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Drought Tolerant

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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.

Plants


  • Salvia microphylla 'Royal Bumble'

    (Royal Bumble Mountain Sage) Almost black, the stems and calyxes of this UK hybrid form a pleasing contrast with its medium-size scarlet flowers and glossy green leaves. Bloom time is spring to fall. This Mountain Sage suckers freely and forms a dense clump.

    10.50
     


  • Salvia microphylla 'San Carlos Festival'

    (St. Charles Day Mountain Sage) Especially in spring and fall, masses of red-violet flowers bloom amid the silvery green foliage of Salvia microphylla 'San Carlos Festival'. Put this one into the "must have" column.

    10.50
     


    This plant can now be ordered
    Preorder yours today, and your plants will be reserved for your selected shipping date.

    Due in stock and ready to ship on May 13, 2017


  • Salvia microphylla 'Telegraph Avenue'

    (Telegraph Avenue Dwarf Mountain Sage) Here’s another member of the Turbulent Sixties Series of Southwestern Mountain Sages (Salvia microphylla), which developed from one of nature’s rebels – an accidental hybrid that Monterey Bay Nursery (MBN) named ‘Berzerkeley’ after finding it taking a stand in the nursery’s gravel paving.

    10.50
     


  • Salvia microphylla 'Variegata'

    (Variegated Mirto de Montes Sage) Over the years, we have seen a number of variegated varieties of Mountain Sage. None have been as lovely and sturdy as this one, from botanist Brent Barnes of the University of California at Riverside.

    10.50
     


  • Salvia microphylla 'Wild Watermelon'

    (Wild Watermelon Mountain Sage) Large, watermelon-pink flowers and the fruity fragrance of this long-blooming sage's mid-green, veined leaves make this Mountain Sage a treat to grow.

    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 muelleri

    (Royal Purple Autumn Sage) Salvia muelleri is related both to Autumn Sage (S. greggii) and Mountain Sage (S. microphylla), which are closely related species.

    10.50
     


  • Salvia muirii

    (Wildesalie) Dominant white beelines mark the violet-blue flowers of this heat- and drought-tolerant sage from South Africa. Dramatic burgundy bracts surround the flowers, which contrast handsomely with dense, fine leaved, olive green foliage of Salvia muirii.
    10.50
     


  • Salvia munzii

    (Munz's Sage) Densely branched and extremely fragrant, this drought-resistant shrub is named for botanist Philip Munz (1892-1974) of Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden and Pomona College. It is native to northern Baja California and the coastal mountains of San Diego.
    10.50
     


  • Salvia namaensis

    (Namibian Sage) Leaves with deeply dentate margins are rare among Salvias. The bright green, toothed foliage of this African sage gives it a loose, feathery look that is dotted all over by tiny, light blue flowers throughout summer.
    10.50
     


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

    (Little Sage) if it were up to us, we would never have named this plant Little Sage. Although it is dainty, it is also one of the most fascinating species we grow. We particularly love its pebbly, oval leaves that are a shiny purple/green on top and a furry white below.

    10.50
     


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

    (Nodding Sage) “Dancing in the air” is how garden writer Joseph Tychonievich describes the tall, graceful flower spikes of Nodding Sage, which can tower up to 5 feet tall over the plant’s 18-inch-tall foliage during the summer flowering season.

    11.00
     


    This plant can now be ordered
    Preorder yours today, and your plants will be reserved for your selected shipping date.

    Due in stock and ready to ship on May 13, 2017


  • 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 pennellii

    (Tamaulipas Sage) Deep purple flowers, strong stems and attractively textured, gray-green foliage make this sage useful in the drought-resistant Salvia garden. Rising up to 5 feet tall and spreading feet wide, it is a fine backdrop.
    10.50
     


  • Salvia pinguifolia

    (Rock Sage) The lavender-to- purple flowered Salvia pinguifolia thrives in full sun to partial shade. Rare in the horticultural trade, this Southwestern sage now is available through FBTS.
    11.50
     


  • 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.

    10.50
     


  • Salvia pomifera

    (Fruit Sage) Also known as Apple Sage, this is an extremely drought-resistant plant. Its common names come from the small round fruit-like galls that an insect creates on its branches on the island of Crete where it is native to dry slopes.

    10.50
     


  • Salvia regla 'Huntington Gardens Form'

    (Orange Mountain Sage) This is the reddest of the Salvia regla species and the most floriferous. Side by side with the other varieties, this one is a bit taller and has darker flowers.

    10.50
     


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

    10.50
     


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

    10.50
     


    Special Order Plant
    Special Order Plant   This plant is available by Special Order. Click for more information.
  • Salvia regla - Queretaro form

    (Great Orange Mountain Sage) Densely branched with small, dark green leaves, this variety of Salvia regla also features creamy orange flowers with white markings.

    11.50
     


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

    (West Texas Grass Sage) Small clusters of true blue flowers are spaced widely along the grass-like stems of this airy West Texas mountain sage. Like so many American native plants, it is a key food source for honeybees, butterflies and hummingbirds.
    10.50
     


  • Salvia reptans 'Autumn Sapphire'

    (Autumn Sapphire 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 deep blue blossoms and is remarkably compact.

    10.50
     


    New!
  • 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.

    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 roemeriana

    (Cedar Sage) Scarlet flowers abound on this small, mounding, woodland sage that is native to Texas, Arizona and Northern Mexico. Grow it as a small scale groundcover or mix it with other shade-loving sages in a perennial border or along a path.

    9.50
     


    This plant can now be ordered
    Preorder yours today, and your plants will be reserved for your selected shipping date.

    Due in stock and ready to ship on May 13, 2017


  • Salvia scabra

    (Coastal Blue Sage) Native from the sandy shores to brushy slopes of South Africa's East Cape, this sub-shrub sage is noted for growing easily in gardens elsewhere. Its lovely purplish-pink flowers have a subtle blue sparkle in bright sun and bloom spring to fall.
    10.50
     


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

    (Xobo Valley Sage) Although petite, the rare Xobo Valley Sage is eyecatching due to its lacy, bright green foliage and powder blue flowers. It's even possible that this long-blooming sage may have caught Nelson Mandela's eye as he grew up in the Wild Coast area of South Africa's Eastern Cape.

    10.50
     


  • Salvia scordifolia

    (Scordy Sage) Little is known about this shrubby Ecuadorian native. We're not even sure it is from Ecuador! However, this is another sage that sells itself instantly when seen in bloom. The large clusters of rich, deep violet flowers bloom summer to fall, attracting honeybees and hummingbirds.

    11.50
     


  • Salvia semiatrata

    (Pine Mountain Sage) Small but numerous, violet and deep purple flowers surrounded by pink bracts are sprinkled throughout this well-branched,shrubby sage like confections. This is one of the showiest Salvias we grow.

    11.50
     


  • Salvia sinaloensis

    (Sinaloan Blue Sage) It's difficult to say which trait is more attractive about this sage -- the airy spikes of deep, true blue flowers or the fascinating spear-shaped foliage that varies from deep green to purple, forming a tidy mat.

    10.50
     


  • Salvia somalensis

    (Somalian Mountain Sage) Large, powder-blue flowers combine with 4-inch-long, furry, lime-green leaves -- a winning combination at bloom time from summer into fall. The flowers are unusual, because they generally grow on the branchlets and the terminal end of each stem.

    10.50
     


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

    (Hummingbird Sage or Pitcher Sage) No sage we grow is more attractive to hummingbirds than this one. Spectacular in all ways, it is one of our favorite Salvias with its fragrant, evergreen foliage and jewel-like flowers and bracts.

    10.50
     


  • 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 spathacea 'Las Pilitas'

    (Little Hummingbird Sage or Pitcher Sage) At one-fourth to one-half the size of our other Hummingbird Sages, this is the smallest variety of Salvia spathacea that we grow.

    11.50
     


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

    (Giant Hummingbird Sage or Pitcher Sage) Powerline Pink is the largest variety of Salvia spathacea that we grow. Its large, dark pink flowers are surrounded by bracts so furry that they look silvery.

    11.50
     


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


Take a Quick Look at a group of Salvias
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Reviews


This is a healthy beautiful plant. I have already seen this one in bloom and that is why I ordered it. It is incredibly cute in bloom. I can't wait.
Mrs. Carol Moreno
Mar 30, 2017