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Meadow Sage

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Meadow Sage

Meadow Sages, which are native to Europe and known for their cold tolerance, provide vibrant color and a strong vertical element to flower beds. The Meadow Sage group encompasses four main species of Salvia commonly found growing in meadows and pastures. These are:

  • Salvia pratensis
  • Salvia nemorosa
  • Salvia x sylvestris and
  • Salvia x superba.

Lots of mix-ups occur in meadows; consequently, these plants are related through chance hybridization in nature. Getting the lineage straight can be confusing, similar to tracking your family genealogy.

The cultivars from this group that FBTS grows are all lovely and hardy. That is sufficient recommendation for many gardeners. However, if you include more than one of these species in your garden, you may want to understand their connections in case any surprise hybrids appear. Here are some of the relationships:

  • Salvia virgata (a species we don't grow) is considered a form of S. pratensis and may be an ancient parent of S. nemorosa, which is sometimes called S. virgata var. nemerosa.
  • S. x sylvestris is a hybrid of S. pratensis and S. nemerosa.
  • S. x superba may be a hybrid of S. x sylvestris and S. nemerosa. Or, it may be a hybrid of S. x sylvestris and S. amplexicaulis -- sometimes called S. villicaulis.
  • Some growers and nurseries incorrectly refer to as S. x superba as S. superba.

All of these relationships help to explain the traits these species share, which include:

  • Summer to fall bloom times
  • Candle-like flower spikes that are heavy with blossoms
  • Deep, vivid flower colors
  • Blossoms with long upper lips
  • Big-leafed, basal foliage
  • Cold tolerance to Zone 5
  • Preference for lots of water and
  • Adaptability from full sun to partial shade.

Many kinds of Meadow Sage are on the market. We only grow the best and brightest.


  • Salvia amplexicaulis

    (Stem Clasping Violet Sage)  Like a candelabra lit up with whorls of violet blossoms, the erect, branching flower spikes of Salvia amplexicaulis make this native of Southeastern Europe shine. On the Grecian island of Thassos, it brightens areas near the beach.


  • Salvia atropatana

    (Iranian Oil Sage) Butterflies and honeybees are drawn to the long blooming, dusky violet-blue flowers of Salvia atropatana. However, deer say no to its charms, due to its essential oils being less than tasty.


  • 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.


  • Salvia nemorosa 'Blau Hügel'

    (Blau Hügel Meadow Sage) When in bloom, petite Salvia nemorosa 'Blue Hill' more than doubles in height. Its tall, spike-like racemes of violet-blue flowers are so dense and compact that this woodland sage is sometimes called "Blue Mound."


  • Salvia nemorosa 'Burgundy Candles'

    (Burgundy Candles Meadow Sage) When the burgundy buds of Salvia nemorosa 'Burgundy Candles' open, deep violet-blue flowers emerge. They are supported by burgundy and green bracts on purple stems.


  • Salvia nemorosa 'Lyrical Silvertone'

    (Lyrical Silvertone Meadow Sage) European Meadow Sages are known for their intense color. However, Salvia nemorosa 'Lyrical Silvertone' is exceptional for its violet-blue and silver two-tone flowers supported by dark calyxes.


  • 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.


  • Salvia pratensis 'Indigo'

    (Indigo Meadow Sage) When massed, this European sage compels attention during summer with its upright, foot-long spikes of deep violet-blue flowers and hairy, gray-green, basal foliage.


  • Salvia pratensis 'Lapis Lazuli'

    (Lapis Lazuli Meadow Sage) Ethereal, lilac-pink, parrot-shaped blossoms abound on the tall flower spikes of this Salvia pratensis cultivar. So don’t expect a blue as the name indicates, but do expect great beauty during summer bloom time.

  • Salvia pratensis 'Proud Mary'

    (Bi-Color Meadow Sage or Meadow Clary Sage) Exceptionally cold tolerant, Salvia pratensis 'Proud Mary' is our own seed-grown strain of a plant identical to the patented S. pratensis 'Madeline'.


  • Salvia pratensis 'Swan Lake'

    (White Meadow Sage) Whorls of pure white flowers shaped like parrot beaks rise on tall spikes from the wrinkly, basal foliage of Salvia pratensis 'Swan Lake'. The large, mid-green leaves have attractively serrated edges.


  • 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.


  • Salvia verbenacea

    (Wild Sage) Toothed and attractively wrinkled, the gray-green, basal foliage of Wild Sage contrasts prettily with deep lavender-to-purple flowers supported by grassy green bracts. This cold-hardy sage is native to northern Africa and parts of Asia and Europe.


  • Salvia x superba 'Adora Blue'

    (Adora Blue Meadow Sage) Adora Blue’s upright flower spikes are profuse with deep violet blossoms shaped like parrot beaks. They bloom all summer long on this deciduous, perennial Salvia native to Europe and Asia.

Take a Quick Look at a group of Salvias
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Plants arrived on time and are quite vigorous. The extra care in wrapping and shipping are well worth the premium price.
May 14, 2017