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Moisture Loving

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Moisture Loving

Most people visualize deserts and dry, sandy soil when thinking about sage (Salvia spp.). Although many Salvias are drought resistant and thrive in dry gardens, others prefer regular, and even daily. Some even tolerate persistently damp soil.

The phrases moisture loving and water loving often conjure visions of aquatic and marshland plants, yet there are few Salvias that fit into that group. Bog Sage (Salvia uliginosa) is one, although we've received reports that it also tolerates dry conditions. However, when we say that a sage is moisture loving, we usually mean one that can handle significant dampness but needs better drainage than marsh plants. An example would be the Anise Leaf Sages (Salvia guaranitica spp.). Plants that can swing from average water consumption to enduring severe downpours are particularly valuable in the Southeast.

Persistently wet soil can make it difficult for sufficient oxygen to reach roots. This causes plants to suffocate. It can also cause conditions such as chlorosis in which foliage turns yellow, limp and incapable of the photosynthesis necessary to manufacture food for the plant.

Yet there are lovely Salvias which cheerfully photosynthesize in conditions that would drown their close relatives. Most come from Central and South American rainforests or damp woodlands in Asia.

Flowers by the Sea strives to meet the needs of Salvia fans from widely varying climates, whether dry, wet or in between.


  • Salvia praeclara

    (Bolivian Sage) From early Spring to first frost, brilliant scarlet flowers on spikes up to 18 inches long adorn this Bolivian native in USDA Zones 9 to 11. Even if you live in a zone with colder winters, Bolivian Sage is spectacular as a bedding plant. has been called Salvia coccinea on steroids due to its .  needs rich, well-drained soil and full sun - but will grow in a wide range of soil, water and light conditions.


  • 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 '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 raymondii ssp. mairanae

    (Bolivian Mountain Sage) Neon lilac-pink flowers light up the handsome, furry foliage of this distinctive sage from high in the Andes cloud forests. Its large, textured leaves have dark, velvety purple undersides. Unhappy in dry heat, this is a very showy plant for humid climates.


  • Salvia rubiginosa

    (Rosy Bract Sage) Sub-shrub salvias have both woody and soft, herbaceous growth. Rosy Bract Sage is a tidy, small leafed sub-shrub smothered with large clusters of 1/2-inch, violet-blue flowers and rosy red bracts. Its bracts deepen in color as the season proceeds.


  • Salvia rypara x durifolia 'Elk'

    (Hybrid River Sage) This beautiful new plant is a FBTS hybrid between to rare South American species.  In growth and flower it is intermediate between the parents, and fast growing because of it's hybrid vigor.


  • Salvia sagittata

    (Arrowleaf Sage) Brilliant royal blue flowers and unusual foliage attract the eye to Arrowleaf Sage. This large herbaceous perennial is found at elevations up to 10,500 feet in the Cordillera de los Andes of Chile, Ecuador and Peru.


  • Salvia splendens van houttei 'Big Pink'

    (Big Pink Scarlet Sage) Hummingbirds are drawn to the deep wells of nectar in sages such as Salvia splendens van houttei 'Big Pink'. Its narrow, tubular flowers are a pure, clear pink and are supported by cream to dusky pink calyxes.


    Special Order Plant
    Special Order Plant   This plant is available by Special Order. Click for more information.
  • Salvia splendens van houttei 'Elk White'

    (Elk White Scarlet Sage) The first tall white Salvia splendens variety, this new introduction from Flowers by the Sea is vigorous and free flowering all season long.


  • Salvia splendens van houttei 'Light Plum'

    (Light Plum Scarlet Sage) Long, narrow and tubular, the pinkish-plum flowers of Salvia splendens van houttei 'Light Plum' are pleasing wells of nectar for hummingbirds. Similarly colored calyxes support the blossoms and increase their appeal to people as well as pollinators.


  • Salvia splendens van houttei 'Paul'

    (Paul's Scarlet Sage) Long, narrow and tubular, the reddish purple flowers of Salvia splendens van houttei 'Paul' are alluring wells of nectar for hummingbirds. Similarly colored calyxes support the blossoms and add to this sage's siren call.


  • Salvia splendens van houttei 'Peach'

    (Peach Scarlet Sage) A subtle but beautiful peachy orange, the drooping blossoms of this sturdy, long flowering Salvia are the first that anyone comments on in a mixed planting. Use it singly as a dramatic garden accent or container plant; mass it for a stunning effect.


  • Salvia splendens van houttei Faye Chapel'

    (Faye Chapel Scarlet Sage) A vivid red, the drooping blossoms of this sturdy, long flowering Salvia are large and numerous. Use it singly as a dramatic garden accent or container plant; mass it for a stunning effect. This is an heirloom plant from the Atlantic Coast, where it has been grown as a hummingbird plant for decades.


  • Salvia uliginosa

    (Bog Sage) Highly adaptable, Salvia uliginosa is ideal for the beginning sage gardener. It isn't fussy about soil type, sun exposure, drainage or frequency of watering.


  • Salvia uliginosa ‘Ballon Azul’

    (Dwarf Bog Sage) Intense sky blue flowers with white beelines are set against mid-green foliage in this dwarf Bog Sage that is about half as tall and wide as its parent species when in bloom.


  • Salvia x 'Big Swing'

    (Big Swing Sage) With its large, cobalt blue flowers displayed on strong, wiry, branched stems, this eye-catching sage wins the FBTS "best of class" designation for being our top Salvia macrophylla.


  • Salvia x guaranitica 'Purple Majesty'

    (Purple Majesty Sage) This exceedingly long blooming herbaceous perennial is a cross between Salvia guaranitica spp (Anise-Scented Sage) and Salvia gesneriiflora (Mexican Scarlet Sage).

    We highly recommend the much improved Salvia guaranitica 'Purple Haze' as an alternative to this older variety.


Take a Quick Look at a group of Salvias
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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