(Amethyst Sage) Growing up to 12 inches long, the triangular basal leaves of Salvia amethystina subsp. ampelophylla are the largest we know among sages. They have long silky hairs on their undersides and are fragrant when bruised.
Amethyst Sage has deep violet-blue flowers with pronounced white beelines on their lower lips. It is a tall, wide-spreading native of Colombia and Venezuela. In the U.S., this tender perennial grows well as an annual. Give it full sun to partial shade and rich soil that is well drained. Although water-loving, this sage thrives with average supplemental watering based on local conditions.
British botanist James Edward Smith (1759-1828) named the species in 1790. In 1989, University of Oxford researcher John R.I. Wood and Raymond M. Harley of Kew Royal Botanic Gardens authored the scientific name of this subspecies.
We are thankful to University of Buenos Aires agronomy professor and plant explorer Rolando Uria, who collected the seed for our plants in the wild.
These are species that produce woody stems, but die back to the ground in the winter in all but the warmest climates. In warm winter areas these can become woody shrubs, but they generally benefit from the following pruning methods.
Pruning is both an art and a science. It takes practice, experience and learning from your mistakes to become a proficient pruner. The pruning information about this plant should be considered as a guideline for getting started. Your particular climate, soils, watering and fertility schedules, sun exposure, space requirements and weather are all factors that influence how and when you choose to prune. We’re providing a starting place for you, and over time you will learn the particularities of this plant in your garden. Don’t be afraid to get started – Salvias, in general, are quick to rebound if inappropriately pruned.
Deadheading – the removal of spent flowers, is a practice that will always benefit the plant’s health and appearance. This can be done at any time. Pruning involves removal of entire stems of spent growth. Becoming "spent" means that flowering stems stop blooming and begin going to seed.
(Elk Magenta Hybrid Sage) Combining the best characteristics of both parents, this robust, large leafed hybrid has deep magenta and white flowers that delight hummingbirds.
One of the parents of this new variety is Salvia cuatrecasana, with small flowers of a deep purple. A collector's plant, it is floppy and blooms somewhat sparingly over the course of the year. To improve the growth habit, flower size and blooming season we crossed this species with one of our best Salvia guaranitica clones. The result is a plant with large lush leaves, strong stems and sizable flower displays.
A tender variety, it is suitable for the southern areas of the US as a perennial. It qualifies as a good choice as an annual in colder Zones.
We are very excited to offer this plant for the first time in 2017.
(Elk Blue Hard Leaf Sage) Soft baby blue & white flowers in abundance coupled with strong growth make this an ideal new variety for hummingbird gardeners. the specific epitaph, durifolia, means hard leaf. We don't find the leaf exactly hard but it is lovely and durable.
Grow this outstanding variety in full sun or in a bit of shade in hot climates. In frost free areas it becomes a shrub, blooming almost year round. In Zone 8 it is a herbacious perennial that returns strongly in the late spring. In colder Zones its a good choice for a summer annual. These flowers are true blue.
It's our bet that this new introduction will become a standard for hummingbird gardens.
(Purple Haze Sage) The very best purple Anise Scented Sage, period - the result of years of careful breeding aimed at developing a reliable, free flowering and easy to grow variety suitable for growing countrywide.
The other popular purple flowering Salvia guaranitica types are hybrids with tender species as parents. Purple Haze is a true member of this popular species, making it hardy enough to grow in Zone 6 with winter protection .
Compared to 'Jean's Purple Passion' and 'Purple Magesty', 'Purple Haze' is more compact in it's growth, earlier to bloom with the same rich purple color. We believe it is a superior alternative to both of these older varieties.
New for 2017.
(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 areas.
In our mild coastal climate, Bolivian Mountain Sage does well in full sun; however, partial shade and ample water are keys to success in hotter, drier areas. It also appreciates rich, well-drained soil.
In the ground, this sage grows into a shrub up to 5 feet tall in Zone 9 to 11. Or plant it in a large container as a natural focal point on a partially shady patio. It also works well as a seasonal bedding plant. But remember that this water-loving sage particularly appreciates morning sun and afternoon shade.
In mild climates, it blooms year round, so this is a great choice for gardens where hummingbirds winter over. As with so many Salvias, this one is deer resistant.
(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.
This is a subshrub, which means that it combines woody growth with soft, herbaceous foliage. Give it full sun to partial shade, average watering based on local conditions and rich, well-drained soil. Expect it to grow rapidly and bloom profusely. The flower clusters are golf ball sized, and cover the plant late in the season. In warmer Zones it can bloom all year long!
This is an excelent choice for seasonal bedding in colder climates, where it brings an exotic look to the garden. Honeybees love this heat-tolerant, mid-height sage, but deer avoid it.
(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.
Somewhat unusual for this species, 'Elk White grows into a tall but narrow plant, perfectly suited to fill a shady corner. It excels as a container plant. White flowered shade plants are rare, and this one is also beloved by hummingbirds.
Scarlet Sages are native to South America where they thrive in full sun to partial shade.
In areas with colder winters, Elk White grows easily as an annual bedding plant. It's also a successful container plant and a good choice for a woodland garden. It does fine with average watering based on local rainfall and humidity, but can handle ample moisture.
Another good piece of news is that deer avoid it.
(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.
Meet its needs and 'Faye Chapel' is easy and rewarding to grow. Plant it in partial to full shade where you can give it rich, well-drained soil and regular watering. The color is bright red - the truest red Salvia splendens we offer.
An annual in colder zones, it is a tender perennial in warmer ones.
Seasonally available and limited.
(Sao Borja Scarlet Sage) Three-inch-long, smokey purple blossoms that bloom from spring to fall are a major clue that this heat-tolerant perennial is not your grandmother's Scarlet Sage.
Even when grown as an annual, Salvia splendens 'Sao Borja' brings a tropical look to any garden by reaching an impressive height of 6 feet or taller in one season.
This Brazilian native grows well in USDA Zones 9 to 11 where it is a tender perennial that may return yearly to the warmest parts of its range.
Sao Borja was discovered in the port city of Sao Borja, which is named after Spain's Saint Francis Borgia. The city is located on the Uruguay River, across from Argentina and in Rio Grande do Sul, which is the southernmost state of Brazil and borders the Atlantic coast.
To succeed, Sao Borja Scarlet Sage needs partial shade all day or a combination of morning sun and afternoon shade. It also requires rich soil and ample water for a spring surge of growth that needs to be seen to be believed. Use it as a screen, an accent plant or in a container, which will limit size.
(Love and Wishes Sage) Deep purple calyxes support the magenta-purple, tubular blossoms of Salvia x 'Love and Wishes'. They contrast handsomely with dark stems and mid-green foliage.
Retired government worker John Fisher of Orange, Australia, hybridized Love and Wishes from Wendy's Wish Sage (Salvia x 'Wendy's Wish'). He decided that it should benefit Australia's Make-a-Wish Foundation similar to its parent plant.
Wendy's Wish is an accidental hybrid from the Victoria, Australia, garden of Salvia enthusiast Wendy Smith. Smith found its seedling beneath S. mexicana 'Lolly'. However, the plant's parentage remains a mystery.
Smith's cultivar and other Wish Collection Sages -- Ember's Wish as well as Love and Wishes -- may be related to Buchanan's Sage (S. buchananii), Scarlet Sage (S. splendens), Chiapas Sage (Salvia chiapensis) and Purple Majesty Sage (S. guaranitica 'Purple Majesty').
Sales of all Wish Collection sage aid Make-a-Wish in fulfilling the requests of Australia's seriously ill children.
In coastal areas with moderate temperatures, Love and Wishes grows well in full sun. However, it appreciates a bit of shade in hotter climates. Growing about waist-high, Love and Wishes is a long-blooming, floriferous plant that requires little to no deadheading of blossoms. Its combination of woody and soft herbaceous growth mark it as a subshrub.
Although Love and Wishes Sage does well with average irrigation based on local conditions, it appreciates plentiful watering with excellent soil drainage. Similar to its parent plant and Ember's Sage, this nectar-rich Salvia is popular with hummingbirds but not deer.
Photo courtesy of Sunset Western Garden Collection
(Envy Hybrid Sage) A natural hybrid found in Peru and Bolivia, the parentage of this special variety is at this point unknown. The uniquely colored flowers are abundant all season long, and the hummingbirds love it.
Growing four feet or more in a single season, this shrubby plant is a good choice for colder Zones as a long blooming annual. In frost free climates it becomes a semi-woody shrub that can be shaped to fit your needs.
We grew a large number of seedlings of this variety in 2016, and selected this clone as a superior variety.
Hummingbirds love Salvia (sage) nectar and are attracted to it by the bright colors of tubular sage blossoms. In particular, these little whirlybirds can easily spot flowers in the red spectrum, which is prevalent among sages. Here are some hummingbird gardening tips.
If you live in suburbs or rural areas where deer plunder gardens, Salvias (sages) can be part of your plan for discouraging these hungry visitors. Here are some tips.