Your Shopping Cart

Your cart is empty.

Sacred Sage: Powerful, Pretty Salvia repens

May 21, 2014

Sacred Sage: Powerful, Pretty Salvia repens

Kruipsalie is the Afrikaans common name for the South African native Salvia repens, parts of which have long been used in folk remedies and for insect fumigation.

Kruip refers to the way the plant creeps, or spreads, rhizomatically underground. Salie means Salvia. The scientific epithet repens also refers to the plant's creeping growth. With its fragrant foliage and long-blooming, lush flowers, Kruipsalie is the sort of perennial that we like creeping through our gardens.

Hairy But Plenty Pretty

S. repens blooms spring to fall with flowers clustered in groups of 6 to 8. Rosy green calyxes support the flowers, which vary from white to mauve and blues. Our selection looks like a pale purple cloud from a distance.

The bright green foliage is rough with hairs, a trait that helps this heat-tolerant sage conserve moisture and resist drought. The large leaves have an attractive pebbly look and are serrated on the edges.

This is a petite plant that grows only about 12 inches tall and makes an excellent perennial groundcover in USDA Cold Hardiness Zones 8 to 11. Give it average watering based on local rainfall and well-drained soil. While full sun is best, S. repens tolerates partial shade.

Folk Remedies and Medical Research

In South Africa, S. repens mainly grows in the high veld grasslands of the Eastern Cape where bees are its main pollinators. Locals add its leaves to bathwater to soothe sores. They boil the roots in water to make an extract for treating diarrhea in both people and cattle.

South Africans also burn entire S. repens plants as a fumigant. Perhaps it's partly the plant's camphor chemical that makes it effective this way. A 2013 study in the scientific journal Molecules reports that people used the fragrant oil of the Camphor Tree (Cinnamomum camphora) as a fumigant during the bubonic plague of Medieval times.

Medical researchers are particularly interested in the antibacterial potential of S. repens phytochemicals -- such as acetone and methanol -- for fighting infections caused by bacteria including E. coli and Streptococcus.

But even in South Africa, S. repens doesn't have a history as a tea Salvia. We don't recommend imbibing Kruipsalie, especially for anyone who is pregnant, because powerful phytochemicals can also be somewhat toxic.

Sharing About Edible Salvias

Although S. repens isn't considered an edible sage, many other Salvias are. These include the kitchen sages (S. officinalis spp.), which are well known for adding flavor to roast poultry, and Pineapple Sage (S. elegans) -- a frequent ingredient in teas and baked goods. If you have any thoughts to share or questions to ask about herbal sages, please contact us. Meanwhile, if you plan to start drinking sage teas for medicinal purposes, remember that it is always best to consult with your physician first.


There are no comments yet.

Plants mentioned in this article
Ask Mr Sage is one of the most popular categories in our Everything Salvias blog. Here are a few of the latest posts:
Ask Mr. Sage: How to Place Advance Orders with FBTS - Flowers by the Sea is a mail-order nursery eliminating craziness from garden planning with advance orders and customer selection of shipping dates. Ask Mr. Sage is a regular feature based on calls and emails received by FBTS. This article details how to use our redesigned preorder process and other catalog tools for making sure you get the plants you want when you want them. Ask Mr. Sage: How to Select Plants for Garden Triumph - Planning for Salvia garden success requires following the rule of selecting the right plant for the right place. Desert sages aren't appropriate for the damp Southeast. Moisture-loving ones aren't right for desert climates where they need lots of watering to survive. Flowers by the Sea Farm and Online Nursery offers tips for selecting plants based on local climate. Ask Mr. Sage is a regular feature of the FBTS Everything Salvias Blog. Ask Mr. Sage: How Should I Prune my Salvias? - Flowers by the Sea Online Nursery specializes in Salvias and often receives questions about how to prune them. Although getting good at pruning takes practice, Salvias rebound quickly if you make mistakes. A key to successful pruning is understanding the varying needs of four main categories of sages. Ask Mr. Sage is a regular feature of the FBTS Everything Salvias Blog. Ask Mr. Sage: Do You Offer Free Shipping? - Like free lunches, free shipping is a myth. Flowers by the Sea doesn't offer free shipping, because it would require increasing plant prices to cover the cost of shipping. Read more to learn how FBTS sets fair shipping prices. Ask Mr. Sage is a regular feature of the Everything Salvias Blog and is based on calls and notes from customers. Ask Mr. Sage: Best Time to Plant Drought Resistant CA Natives - Drought resistant California native sages thrive when planted in fall. It's easier for roots to become established when soil is warm, air temperatures are cooler and precipitation is increasing. Ask Mr. Sage is a regular feature of the Everything Salvias Blog and is based on calls and emails from customers. Ask Mr. Sage: What Is Shipping in Boxes Like for Salvias? - It's understandable to worry about the condition of plants following shipment in a box. However, Flowers by the Sea Online Plant Nursery is exceedingly careful to make sure your plants arrive in healthy condition. A satisfied customer sent us the photos in this article. Step by step, they illustrate the process of unpacking and hardening off FBTS plants received by 3-day ground delivery more than 1200 miles away from our Northern California farm.