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Salvia chionophylla


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Salvia chionophylla

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Description

(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.

Details

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4 item(s) available

Common name  
Snowflake Sage
USDA Zones  
7b - 11
Size (h/w/fh)  
6"/36"+/6"
Exposure  
Full sun
Soil type  
Well drained & rich
Water needs  
Average
Pot size  
3 1/2 inch deep pot
Container plant?  
Yes
Our price
10.50

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Here are some guidelines for success with this plant in your garden.
Click on an individual icon for more detailed information.

Exposure

Full sun
Full sun
Partial shade
Partial shade

Garden Uses

Container plant
Container plant

Growing Habit

7b - 11
7b - 11
6 inches tall
6 inches tall
36 inches wide+
36 inches wide+
Ground cover
Ground cover
Perennial
Perennial

Water Needs

Average water
Average water
Drought resistant
Drought resistant

Blooming Season

Fall blooming
Fall blooming
Summer blooming
Summer blooming

Wildlife

Deer resistant
Deer resistant
Ready for some pruning?

Deciduous, woody stem Salvias

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.

Growing Season Pruning

During the spring and summer, you can completely or partially remove any stems that have finished blooming and are becoming unsightly. This often stimulates fresh new growth and increased flowering


Dormant Season Pruning

At the end of the growing season or after first frost, spent stems can be cut to the ground. Some gardeners in cold winter climates say that leaving 3 to 6 inches of the stems intact during the winter improves survivability. They remove the remaining stems before new growth begins in the spring. In warmer areas the stems may never completely die back, but should be cut to ground to allow for new growth.


Check the Views from the Garden section of our Everything Salvias Blog for videos that apply to this plant.

  • Salvia africana-caerulea

    (Blue African Sage or Blousalie) A handsome, densely branched shrub with small, gray leaves, this Salvia puts on a show when in full bloom. The pale blue flowers bloom on foot-long spikes that cover the plant. Each flower has a large, trumpet-shaped, green-and-red bract at its base.

    This plant is widespread on the coastal hills and adjacent rocky hills of the South African Cape where it loves full sun. Used both as a culinary and medicinal herb by the native peoples of this area, it was adopted by Dutch colonials in the 18th century.

    Hardy and drought-resistant, Blue African Sage can be a foundation planting in your garden or an unusual container choice. It is a butterfly favorite that blooms from late spring through summer with abandon. We love this deer-resistant Salvia and believe it should be used more widely.

    Note: We have reason to believe this species may have greater cold tolerance than documented. Also, according to some taxonomists, the correct name for this species is now Salvia africana.

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  • Salvia arizonica

    (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. It does not do well in very warm and humid areas unless in a very well drained location with good air circulation.

    Highly recommended.

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  • Salvia canescens var. daghestanica

    (Caucasus Sage) This hardy ground cover sage grows 4 to 12 inches tall and 12 inches wide. The velvety white fur of its foliage aids moisture retention. Its soft, royal purple flowers make it stand out. We think this Salvia deserves to spread far and wide.

    A tough native of the Caucasus Mountains of central Asia, it survives the freezing temperatures of Zone 5, forming a tight mat that withstands light traffic. It blooms in early summer and again in fall. Plant this beauty in well-drained soil, but don't pamper it; Caucasus Sage grows well in harsh environments.

    This is one of the shortest Salvias we grow and makes a fine border edging or rock garden plant. We highly recommend its use as a ground cover, so we offer a discount for larger orders.

    Here is a great blog article about this plant.

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  • Salvia coahuilensis

    (Coahuila Sage) Such a pretty little shrub! Its beet-purple flowers will amaze you from June until autumn frost. Coahuilla Sage is an ideal ground cover or sunny border plant at 24 inches tall and wide. Small, shiny, deep green leaves clothe this densely branched, mounding sage.

    This beauty comes from the mountains of Coahuilla, Mexico. Aside from full sun, a little watering and well-drained soil, it is undemanding. We find it to be most attractive when kept on the lean side. A gentle shearing after blooming keeps it tidy and tight.

    Similar in many ways to Salvia greggii (Autumn Sage), this plant has smaller leaves with a distinct spicy aroma. Coahuilla Sage is generally smaller and has a more intense flower color that S. greggii's just dream of. Obviously, we highly recommend it.

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  • Salvia discolor

    (Peruvian Sage or Concolor Sage) Native to the high Andes of Peru, this is a distinctive Salvia with apple-green leaves that are smooth on top and silver-haired fuzzy on the bottom. The flowers are such a dark purple that they almost look black.

    Large and showy, the flowers of Peruvian Sage -- also known as Concolor Sage for its bicolor leaves -- bloom from spring through autumn.  They continue blooming during the chill of winter if kept in a greenhouse. Peruvian Sage does best if watered regularly and given shade for part of the day, but cannot tolerate wet soils.

    The plant's wiry stems are scandent, which means that they climb upward like vines but without tendrils. When planted in the ground, its stems arch and form ground cover. This dramatic plant looks lovely in a hanging basket or in a container with a light trellis or bamboo poles supporting its sprawling growth.

    Situate Peruvian Sage where it will delight you with its black currant fragrance that makes all seem well in the world. This is one of our favorite plants, and we are glad to report that deer don't seem to like it!

     

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  • Salvia keerli

    (Big Grape Sage) This lavender-flowered native of Northern Mexico resembles Salvia melissodora (Grape Scented Sage), but is bigger and also has larger leaves and flowers. It's a great companion plant for its little brother, which shares the same cultural needs and affinity for Zones 8 to 10. Both bloom from summer into fall.

    Similar to Salvia melissodora, this sage is used by the indigenous Tarahumara people of Chihuahua, Mexico, as a medicinal herb. Another commonality is that the flowers smell like ripe grapes, a fact that young children enjoy confirming. In addition to the fragrance of its flowers, Big Grape Sage has appealing leaves with furry, white undersides.

    Give this heat-tolerant Salvia a sunny, warm spot in well-drained soil. Then watch it grow without fuss. Although drought tolerant, it enjoys regular watering. Big Grape Sage is a good choice as a mid-height groundcover or in shrubby and herbaceous perennial borders.

    Butterflies, honeybees and hummingbirds highly recommend this sage, but deer avoid it.

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  • Salvia lanceolata

    (Rusty Sage)  Named for its leaves shaped like the tips of lances, this nearly care-free, evergreen sage from South Africa has enchanting rusty rose flowers that bloom from fall (spring in its native land) into winter.

    This handsome little bush is found from sea level up to 1,000 feet in the coastal areas of the Cape of Good Hope. its tidy, compact look and ability to withstand drought and heat make this woody sub-shrub a must-have Salvia for any garden with full sun.

    Rusty Sage also needs well-drained soil that is low in organic matter. Grow it as a groundcover, in sunny borders or as part of your kitchen garden. In South Africa, it is used to season fish.

    Occasional, light pruning helps to shape the plant, but isn't necessary. Deep watering once a week during the summer is desirable. However, this sage survives on much less moisture when well established.

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  • Salvia madrensis 'Silver Leaf'

    (Silver Leaf Forysthia Sage) It's the foliage of this clone that makes it so different from its parent plant. The leaves are a lovely silver and smaller than the green leaves of the species. However, they both have buttery yellow, Forsythia-like blossoms.

    This statuesque perennial grows up to 10 feet tall, but spreads only 3 feet wide. It is a late bloomer from Mexico's Sierra Madre Oriental mountains where it grows at altitudes of 4,000 to 5,000 feet and tolerates temperatures down to 20 degrees F.

    Short periods of colder temperatures don't kill this tough sage. When knocked out by frigid weather, it usually comes back from root stock. A single plant forms a multi-stemmed thicket through slowly spreading rootstock, but can easily be kept tidy by removing unwanted stems.

    Give this sage morning sun and afternoon shade as well as ample water. It blooms from fall until frost or into spring in mild winter areas. You can grow Silver Leaf Forsythia Sage as a screen, border or background plant. It even does well in containers. We love to plant Bog Sage, Salvia uliginosa at its base for a bright blue floral contrast.

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  • Salvia taraxacifolia

    (Dandelion Leaf Sage) Brush or bruise the basal foliage of this Moroccan Salvia and it exudes a citrusy fragrance. Petite and heat tolerant, this is a sturdy, adaptable groundcover.

    The late James C. Archibald of the Scottish Rock and Garden Club once described the plant's homeland -- the Atlas Mountains of Morocco -- as being "high, barren" and "snow-streaked." He collected specimens there in 1962 and noted that the plant retains its dwarf-like height better in dry, poor, gravelly soil.

    Taraxacifolia refers to the dandelion-like appearance of the plant's foliage. However, this is a non-invasive sage. Forming tight, low rosettes that spread gently, the gray-green, lyre-shaped leaves are heavily indented. The foot-tall spikes of large, soft, pink flowers bloom from summer into fall. 

    This perennial withstands light foot traffic, which is useful in a groundcover. Heat resistant and drought tolerant, it thrives in full sun and dry gardens with well-drained soil. However, it can also handle average watering based on local conditions. Dandelion Leaf Sage grows well in USDA Zones 7 to 11 where it is evergreen down to 20 degrees F and hardy to 10 degrees F if winter mulched.

    We like this easy-to-grow, uncommon sage and are glad that deer do not.

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  • Salvia tingitana

    (Mauretania Tingitana Sage) Native to Northern Africa and Saudi Arabia, this sage has a long history of cultivation going back 400 years and weaving throughout various countries in the Middle East and North Africa before arriving in Europe in the 1700s. It was first described scientifically in 1777.

    Before the discovery of its Saudi Arabian connection in 1989, the origin of this heat- and drought-tolerant perennial was a hotly debated mystery. Was it native to Egypt, Syria, Aleppo, Tunis or Tangier?

    Tingitana grows in a wide range of conditions and is particularly useful as a border or cut-flower plant in dry gardens. It branches freely and features flower spikes with large numbers of 1-inch-long, bicolor, yellow and lavender blossoms. The roseleaf-type foliage is lime green, heavily textured and fragrant.

    Given full sun and well drained soil, this lovely sage forms a compact mound that also looks pretty in patio containers. This plant deserves to find a home in more gardens.

    Highly recommended.

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  • Salvia villosa

    (Hairy Sage) In 1877, J.G. Schaffner of Germany -- also known as Johann Wilhelm Schaffner -- collected the small, airy looking Salvia villosa while working as a pharmacist in the town of San Luis Potosi, Mexico.

    Perhaps it was the cool powder blue and softly blended white beelines of the half-inch-long flowers that caught his eye. They bloom from summer into fall. Or maybe it was the contrast of the plants fuzzy, silvery gray foliage that made him take a specimen. In time, American botanist Merritt Lyndon Fernald would give the plant its scientific name using the term villosa to indicate its hairy quality.

    Hairy foliage conserves moisture. Salvia villosa is ideal for dry gardens, such as rockeries, due to its excellent drought resistance. It is heat tolerant and grows best in dry climates where it doesn't have to deal with much winter moisture.

    When these conditions are met, this pretty, little sage is a pleasing plant. To help it succeed outside the Southwest, we recommend growing it in a container where it can be sheltered from heavy winter moisture. Give this plant full sun, great drainage and limited water in USDA Zones 8 to 11. That's all it needs.

    Very limited.
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  • Salvia viscosa

    (Mid-East Sage) Native to the mountains shared by Israel and Lebanon, this fragrant sage is drought resistant, heat tolerant and long blooming. Its tidy, basal foliage rises up and spreads only about 18 inches, but it has tall flower spikes.

    Sometimes called Sticky Sage, its scientific name refers to the stickiness of the plant's calyxes, which cup small, dusky pink flowers that bloom spring into summer. Its strap-shaped leaves form a dense rosette.

    Salvia viscosa is easy to grow. It is an efficient, heat-tolerant groundcover and is perfect for dry gardens in USDA Zones 8 to 10. Combine it in a mixed border with the deep purple flowers of Salvia coahuilensis, which is similarly short and has the same cultural needs of full sun and well-drained soil. Although Salvia viscosa can get by with little watering, it appreciates average moisture based on local conditions.

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  • Salvia leucantha 'Danielle's Dream'

    (Pink Mexican Bush Sage) Although native to Mexico and Central America, this elegant variety of Salvia leucantha was hybridized in South Africa. It is compact, long blooming and profusely covered by soft pink flowers surrounded by velvety white bracts.

    It is our experience that many of the plants sold under the name 'Danielle's Dream' are not the true variety. Also, to further the confusion, this variety of Mexican Bush Sage goes by many names. But this is the real thing.

    Plant this drought-resistant, heat-tolerant sage in full sun. Use it in a shrubby border, a cut-flower garden or as a magnificently large container plant. Butterflies, honeybees and hummingbirds will show their appreciation by visiting regularly. 

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  • Salvia chamaedryoides x ‘Marine Blue’

    (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.

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20 Heavenly Sages and Companions for Hell Strips

20 Heavenly Sages and Companions for Hell Strips


Category: Everything Salvias Blog
Posted: Feb 2, 2014 12:36 PM
Synopsis: Some gardeners call them parking strip or drive-strip gardens. Others bestow the more genteel names of tree-lawn or boulevard garden on these attempts to beautify the scraggly, grassy, weed-ridden verges between sidewalk and street. Then there is the most popular name of all, hell strips, which garden writer and designer Lauren Springer Ogden coined. One colorful solution to the hell strip is to plant short, tough sages (Salvia spp.) and equally drought-resistant companion plants.
15 Select Salvias for Dry, Partial-Shade Gardening

15 Select Salvias for Dry, Partial-Shade Gardening


Category: Everything Salvias Blog
Posted: Mar 27, 2013 07:59 AM
Synopsis: Learning how to garden in dry shade requires mediation of the needs of all the plants involved. Dry shade is particularly abundant under trees, because they consume lots of water. Fortunately, numerous drought-resistant Salvias can handle life in dry, partial shade. Flowers by the Sea details basic considerations of dry shade gardening and identifies 15 sages for it.
Pantone Pageant: A Chorus Line of Grayed Jade Designer Salvias

Pantone Pageant: A Chorus Line of Grayed Jade Designer Salvias


Category: Cultivating Color
Posted: Jan 30, 2013 04:07 PM
Synopsis: Sage is the common name for the uncommonly beautiful Salvia genus. But when designers describe a product as being sage-colored, they mean a shade of grey-green that they say is soothing and that harmonizes with a multitude of colors, including soft pastels, hot oranges and deep purples. A version of sage called "Grayed Jade 14-6011" is one of the Pantone color-matching system's top shades for the design industry this year. This post identifies some Grayed Jade plants in the Flowers by the Sea collection. They are fine peacemakers amid a Salvia garden based on a mixture of Pantone's top greens for 2013, which you can read about in previous articles from our Pantone Pageant series of designer colors in the landscape.
I like Amstiad

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.


  1. Go tubular. Hummingbirds need tubular flowers that are easy for long, thin beaks to access.
  2. Provide lots of color. Think of yourself as a cafeteria manager who needs to provide many tempting choices in order to attract business. Red, pink, orange and purple sages are particularly powerful hummingbird magnets.
  3. Keep your garden blooming. Plant a variety of Salvias based not only on color but also a broad span of bloom times. Many flower from spring into fall. Others are prolific fountains of nectar for shorter seasons. Numerous winter-blooming species are available for areas that are home to hummingbirds year round.
  4. Grow sages native to the Western Hemisphere. Although hummingbirds will take advantage of many kinds of tubular flowering plants, these tiny birds are native to the Western Hemisphere and prefer flowering plants native to their half of the world.
  5. Select Salvia companion plants. Hummingbirds appreciate a variety of favorite tubular-flowered plants.
  6. Plant hummingbird gardens near cover. Trees and bushes surrounding feeding areas provide protection from predators and chilly, rainy weather.
  7. Don't use pesticides. Insects provide protein for hummingbirds, so don't kill these food sources.
  8. Provide water. Hummingbirds frolic in misters and shallow birdbaths.
  9. Supplement plantings with feeder tubes. Change the sugar water every few days and don't add food coloring. Keep the feeders clean, but don't scrub them with soaps or detergents. Here is more feeder care information.
  10. Read more. Our Everything Salvias Blog offers a number of articles about hummingbirds.
Hey, got any greens?

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.


  1. Mask smells that deer like with aromatic sages. Deer and other members of the Cervidae family, such as elk, mostly leave Salvias alone. One theory is that they don't like the fragrance or taste of sage chemicals. Strategically planting sages near vegetable gardens or fruit trees -- elixir to deer -- may prevent consumption.
  2. Grow hedges including Salvias. Prickly hedges, including hairy-leafed Salvias and exceptionally thorny roses, can discourage deer from entering your yard. They don't like the mouth-feel of those textures. Tall hedges also hide strawberry beds and other yummy plantings from view.
  3. Don't overplant one species. Grow a variety of Salvias in case local deer take an unexpected liking to one species of sage.
  4. Fence deer out. Install electric fences or 8-foot wood or metal fences around particularly vulnerable areas. Make sure electric fencing is turned on during the peak feeding seasons of early spring and late fall.
  5. Use motion-detection tools. Install outdoor lighting that is activated by movement.
  6. Let the dogs out. Deer are especially wary of large dogs.
  7. Surround and cover. Wrap tough plastic around the trunks of trees that have tasty bark and cover foliage with bird netting when trees and bushes are fruiting.
  8. Change yard ornaments periodically. Objects such as scarecrows, statuary and cordons of monofilament string with strips of shiny foil attached cause deer to shy away.
  9. Make safe choices. Research repellants you plan to use to make sure they aren't poisonous.
  10. Be flexible and ready to share a bit. There is no such thing as a completely deer-resistant garden.