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Pantone Pageant: 15 Designer African Violet Salvias and Companions

Pantone Pageant: 15 Designer African Violet Salvias and Companions

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Synopsis: Purples are cool yet quietly passionate. This includes African Violet 16-3520, a spring 2013 designer color created by the Pantone Corporation. Shades in the blue and purple color range are tranquil and soothing yet commanding, because they calm the garden. If you have a garden bed that is in your face with bright reds, oranges and yellows, one way to cool it down is to add Salvias and companion plants from the blue to purple palatte. Here are 15 choices from our catalog that fashionably match Pantone's African Violet.

Purples are cool yet quietly passionate. This includes African Violet 16-3520, a spring 2013 designer color created by the Pantone Corporation. Shades in the blue and purple color range are tranquil and soothing yet commanding, because they calm the garden.

Cornell University says that blues and purples 'recede in the landscape' seeming farther away than they are. If you have a garden bed that is in your face with bright reds, oranges and yellows, one way to cool it down is to add Salvias and companion plants from the blue to purple palatte.

Here are 15 choices from our catalog that fashionably match Pantone's African Violet. We've roughly organized them by size based on potential maximum height. Plants that may vary in height from 2 to 4 feet tall are in the 'medium' group whereas ones that will rise up at least 4 feet are in the 'tall' group along with a sage that spans heights from 2 to 5 feet.

Short Choices
Azure Mountain Sage (Salvia microphylla 'Mesa Azure') Zones 7 to 9.

  • 18 to 24 inches tall, 18 inches wide
  • Fragrant, wrinkly leaves along with dusky stems and calyxes
  • Blooms in waves from spring to fall
  • Full sun to partial shade

This heat-tolerant, hummingbird favorite likes regular watering, but does well in dry gardens. It works well in borders and containers, edging pathways or as groundcover.

Black Cherry Autumn Sage (Salvia greggii 'Black Cherry') Zones 6 to 9.

  • 24 inches tall and wide
  • Blooms spring to fall
  • Deep green, small-leafed foliage with dark stems and calyxes
  • Full sun to partial shade

Aside from their vibrant colors, Autumn Sages are known for heat and drought tolerance. This is one of our most cold-hardy varieties. Its dramatic color stands out in border plantings attracting butterflies and hummingbirds. Honeybees also love its nectar.

Blue Turkish Sage (Salvia cyanescens) Zones 6 to 9.

  • 12 to 24 inches tall, 12 inches wide
  • Blooms spring through summer
  • Large, velvety, gray-green leaves on candelabra branches
  • Full sun

An ethereal bicolor combination of pink and violet, the blossoms of this Turkish native are large compared to the plant's height. Due to its heat and drought resistance, it works well in rock gardens and borders as well as on slopes.

Medium Choices
Bicolor Szechuan Sage (Salvia sp. from Szechuan) Zones 4 to 9.

  • 24 to 48 inches tall, 36 inches wide
  • Blooms in autumn
  • Large, furry, arrow-shaped, basal leaves
  • Partial shade

Handsome foliage and the delicate bicolored combination of violet and pale yellow marked with violet beelines make this one of our most popular shade choices. This Salvia with no name likely is a hybrid.

Himalayan or Kashmir Sage (Salvia hians) Zones 6 to 9.

  • 24 to 36 inches tall, 36 inches wide
  • Blooms spring through early fall
  • Fragrant, sticky, heart-shaped leaves
  • Full sun to partial shade

Rich soil and plenty of water are good conditions for this Asian sage, which grows in woodlands and on slopes in its homelands. This is a pretty solution for moist areas in your yard.


Lilac Sage (Salvia verticillata) Zones 5 to 9.

  • 24 to 36 inches tall, 42 inches wide
  • Blooms spring to summer
  • Fragrant, mint-green, basal foliage
  • Full sun to partial shade

Honeybees and butterflies love the dense whorls of blossoms on this heat-tolerant sage's 3-foot flower spikes. They're lovely as cut flowers. Lilac Sage works well in moist areas and looks pretty along borders and edging paths.

Lush Lavender Spurflower (Plectranthus ciliatus 'Zulu Warrior') Zones 9 to 10.

  • 24 to 36 inches tall, 24 inches wide
  • Blooms late summer to winter
  • Large, oval-shaped, forest-green leaves with toothed margins
  • Partial shade

'Ciliatus' means eyelash and refers to the fine, eyelash-like hairs on the margins of this plant's leaves. This South African native grows well indoors near a sunny window or outdoors on a shady patio. Its plumes of tiny flowers and handsome foliage look attractive cascading from a hanging basket.

Mona's Lavender Spur Flower (Plectranthus 'Mona Lavender') Zones 9 to 10.

  • 36 to 48 inches tall, 36 inches wide
  • Blooms off and on spring through summer
  • Small leaves with purple, hairy undersides
  • Partial shade

Mona's Lavender particularly shines as a container plant indoors near a sunny window or outdoors on a shady patio. It is a native of South Africa where sugarbirds access the nectar in its deep tubular flowers. In America, hummingbirds love it.


Pine Mountain Sage (Salvia semiatrata) Zones 8 to 11.

  • 36 to 48 inches tall, 36 inches wide
  • Blooms summer to fall
  • Small, triangle-shaped, gray-green foliage
  • Full sun

Violet and deep purple blossoms combine with pink bracts to make this one of the showiest sages we sell. Plant this honeybee and hummingbird favorite as a screen or in a shrub border. It also does well in containers.

Stem Clasping Violet Sage (Salvia amplexicaulis) Zones 5 to 9.

  • 30 to 48 inches tall, 36 inches wide
  • Blooms in summer
  • Bright green foliage and burgundy to magenta bracts
  • Full sun to partial shade

From a distance, the magenta bracts and deep violet flowers of Salvia amplexicaulis blur into a dramatic display of Pantone African Violet. This water-loving sage is a good choice for moist problem areas in your yard.

Tall Choices
Anise Hyssop (Agastache rugosa 'Heronswood Mist') Zones 5 to 9.

  • 48 inches tall, 36 inches wide
  • Blooms summer to fall
  • Fragrant, bright green, wrinkly, spear-shaped foliage
  • Full sun

Anise Hyssop's fragrance is a heady combination of mint, citrus and licorice. Similar to Salvias, it is a member of the mint family (Laminaceae). Only minimal water is necessary for this drought- and heat-tolerant plant that is loved by butterflies, honeybees and hummingbirds.

Candelabra Spanish Sage (Salvia candelabrum) Zones 7 to 10.

  • 24 to 60 inches tall, 24 inches wide
  • Blooms summer to fall
  • Furry, white foliage
  • Full sun

Branching out like a candelabrum, this perennial sage will stay short in a container or grow much taller in ground. It does beautifully in dry gardens where it is attractive in borders and cut flower gardens. Honeybees and butterflies are drawn to it.

Cleveland or California Blue Sage (Salvia clevelandii 'Winnifred Gilman') Zones 8 to 9.

  • 48 inches tall and wide
  • Blooms in summer
  • Fragrant, gray-green foliage
  • Full sun

Of all our Cleveland Sages, Winnifred Gilman is the one that best matches Pantone African Violet. Cool lavender-gray bracts surround and accentuate its blossoms. Plant it as a screen, in borders and in a cut flower garden. Be ready for lots of honeybees and hummingbirds.

Grape Scented Sage (Salvia melissodora) Zones 8 to 11.

  • 36 to 72 inches tall, 36 inches wide
  • Blooms summer to fall
  • Fragrant, small-leafed, gray-green foliage
  • Full sun

The flowers as well as the foliage of this shrubby, heat- and drought-tolerant Southwestern sage share a fragrance that wavers between grape and lavender. Although it's average height is about 36 inches, Grape Scented Sage grows up to 72 inches in the wild. Expect lots of hummingbirds, honeybees and butterflies.

Kellerman's Sage (Salvia kellermanii) Zones 9 to 11.

  • 48 inches tall and wide
  • Blooms summer to winter
  • Wooly, mid-green, airy foliage
  • Full sun to partial shade

Butterflies as well as hummingbirds love the violet to pale blue blossoms of Kellerman's Sage, which is native to Mexico and Guatemala. Grow it in a container or shrubby border.

More and More Choices
Sages and companion plants with violet-colored blossoms mix well with a broad range of shades in the blue spectrum from pale sky blues to royal 'true' blues. Flowers by the Sea offers scores of blue and purple selections.

If you need any advice about choices for your flowerbeds, please call or write. We enjoy sharing ideas about how to heat up or cool down gardens. It's our passion.