Vivid deep violet flowers bloom from summer into fall and contrast prettily with the bright green, rumply foliage of this tall sage from southeastern Mexico. Belgian botanist and orchid lover Jean-Jules Linden was the first to record its discovery in 1838, according to records on file at Britain’s Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
Linden shares credit for this sage with two peers who also were researching the botanical treasures of Mexico -- botanists Henri Guillaume Galeotti of France and Martin Martens of Belgium. The website MexConnect notes that Linden and Galeotti were part of a scientific entourage that climbed Mexico’s highest peak -- the volcano El Pico de Orizaba, which rises 18,853 feet above sea level – near Veracruz in 1838. Perhaps that is where they encountered this heat-tolerant, yet water-loving sage.
By six years later, the plant was published as Salvia biserrata M. Martens & Galeotti. Who knows why Martens’ name is attached to the species and not Linden’s? It is a tantalizing mystery about a tough, attractive plant for which little information is available.
However, we do know that this herbaceous perennial grows rapidly up to 5 feet tall and 3 feet wide. It does well in either sun or partial shade and loves water and rich, well-drained soil. We also know that hummingbirds love it, but deer do not. We think you would enjoy it in borders, background plantings, moist areas of the yard, patio containers and seasonal flowerbeds.
Note: The name of this plant could be suspect, as not all botanists agree. Whatever the name, this is a great summer Salvia.
These are species whose stems never develop a woody character and that either die to the ground or loose leaves and become unsightly at the end of a growing season. This group includes both hardy and tender types. Many of the tender forms are grown as annuals in cold winter areas.
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.
During the spring and summer, you can completely cut to the ground any stems that have finished blooming and are becoming unsightly.
In mild climate areas, growth can be so rapid that the entire plant becomes messy and spent mid-way through the season. In this case, it can be cut back close to the ground – given a short “haircut”. The result usually is fresh, vigorous new growth and another round of flowering.
(Friendship Sage) Thank you Rolando Uria of the University of Buenos Aries for this very fine plant. Discovered in 2005 at a plant show in Argentina, this truly unique hybrid sage has generated a great deal of excitement in the Salvia world. We are happy to be able to offer this plant which we test grew in 2012 for sale in the Spring of 2013.
Growing to about four feet tall, this variety starts blooming when very small and never stops. Large rich royal purple flowers are highlighted dark bracts - all displayed on many-flowered inflorescence. The foliage is something like S. guarantica and something like S. mexicana, but it's true origins are unknown.
According to Rolando (pictured here at the Salvia Summit II in March 2013) this plant is replacing Salvia guarantica in the gardens of Buenos Aires. It resembles some of the purple Anise Scented Sages, but is an absolutely unique plant.
A true hummingbird magnet, use this fine plant as a specimen, in mass for bedding, in a container or in the perennial border. The true temperature hardiness of Amistad is still imperfectly understood, but the plant has handled 20 degree weather for us.
(Blue Black Mexican Sage) This spectacular and hardy native of Central Mexico is exciting to watch as new growth shoots upward rapidly from its root stock in spring. Its large, vibrant, purple-blue flowers bloom for about 10 months and are profuse from late autumn through winter on flower spikes up to 20 inches long.
Calyxes similar in color to the flowers they cup give this sage its scientific name, which means “of the same color.” Easy to grow in a partial shade location, this woodland plant is sometimes mistaken for Salvia guaranitica. However, it is a different species.
Blue Black Mexican Sage works well up against a fence or building that offers morning sun and afternoon shade as well as protection from wind. Plant it as a shrubby border, screen or container plant. It's ideal for moist areas.
(Corrugated Sage) Dense, purple-blue whorls of flowers complement this evergreen‘s somewhat linear, deeply textured -- or corrugated -- dark green leaves with cottony undersides. It is a handsome native of the Ecuadorian Andes Mountains.
Corrugated Sage grows quickly and easily up to 6 feet tall and wide. It needs full sun, well-drained soil and regular water to stay in nearly continuous bloom and look it’s best. Occasional pruning of the growing tips or container planting helps restrict the shrub's growth to about 2 to 3 feet tall and wide.
We enjoy contrasting this plant’s rounded, dense form with taller, airier sages, such as Salvia guaranitica 'Purple Majesty'.
In addition to planting it in decorative containers, we highly recommend using this plant in shrub borders and moist woodland-style gardens.
(Shaggy Chiapas Sage) This is a sweetheart! Glowing magenta flowers lure the eye as well as hummingbirds to this heat-tolerant sage. It begins blooming in late summer where weather is warm and in fall where it is cooler.
This compact shrub from Chiapas, Mexico, has heavily textured leaves and is attractive even when not in bloom.
Reports from colder areas suggest that this Zone 9-to-11 plant may be suitable for Zone 8. Even if you grow it as an annual, you will be very impressed by the large clusters of 1-inch, furry, bright flowers.
This is an adaptable plant, which grows in full sun or partial shade and does well in containers and shrubby borders. We highly recommend it as one of the strongest hummingbird magnets we grow.
Large apricot-yellow flowers are an attraction of this cross between two Mexican species -- Salvia madrensis (Forsythia Sage) and the volcanic sage Salvia gesneriiflora (Mexican Scarlet Sage).
Botanists from Central California’s Cabrillo College hybridized this sunny-looking sage that does well in situations where moisture ranges from regular watering to ample quantities of rainfall.
Plant explorers from Southern California's Huntington Gardens discovered one of its parents -- Salvia gesneriiflora -- while visiting Volcan de Tequila in the Mexican Province of Jalisco.
Some varieties of Mexican Scarlet Sage reach heights and widths of 10 feet whereas Forsythia Sage can grow up to 10 feet tall, but usually no more than 3 feet wide. This hybrid, which reaches up to 6 feet tall and 4 feet wide, works well as a background planting or in tall borders. It blooms from summer to fall and attracts hummingbirds.
Cabrillo Giant grows well in full sun to partial shade and does best with rich, well-drained soil. Screen it from wind to avoid breakage of woody branches.
(Violet Calyx Sage) Here's another abundantly blooming sage from the cloud forest slopes of Chiapas, Mexico. Violet beelines mark the lower lip of the crimson blossoms, which are so numerous that it can be difficult to see the foliage at times.
Bloom time is autumn into winter in Zones 9 to 11. The 2-inch-long, netted leaves have purple undersides, making this plant attractive even when not in bloom. Well branched and compact, it has an attractive fountain shape that makes it work well as an accent plant. Violet Calyx Sage also looks good in a large patio container. Give this water-loving species rich, well-drained soil and full sun to partial shade.
One last bit of buzz: Butterflies, honeybees and hummingbirds -- especially ones hanging out for the winter in warm climates -- love this plant. Fortunately, deer don't.
(Mexican Many Flowered Sage) Blooming from late summer into winter, this Mexican cloud-forest native has so many flowers that they are difficult to count. The deep violet blossoms develop distinct, white beelines after opening.
Growing up to 5 feet tall and 4 feet wide, Salvia myriantha is a good size for the back of perennial borders in moist, woodland gardens. Its sticky foliage and strong aroma may also incline gardeners to use it as a background planting. However, those who love its multitudinous, vibrant flowers may want to plant it close up along pathways. Container planting also works well.
This shrubby, water-loving sage grows well in USDA cold hardiness zones 9 to 11. It does particularly well in settings with morning sun and afternoon shade. Give it well-drained soil that is rich in organic matter.
Our honeybees and hummingbirds love it, and we think you will, too.
(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.
(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 10,000 feet in the Cordillera de los Andes of Chile, Ecuador and Peru.
Sagittata refers to the arrowhead shaped leaves, which are deeply textured, lime-green and woolly on the undersides. The flowers rise up 1 to 2 feet on dark, leafy spikes from summer into fall.
This sage is adaptable about settings ranging from full sun to partial shade, but needs at least a few hours of strong sunlight daily to bloom well. It also likes well-drained soil that’s high in organic matter, regular watering and a light feeding once or twice a month during rapid growth.
Arrowleaf Sage's habit of spreading via suckers makes it a good groundcover. However, it needs some partial-shade time to do this. It also works well in perennial borders and containers as well as along pathways.
For the best shape and most profuse bloom, cut this sage down to its lowest few active growth nodes in March.
(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.
This fragrant sage's common and scientific names don't communicate its beauty or growing range. Both names refer to the boggy conditions in which it grows in the wild in Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay. However, although it appreciates moisture, Bog Sage also does well in dry conditions that cause this stoloniferous plant to spread less.
Lovely sky-blue blooms, with white beelines on the upper and lower lips, top the many slender, graceful stems from summer to fall. When swaying in the breeze at the back of a perennial border or as part of a screen, Bog Sage is a pleasing sight for butterflies, honeybees, hummingbirds and humans alike.
Although it has an average height and spread of about 40 inches with flower spikes making it a bit taller, Bog Sage sometimes can reach heights of more than 72 inches, according to Mississippi State University.
Partial shade is preferable, but Bog Sage also grows well in full sun in all but the hottest and most arid environments. Cold and heat tolerant, it grows well in regions ranging from the arid Rocky Mountain West to the humid Deep South. Give it partial shade if possible. Full sun is fine in all but the hottest and most arid environments. We always sell out of this plant early in the season.
(Golden Sacred flower of the Incas) Long, golden-yellow flowers with a rosy blush to their flared, trumpet-like corollas contrast with mid-green foliage in this long-blooming variety of the South American species Cantua buxifolia.
The flowers grow in clusters of 12 or more on these tall shrubs, which are evergreen in areas with mild winter temperatures. In its native lands, this heat tolerant species grows on the margins of forests. For best results, give it full sun to partial shade and rich, well-drained soil. You'll be rewarded with visits from butterflies and hummingbirds.
Mostly known as "Kantu" or "Cantuta," this floriferous shrub grows in the Yungas mountains of Northern Argentina and is considered a national plant in Peru and Bolivia. It comes in a variety of floral colors, including pink, red, yellow and white.
Cantua is a Latinization of qantu -- the species' original name from the native Quechuan people of the Andes. Buxifolia refers to the shrub's boxwood-style foliage.
Considered sacred in Andean cultures, reddish Kantu flowers are particularly popular for decoration during holy days. Kantu is a word also used to describe musical groups that play Andean flutes similar to pan pipes; this may be due to the sizable, flute-shaped flowers of the genus.
(Temascaltepec Sage) In full bloom, which is all year in mild climates, this mid-sized, shrubby Salvia has far more flowers than foliage. Each 1/2-inch-long, bright pink bloom has two dark pink/purple spots and a pair of white stripes. The small, slightly furry leaves add to its soft, pleasing look.
Temascaltepec Sage is new to the United States and comes from the Valle de Bravo Lake region of Central Mexico. It is a tender perennial affected by frost, but so fast growing that it is ideal as an outdoor summer bedding plant. Hummingbirds, bees and butterflies love this sage, which grows well in full sun to partial shade.
This Salvia is a favorite in cut-flower gardens and a superior container plant in a greenhouse or sunroom. We rate it "best of class" for being our top performer among large summer bedding Salvias.
(Michoacan Blue Sage) This unusual and distinctive Mexican sage grows from tuberous roots. It is compact and decidedly vertical with strong, square, winged stems that rocket upward and are topped with clusters of rich blue flowers in large rosy bracts come autumn.
In Zone 7 and above, you can leave the tubers in the ground or dig them up and divide them as you would dahlias to extend their growing range in your yard. Due to this plant's drought tolerance, we have been able to grow it without watering in summer. It needs full sun to partial shade and does well in containers, border plantings, cut-flower gardens and woodland-style gardens.
The identification and nomenclature of this plant have been confusing at best. However, one thing is certain: If you grow it, you'll love it!
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.