(Arizona Blue Sage) We are so impressed with this top-performing, drought-resistant ground cover that we have rated it best of class. Arizona Blue Sage is adaptable to a variety of shady conditions and blossoms so abundantly that it seems to have as many rich blue flowers as it has leaves. It is native to dry, shaded areas in mountain canyons in Arizona, New Mexico and Texas.
This softly mounded plant also works well as a patio container plant. Although it grows well for us in dense shade, it does particularly well in spots where it receives morning sun and afternoon shade. Providing regular watering based on local conditions is best, but this hardy perennial tolerates shortages. It also can withstand a wide temperature range, including extreme summer heat and the chill of Zone 6 winters when mulched.
(Variegated Bear's Breeches) Found in Tasmania, this gem is the first variegated Acanthus! 'Tasmanian Angel' offers striking, bold leaves with white margins and mottling. It forms a large clump with 3' to 4' tall ornamental flower stalks of pink and cream in late summer. These flowers are SPECTACULAR!
This plant is tolerant of most soils, thriving in deep, fertile, moist, and well-drained conditions. We grow our stock for two years before sale, ensuring a root system that will ensure fast establishment and growth.
Note for Zone 9 and above gardeners: This plant grows best in the fall, winter and spring and slows to a semi-dormant state in the heat of the summer. Blooming here is almost year-round.
Please note: Nursery pots of this variety may lack variagation late in the growing season. These will reliabally grow into the variegated form the next season.
(St. John's Chamomile) June 24 is mid-summer and the day of the ancient summer solstice festival, a feast day which Roman Catholics eventually dedicated to St. John the Baptist. It's also peak bloom time in Europe for the bright orange flowers of the Bulgarian native Anthemis sancti-johannis or St. John's Chamomile.
Grow this plant, and you will be helping to protect an endangered species. St. John's Chamomile is endemic to the Balkan Mountains of Bulgaria, so that is its only place of origin. In the wild, its population is declining, because of habitat disturbance and its limited ability to reproduce.
Various chamomiles -- primarily the German ( Marticaria recutita) and Roman (Chamaemelum nobile or Anthemis nobilis) species -- are used in herbal teas. However, tea doesn't seem to be a historical use for St. John's Chamomile, which is mostly pretty to view and medicine for the spirit.
Butterflies and bees also greatly appreciate this long blooming member of the aster family (Asteraceae), which has the kind of flowers on which it is easy for them to perch while collecting pollen and sipping nectar.
This daisy-like plant with frothy green foliage is easy to grow. It doesn't need much to thrive -- just full sun, average watering based on your local rainfall and any soil that is well drained.
(Island Pitcher Sage) Native to shady canyons on the coast of Southern California's Channel Islands, this threatened species is highly desirable for its ruggedness, its aromatic furry leaves and its spectacular Winter and Spring flowers.
Grow this shrub in rich soil with regular watering in partial shade for a breathtaking blooming every year - or grow it in any amount of shade with any amount of water in all but the very worst soil, and you will still be rewarded for your efforts.
A California native that catches everyone's eye. Highly recommended and limited.
(Blue Mealy Cup Sage) This Texas native species is one of the mainstays of gardens worldwide. Tidy, easy to grow, hardy, long blooming and undemanding, Mealy Cup Sage belongs in almost any sunny garden. Due to the popularity of the species, the number of varieties is staggering.
Hands down, Salvia farinacea 'Henry Deulberg' is the best blue-flowering cultivar of the lot. The story behind this plant and its closely related, white-flowering mate Salvia farinacea 'Augusta Duelberg', is the subject of our blog post: Salvias in the Cemetery: Meet the Duelbergs.
Butterflies, honeybees and hummingbirds all find Mealy Cup Sage irresistable, but deer aren't so fond of it.
The Deulberg cultivars are so drought resistant and heat tolerant that they can grow well in locations that are almost never irrigated. Hence, their discovery in a dusty Texas graveyard. So don't over water Henry or Augusta! Growing them together as a border is a lovely and waterwise plan.
Plant this sage in the spring and expect a long bloom time from summer through fall. Remember that the Deulbergs love full sun.
(Purple Prince Lyreleaf Sage or Cancerweed) Due to its short height and reddish-purple, veined leaves, Purple Prince Lyreleaf Sage often is descriped as looking like Bugleweed (Ajuga reptans).
Barely discernible, the flowers of Lyreleaf Sages bloom in spring and summer. It is the dramatic basal foliage -- including the purplish stems and calyxes of its flower spikes -- that makes this plant attractive.
Purple Prince is a compact 8 inches tall except when its flower spikes increase its height to 18 inches. It has reddish-purple foliage in contrast to the deep purple of Purple Volcano, another variety of Lyreleaf Sage that we grow. Both are adaptable from full sun to full shade. These are heat- and cold-tolerant plants that are perennial in USDA Zones 5 to 11.
Lyreleaf Sages love water, but can get by on average watering based on local conditions. They also aren't picky about soils, but reseed easily in loose, sandy ground. Although endangered in New York, this American native species can be invasive where sandy soil and steady moisture are available. It grows wild in 25 states from Kansas east to New Jersey and in the South from Texas to Florida.
Lyreleaf refers to the shape of the heavily lobed leaves as being similar to a musical lyre. Consumed in salads when its leaves are young and in teas, the species has a weak, minty flavor. Its other prevalent common name, Cancerweed, refers to a long history as a medicinal plant. Native Americans made salves and infusions from Lyreleaf Sages for ailments including asthma, colds, constipation and diarrhea.
Butterflies, honeybees and hummingbirds all love this plant and so do we.
(Kruipsalie) A creeping growth pattern is what gives this fine, long-blooming sage its scientific appellation "repens." The flower colors of this species include white, mauve and blues. Our selection looks like a pale purple cloud in our garden.
The plant's handsome, bright foliage is rough and hairy with irregularly toothed leaf margins. Its foliage, short height of 12 to 24 inches and rhizomatous root system make it a fine groundcover or path edging. It also looks pretty in containers.
Kruipsalie is the Afrikaans common name of this South African native that comes from from the Eastern Cape. "Salie" refers to the Salvia genus of which there are 26 native species in South Africa.
Although it is often described as blooming summer into fall, our Kruipsalie flowers 10 months a year on the Northern California coast. It grows well in USDA Zones 9 to 11. It is drought tolerant, but responds to regular watering with lush growth. Give it full sun and well-drained soil enriched with compost.
Salvia repens is among the South African Salvias regularly researched for its medicinal and pesticidal properties. In its homeland, it has a plethora of medicinal uses including soothing digestive problems, treating sores and disinfecting homes.
(Apricot Hummingbird Sage or Cerro Alto Pitcher Sage) Large clusters of warm, apricot-colored blossoms top the tall, thick flower spikes of this sage. It is named after a peak in the mountains behind the crashing waters of Big Sur on California's Central Coast.
The flowers darken as they age atop mid-green bracts. Cerro Alto's basal foliage mounds and spreads by underground runners. In favorable conditions, it can spread 3 feet across. The leaves are less lobed than those of the species, but are still sticky and richly scented.
This drought-tolerant, heat-resistant sage is adaptable to light conditions ranging from full sun to partial shade and grows particularly well in morning sun and afternoon shade. It blooms from winter into spring. As with other types of Salvia spathacea it likes the temperatures of USDA Zones 8 to 11.
This is the strongest growing, most vigorous clone of Hummingbird Sage we have seen. It makes a fine groundcover in woodland, native and dry gardens where it also works well in perennial borders and containers. Plant it in rich, well-drained soil and provide average watering based on local conditions.
(Texas Blue Sage) This is a cutie and a tough customer once established. It even grows well in caliche soils. Although Salvia texana typically blooms only during spring in Texas, it has a longer season stretching into fall up north.
Flower colors are in the blue range and include purple and violet. Our strain could be described as having the violet of Scarlet O’Hara eyes as well as pronounced white beelines. Its deep green, oblong leaves and bracts are covered with silky hairs so long that they look like eyelashes.
Although short at 12 to 24 inches tall, Texas Blue Sage is so charming that we like to crouch down to get a closer look. In Northern California, it thrives in full sun, but in Texas, it appreciates a bit of shade on the hottest days. This drought resistant Texas perennial does well in a dry garden, but also accepts regular watering in well drained soils.
It can be temperamental outside its native range, so please take special care with this species. Not a good plant for moist or humid parts of he country.
Grow it as a groundcover or in borders, native plant gardens and prairie-type landscapes. We agree with the butterflies, hummingbirds and honeybees that visit this beauty: What’s not to love about it.
(Hidalgo or 7-UP Plant) I love to ask people what the smell of these leaves remind them of. Almost no one gets it on the first try, but when I say, "7 UP", their eyes light up, heads nod and the resounding answer is, "Yes!"
This mounding small perennial is native to shady mountain canyons in Arizona and Texas. The flowers glow on tall spikes above the furry, light green above, silvery underneath leaves. This is an outstanding perennial for shady spots. It can stand drought when established, but does very well with regular garden water. The apricot-coral flowers age to a reddish tint, and are quite long lasting. This plant blooms for us April - October!
This is another Salvia-like perennial that deserves much greater prominence in our gardens.
(Curly Wood Sage) Frilly, bright green foliage makes Teucrium scorodonia 'Crispum Marginatum' a fancy groundcover for full sun settings. However, it is a woodland plant and can handle a bit of shade.
Teucrium is the germander genus, which contains about 300 species. When in bloom, Curly Wood Sage has tiny cream-colored flowers that attract bees. However, similar to other mint family plants (Lamiaceae), it isn't palatable to deer.
Crispum is Latin for "curly", and marginatum refers to the leaf margins. Scorodonia comes from the ancient Roman name for garlic, scorodon. Some herbalists say that crushed Wood Sage roots smell like garlic.
As to the genus name, Teucrium appears to refer to Teucer, a warrior from Troy who fought in the Trojan War and also reportedly discovered the germander genus.
This easy-to-grow perennial is drought resistant, but prefers some supplemental watering. It is adaptable to different kinds of soil as long as they drain well.
(Hummingbird Sage or Pitcher Sage) No sage we grow is more attractive to hummingbirds than this one. Spectacular in all ways, it is one of our favorite Salvias with its fruity smelling, evergreen foliage and jewel-like flowers and bracts.
Salvia spathacea is easy to grow, drought tolerant, heat resistant and adaptable to a broad range of light conditions from full sun to full shade. It blooms reliably from late winter into spring, sometimes stretching into summer and blooming again in fall.
Our strain is a rich rose red and doesn't go dormant in summer. It comes from the northern end of a native range stretching from the Santa Cruz Mountains in California's Central Coast south to Orange County. The flowers of all varieties of this species grow in large clusters on tall spikes that rise up from sticky, basal foliage.
Hummingbird Sage develops into a mound that spreads gently with underground runners. It's hardy to USDA Zones 8 to 11 and, in favorable conditions, can spread 4 feet. However, average growth is 24 inches tall and wide.
We sell out in a heartbeat when we offer these sages in bloom at our local Markets.
(Marine Blue Sage) The name and origin of this fine cultivar has long been in dispute. It may be a clone or hybrid of the Mexican plant Salvia chamaedryoidesvar.isochroma. It is one of the prettiest, strongest sages we grow.
Our Marine Blue Sage blooms almost nonstop, producing long spikes of small dark blue flowers marked with bee lines that help lead pollinators into the blossoms. The leaves are small, wrinkled and wooly with silver-white tops and greenish undersides. In a sunny spot, the plant forms a tidy mat of ground cover 18 inches tall and 36 inches wide.
Grow Marine Blue Sage in hot, somewhat dry locations where you can see it up close. It's guaranteed to attract the eye. We predict that the popularity of this drought-resistant sage will increase as it becomes more widely known.
(Snowflake Sage) Wiry, trailing stems of small white leaves make this plant look like fresh snowfall. Numerous, small, sky blue flowers with prominent bee lines further add to the cooling look. This dry-garden plant is native to the mountains of the Chihuahuan desert of North Central Mexico.
Just 6 inches tall and spreading to 36 inches, this is a perfect ground cover. However, we like it best spilling over the edge of a mixed planter or in a hanging basket. It can take a bit of shade in hot areas, but is at its best in full sun. Plant it in rich, well drained soil.
We suspect that this species may be hardy in the warmest parts of Zone 6 when planted in very well-drained soil and winter mulched. We highly recommend it.
Salvias may need little or lots of water depending on species and local growing conditions. Many are drought resistant, getting by on less than an inch a week. Learn about the many kinds of Salvias, also called sages, at Flowers by the Sea. We're an online, mail-order nursery specializing in sages.
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.
Fragrance as well as color attracts butterflies. However, they don't have noses. Instead, butterflies smell and taste with their antennas and feet. Here are some ways to attract them:
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.