, corrugated and fragrant. This plant is lovely and hardy, so it is surprising that it wasn’t introduced to commercial cultivation until 2007.
    $8.50
     

  • Salvia caespitosa

    (Anatolian Cushion Sage) Rising up only 6 to 8 inches, this is a pixie-sized sage that loves gritty soils. It is perfect for dry gardens with gritty soils in USDA Zones 5 to 9. In fact, it seems to love the colder zones best. We think it is particularly fond of frozen ground in winter, because that helps keep its roots from getting too damp.

    $12.50
     

  • Salvia canariensis alba

    (White Canary Island Sage) This white-flowered variant of Canary Island Sage is equally large and long blooming. It is a beautiful focal point for a Mediterranean-style garden with its cloud-like flower spikes and large fuzzy leaves.

    $8.50
     

  • Salvia canariensis f. candidissimum

    (Wooly Canary Island Sage) The pale magenta, parrot-beak flowers of this sage, supported by deeper magenta bracts, heat up the landscape. But when you get close, it may be the velvety texture of the foliage that makes you sigh.

    $8.50
     

  • Salvia candelabrum

    (Candelabra Spanish Sage) Tall, well-branched spikes display large two-tone blue flowers above a compact shrubby mass of attractive, furry white leaves. When in bloom, this drought-resistant native of Spain will awe every visitor to your garden.
    $9.50
     

  • Salvia canescens var. daghestanica

    (Caucasus Sage) This hardy ground cover sage grows 4 to 12 inches tall and 12 inches wide. The velvety white fur of its foliage aids moisture retention. Its soft, royal purple flowers make it stand out. We think this Salvia deserves to spread far and wide.

    $9.00
     

  • Salvia cedrosensis

    (Cedros Island Sage) From the Island of Cedars off the coast of Baja California Sur comes this delightful xeric sage with deep violet-blue flowers and silvery foliage. The square-shaped, 1-inch-long leaves are densely covered with downy, short, white hairs providing moisture retention.

    $9.50
     

  • Salvia chamaedryoides var. isochroma

    (Silver Germander Sage) With its compact habit, brilliant silver-white leaves and large, sky blue flowers, this is an outstanding heat-tolerant choice for dry, sunny gardens. We consider this to be one of the finest short ground covers for these conditions.
    $8.50
     

  • Salvia chamaedryoides x ‘Marine Blue’

    (Marine Blue Sage) The name and origin of this fine cultivar has long been in dispute. It may be a clone or hybrid of the Mexican plant Salvia chamaedryoides var.isochroma. It is one of the prettiest, strongest sages we grow.

    $8.50
     

  • Salvia chamelaeagnea

    (Rough Blue Sage) Honeybees and butterflies love this deer-resistant shrub, which grows wild on the southwestern Cape of South Africa. It is a member of the most diverse plant community in the world, the fynbos -- an Afrikaans word, meaning "fine bush" and referring to scrub plants or shrubbery.
    $8.50
     

  • Salvia chionopeplica

    (Baja Sage) Looking a bit like a fireworks explosion, Baja Sage’s lavender flowers shoot out of a globe of fuzzy, white bracts atop slender stems from spring into summer.

    $9.50
     

  • Salvia chionophylla

    (Snowflake Sage) Wiry, trailing stems of small white leaves make this plant look like fresh snowfall. Numerous, small, sky blue flowers with prominent bee lines further add to the cooling look. This dry-garden plant is native to the mountains of the Chihuahuan desert of North Central Mexico.

    $8.50
     

  • Salvia clevelandii 'Alpine'

    (Alpine Cleveland Sage) Powerfully fragrant and incredibly long blooming, Alpine Cleveland Sage is also the cold-hardyest variety of its species, tolerating temperatures well below freezing.
    $8.50
     

  • Salvia clevelandii 'Deer Springs Silver'

    (Silver Cleveland Sage or California Silver-Blue Sage) Unlike other Cleveland Sages, this drought-tolerant, violet-flowered evergreen blooms in summer. This compact, aromatic shrub has distinctive silver-grey foliage. It was discovered in Northern San Diego County.
    $8.50
     

  • Salvia clevelandii 'Whirly Blue'

    (Cleveland Sage or California Blue Sage) A California native plant garden is not complete without a Cleveland Sage. This particular cultivar has deeper blue flowers with a purple overlay as well as deep purple calyxes. Due to its height and drought resistance, it is ideal for back of border in a dry garden or for use as a screen.

    $8.50
     

  • Salvia clevelandii 'Winnifred Gilman'

    (Cleveland Sage or California Blue Sage) This drought-tolerant, evergreen, California native is a compact, aromatic shrub with electric blue-purple flowers that bloom in summer. Discovered in a Berkeley, California, garden, Winnifred Gilman is a fine variety of the species.
    $8.50
     

  • Salvia coahuilensis

    (Coahuila Sage) Such a pretty little shrub! Its beet-purple flowers will amaze you from June until autumn frost. Coahuilla Sage is an ideal ground cover or sunny border plant at 24 inches tall and wide. Small, shiny, deep green leaves clothe this densely branched, mounding sage.
    $8.50
     

  • Salvia cyanescens

    (Blue Turkish Sage) Large velvety gray-green to white leaves in loose rosettes give this sage a distinctive look as does the celestial violet-blue of its flowers. The blossoms seem much too large for this short sage and its thin, candelabra-branched flower spikes.
    $8.50
     

  • Salvia darcyi 'Pscarl'

    (Vermillion Bluffs® Mexican Sage) The brilliant red flowers of Vermillion 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.

    $8.50
     

  • Salvia desoleana

    (Sardinian Sage) This is another must-have Salvia for mild, Mediterraneon climate gardens. It has elegant foliage and lovely, bright rose-to-lavender flowers. Sardinian Sage spreads non-invasively as an herbaceous perennial and almost never stops blooming for us on the coast of Northern California.
    $8.50
     

  • Salvia disermas

    (Transvaal Sage) Growing in partially shaded stream beds and rocky grasslands, this herbaceous perennial from South Africa is showy yet tough as a ground cover or perennial border plant. Its spikes of large, pinkish white flowers bloom from spring through fall.
    $8.50
     



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Reviews


the plants that came were lovely well packed great root system with crisp fres leaves and large I an waiting to see how they survive my zone 5 winter !!
Ms. Yasmeen Moody
Nov 5, 2014