(Chiapas Sage) This partial-shade Salvia produces magenta flowers year round for us on the Mendocino Coast. It's compact, free flowering and not bothered by pests whether large or small. It is native to Mexico's coastal mountains at an elevation of 7,000 to 9,500 feet.
Chiapas Sage forms a neat mound of glossy, ribbed leaf-foliage with large flower spikes throughout. We grow it in mixed borders, containers and combination planters where it really stands out. Winter mulching it is essential in Zone 8 and below where you can treat this drought-resistant plant as a perennial.
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.
(Spanish Shawl) This is one of these plants that stops most people in their tracks. The deep purple/pink, standout flowers are show stoppers in and of themselves - but the furry leaves, which start green and mature to a bronze red are unique and unforgettable.
Use this native of Colombia in a large container, a hanging basket or as a ground cover in mild climates. It blooms almost nonstop during the growing season. Well worth growing as an annual in colder Zones - there is nothing like this plant!
Here is a link to an article about this plant from the San Francisco Chronicle.
(Oaxaca Red Sage) This rare sage has small, furry, bright orange-red flowers in abundance. It grows nicely in containers or, in mild climates, can become a large shrub in the ground. Attractive, bright green foliage and winter-to-summer blooming make it a desirable choice.
It may not be scientific, but the best way to describe this plant is "cute." Buds that look like little balloons ready to burst are followed by furry, tubular flowers. This water-loving Salvia does best in partial shade. Even though Oaxaca Red is a tender perennial, it's well worth the effort to grow this gem.
Whether you call it a shrub or a tree, Salvia arborscens rises up to an impressive 12 feet tall and 5 feet wide. Commonly known as Sage Tree, this Salvia grows well in full sun, but prefers partial shade.
It is the size of this plant more than its floral display that is its main attraction. Cream to yellow and tiny, each flower has long, graceful anthers that extend far beyond its corolla. The foliage is bright green to forest green with lance-shaped leaves.
Sage Tree works well as a screen or background planting In rich, well-drained soil. It also looks handsome in shrubby borders and is a good solution for moist areas of the yard. You can even grow it in a large container, but expect it to rise to a shorter height than it would in the ground. Deer mostly avoid Salvias, so this is one tree they likely won’t nibble on.
Swedish botanist Erik Ekman collected Salvia arborscens during the 1920s in the Caribbean. Commonly known as Sage Tree, it was one of more than 2,000 species that he introduced to science during his 14 years of research in Cuba, Haiti and the Dominican Republic.
The Dominican Republic’s Partners for Rural Health organization notes that the leaves are used as a folk remedy for diarrhea. However, it warns that they may be dangerously narcotic. So don’t cook with this sage.
(Blue Sky Mexican Sage) The small flowers of this plant from Neuevo Leon and Tamaulipas, Mexico, are an attractive combination of amethyst-purple and white. The spectacular leaves, which are large and lightly textured, appear blue-green on top and purple-green underneath.
Densely branched, this partial-shade sage is excellent in containers where it's beauty can be appreciated close up. It prefers rich, well-drained soil. Everyone wants a Blue Sky Mexican Sage when they see this mid-height Salvia close up during its fall bloom time. It is ideal for a shrubby border, background planting or a woodland-style garden.
(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.
(Pink Tehuacan Sage) Large clusters of big, fuzzy, hot magenta-pink flowers top the elegant foliage of this Mexican sage. It is long blooming beginning in late spring and does well in full sun or partial shade. We want to help spread this rare sage that deserves to be widely planted.
This is a relatively new plant in cultivation and was collected in the Tehuacan region of Mexico -- the same area where the first wild maize was cultivated. Similar to vegetable garden plants, it likes moisture and rich, well-drained soil. Although its growth can be limited through careful pruning or container planting, this lovely Salvia can reach up to 6 feet tall and 5 feet wide in the ground.
We highly recommend this plant for use next to an entryway and in a border or woodland-style garden. Thanks to botanist Brent Barnes for the great picture capturing its beauty.
(Southern Mexican Sage) With its graceful, shrubby habit, purplish green leaves and intense tomato-red blooms, this herbaceous perennial makes a delightful display in your garden. It begins blooming in October and continues sporadically through the winter and into spring in frost-free areas.
Collected by Strybing Arboretum botanists in the late 1980s, it is native to high elevations (7,500-11,000 ft.) in the Mexican provinces of Oaxaca and Chiapas as well as in Guatemala. This is a true cloud-forest sage that best loves a planting location with morning sun and afternoon shade.
For a medium-size plant with pleasing proportions by bloom time, cut stems back to a few inches above the ground in early spring. You'll be pleased to know that although honeybees and hummingbirds love this sage, deer don't.
(Gravid Sage) This tender perennial from Michoacán, Mexico, has large, rich magenta flowers that hang from the arching branches in clusters up to 12 inches long. Growing up to 5 feet tall, this sage offers an unforgettable display when in bloom.
"Gravid" means "with child," and a plant loaded with it's full inflorescence does bring a pregnant woman to mind. Grow this dazzling sage against a wall or trellis. Give it full sun or partial shade as well as rich, well-drained soil and ample water.
Consider Gravid Sage for border, background and container plantings.
(Variegated Mexican Bush Sage) Although slow growing and somewhat finicky, this sage is a must-have for lovers of unique foliage. It has small purple flowers and highly variegated leaves with stems that are slightly twisted. The overall look is compact and dense.
We have grown this Sage for many years. Many similar-to-identical clones with Japanese names are on the market, but this is the best grower of a not particularly robust variety.
Variegated Mexican Bush Sage likes partial shade. Plant it in humus-rich soil that is well drained and give it plenty of water. It is a delight in a mixed planter.
(Pale Sage) Powder blue flowers are cupped by lavender calyxes on this lovely yet little-used sage native to moist meadows in Argentina. It is a tall, narrow plant with delightful oval-shaped leaves with scalloped margins.
Salvia pallida flowers profusely over a long season from late summer into fall. Its flower spikes can reach up to 5 feet tall. This is a most useful plant where a vertical accent is needed. The surprising height and verticality also make this sage a valuable background plant. Translated literally as "Pale Sage," this ethereal plant grows well in full sun to partial shade, and even does well in woodland gardens with morning sun. Give this rare plant regular watering and rich, well-drained soil.
Thanks go to Andrés González of Palmar, Soriano, Uruguay, who took our catalog photos in situ.
(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.
(Mulberry Jam Roseleaf Sage) Magenta flower buds burst into fuzzy, hot pink blossoms in this hybrid sage from the gardens of Betsy Clebsch, author of The New Book of Salvias.
This full-sun Salvia is thought to be a hybrid of the Mexican native Roseleaf Sage (S. involucrata). The other parent is unknown, but may be Chiapas Sage (S. chiapensis).
Deep purple calyxes soften the brightness of the flower clusters. The glossy, mid- to dark-green leaves are oval-to-heart shaped and small. They turn reddish-purple as the weather cools in autumn.
The flowers of this long-blooming, perennial sage look pretty in bouquets and are attractive to hummingbirds.
(Tangerine Pineapple Sage) This citrus-scented cultivar is our smallest variety of Pineapple Sage. Worth growing just for the exotic scent of its leaves, this culinary Salvia is also one of the longest blooming plants in its species.
How is this variety of Pineapple Sage different from Honey Melon? Tangerine's leaves are much smaller (1/2 inch x 1 inch as opposed to 1 inch x 1 1/2 inches), and the plant is shorter (18 inches tall vs. 24 inches). Tangerine also has darker red flowers, foliage with a very different scent and a shrubbier look. Of course, anyone who loves scented plants should have both.
Tangerine Pineapple Sage spreads into a dense clump with underground runners. By cutting back older stems to the ground, new fresh growth keeps it in flower for months. On the Northern California coast, it starts blooming no later than May and sometimes continues until February.
Grow this cultivar in partial shade in warmer zones or in full sun in the coolest part of its range. Along with Honey Melon, Tangerine is easier to grow in most of the country than the larger-growing varieties of Pineapple Sage.
Native to Mexico, Pineapple Sage is found at high elevations in Pine and Oak forests. The species is used as a medicinal herb -- such as in herb tea -- to relieve anxiety and treat hypertension. Just smelling the leaves makes us happier.
(Guanajuato Giant Gentian Sage) At 3 inches long, the flowers of this Gentian Sage are the largest of any we grow. Guanjuato Giant is also unique for its tall, upright growth and heavily textured foliage.
Spikes of deep, true blue flowers that rise up to 48 inches tall make this perennial sage a standout in the garden from summer into fall. This Gentian Sage is reliably perennial in USDA Zones 8 to 11. Its spectacular flowers also make it a fine choice as a summer bedding plant in areas with colder winters.
Guanjuato Giant likes regular watering and rich, well-drained soil. It does fine in full sun or partial shade and can handle moist corners of the yard. Use it as a path edging, border, groundcover or container plant.
German botanist Karl Hartweg discovered the Salvia patens species in 1838. British horticulturist Graham Stuart Thomas later called it "the best plant in cultivation."
Although, true blue is not a part of the color spectrum that hummingbirds favor, they are attracted to Gentian Sages especially when mixed with red-flowered sages.
Nature doesn't come to a sudden, overall halt, when the timing of its ecosystems slip, including ones involving hummingbirds. Instead, change occurs gradually. Plants and the animals that pollinate them have coevolved to meet each other's needs. An example is the long beaks of hummingbirds and deep, tubular flowers. Both sides of this survival equation suffer when the phenology -- or timing -- of hummingbird and plant connections is thrown off. Recent scientific studies explore these shifts and climate change. You can help by planting hummingbird habitat in your home garden. We detail ten nectar-rich Salvias and companion plants that are hummingbird favorites.
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.