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Mexican Natives

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Mexican Natives

Mexico is a land of almost unimaginable plant diversity, including the highest concentration of native sages (Salvia spp.) in the world. It is home to nearly a third of the approximately 900 Salvia species worldwide.

The rich biodiversity of Mexico is due, in part, to its many types of climates from the deserts of Northern Mexico and Baja to the mountainous cloud forests at its southern boundary with Guatemala.

Salvia is a member of the mint family (Lamiaceae). Although Lamiaceae is only the eighth largest plant family in Mexico, Salvia is one of the country's largest genuses. It is a genus with species fit for many climates, which is exactly what Mexico has. Consequently, Mexican sages grow beautifully in many parts of America. Some are even cold hardy to USDA Zone 5.

One factor that causes Mexico's climate to vary so much despite its closeness to the equator is the country's up-and-down geography; it is a land of many mountains and numerous changes in elevation. Some peaks -- such as the volcano Pico de Orizaba near the port of Veracruz in southeastern Mexico -- are topped with snow and glaciers year round even when their lower slopes are hot in summer.

Mexican native species range from drought-tolerant sages that grow best if given little water and lots of sunlight to ones that can take heat, but prefer partial shade and plentiful moisture. They tend to be long-blooming plants with a rainbow of flower colors.

Many Mexican sages are fragrant. On warm summer days, they lend a heady perfume to the landscape when planted near home entryways or as borders along walkways. They include low-growing groundcovers as well as plants so tall, wide and floriferous that a group planting forms a dramatic privacy screen.

Some of these plants are the source of age-old folk remedies and the focus of current medical research; their potential health benefits are modern day treasure. And here is one more thing that is golden about Mexican native sages: these lovely additions to home gardens require little fuss.


  • 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.


  • Salvia sp. from Smith College

    (Smith College Mystery Sage) This mysterious species came to us via Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts.  We refer to it as "Mystery Sage" as the origins of this fine plant are unclear.


  • Salvia stolonifera

    (Creeping Mexican Sage) Thick, heavily textured and nearly round, the foliage of this gently creeping perennial is as showy as its tall spikes of large orange flowers. This is a water-loving species from Oaxaca, Mexico.

  • Salvia summa

    (Supreme Sage) Neon pink flowers abound from spring through summer on this small, mounding, rock loving sage that is native to partially shaded limestone cliffs in parts of Texas and New Mexico. Grow it as a speciman plant in the rock garden, or with along with other native Southwestern species with similar cultural requirements.


  • Salvia univerticillata

    (Blood Red Mexican Sage) From summer into fall, the fuzzy, deep red flowers of Salvia univerticillata attract hummingbirds. This sage from Chiapas, Mexico, blooms well in sun or partial shade.

  • Salvia urica

    (Blue Bush Sage) Furry, large and heavily textured, the mid-green leaves of Salvia urica contrast attractively with its violet-blue flowers that bloom spring into summer.


  • Salvia villosa

    (Hairy Sage) In 1877, J.G. Schaffner of Germany -- also known as Johann Wilhelm Schaffner -- collected the small, airy looking Salvia villosa while working as a pharmacist in the town of San Luis Potosi, Mexico.

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

    (Grape Leaf Sage) Tall spikes of intensely blue flowers bloom summer to fall and emerge in profusion from handsome, furry foliage. The leaves are grape green on top and purplish on the bottom. This water-loving sage grows rapidly into a spreading mound.


  • Salvia wagneriana

    (Wagner's Sage) From November to March, Wagner's Sage produces lavish, hot pink flowers with pink bracts at our Northern California coastal farm. It is is a superb source of food for the Anna's hummingbirds that live here during winter.

  • Salvia wagneriana 'White Bracts'

    (Pink & White Wagner's Sage) Instead of pink, leaf-life bracts, this variety of Wagner's Sage has white bracts surrounding the hot pink flowers. It blooms from November to March on our coastal Northern California farm where it feeds Anna's hummingbirds all winter long.


  • Salvia x 'John Whittlesey'

    (John Whittlesey Sage) Hardy, vigorous and long blooming, John Whittlesey Sage is a hybrid of D'Arcy's Sage (Salvia darcyi) -- a native of Mexico -- and Mountain Sage (S. microphylla), which is native to the American Southwest and Mexico.


  • Salvia x 'Mulberry Jam'

    (Mulberry Jam Roseleaf Sage) Magenta flower buds burst into fuzzy, hot pink blossoms in this hybrid sage from the gardens of Betsy Clebsch, author of The New Book of Salvias.


  • Salvia x 'Penny's Smile'

    (Penny's Smile Hybrid Sage) British Salvia aficionado Robin Middleton, of the indispensable Robin’s Salvias website, developed this lovely and hardy hybrid from a chance seedling he found near the Salvia ‘Silke’s Dream’ in his garden. Heavily textured and hot pink, the 1-inch-long flowers are bright as lipstick.

  • Salvia x 'Purple Stem'

    (Purple Stem Sage) Deep purple stems and cobalt blue flowers with pronounced white beelines and dusky gray calyxes cause this sage to command attention.


  • Salvia x 'Raspberry Truffle'

    (Raspberry Truffle Sage) Hybrid sages with Big Mexican Scarlet Sage parentage (Salvia gesnerifolia) tend to have thick clusters of large, deep purple flowers supported by bracts that are almost black.

  • Salvia x 'Sally Greenwood'

    (Sally Greenwood Sage) Sally Greenwood's small gray-green leaves are a striking backdrop for the complicated, velvety royal purple of its abundant flowers overlaid with a blue sheen. It's an unusual sage both in color and its tight, mounding habit.

  • Salvia x 'Waverly'

    (Waverly Sage) A pale pink to lavender blush adds delicate color to the white flowers of Waverly Sage, which are supported by plum-colored calyxes. Its mid-green leaves are lance shaped and veined.


  • Salvia x jamensis 'California Sunset'

    (California Sunset Hybrid Jame Sage) Entranced is the only word to describe how we felt when we first saw the sunset pastels of this Jame Sage. After growing it for multiple seasons, we are just as impressed by its compact, well-branched form.

  • Salvia x jamensis 'Caviar'

    (Caviar Hybrid Jame Sage) Rosy green calyxes support the long-blooming, creamy salmon-pink flowers of this Jame Sage. It creates lots of buzz among honeybees and hummingbirds seeking its rich nectar and pollen. Caviar is a hybrid of Autumn Sage (Salvia greggii) and Mountain Sage (Salvia microphylla).

  • Salvia x jamensis 'Dyson's Orangy Pink'

    (Dyson's Orangy Pink Hybrid Jame Sage) Many Salvia x jamensis hybrids remind gardeners of sunrise, such as Dyson's Orangy Pink. Light green calyxes faintly striped with red cup its luminous pale salmon pink blossoms with creamy throats.


  • Salvia x jamensis 'Tangerine Ballet'

    (Tangerine Ballet Hybrid Jame Sage) Soft pinkish-orange flowers with contrasting yellow eyes make this Jame Sage look as tasty as sorbet. Hardy to at least 10 degrees F, Tangerine Ballet is also heat tolerant, drought resistant and long blooming-- all marks of Salvias in the closely related Autumn and Mountain Sage group.


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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