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Salvia clevelandii 'Deer Springs Silver'


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Salvia clevelandii 'Deer Springs Silver'



Degree of Difficulty
Challenging
Degree of Difficulty
This plant is can be challenging to grow in conditions outside those in which it is found in the wild.
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Blue Tag Plant
This plant is sensitive to overwatering.

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Description

(Silver Cleveland Sage or California Silver-Blue Sage) Unlike other Cleveland Sages, this drought-tolerant, violet-flowered evergreen blooms in summer. This compact, aromatic shrub has distinctive silver-grey foliage. It was discovered in Northern San Diego County.

We have grown this heat-tolerant, full-sun sage successfully without watering during the summer, so it's ideal for a dry, native plant garden. The strongly scented flowers attract honeybees and hummingbirds in abundance. Butterflies also love it, but deer don't.

Due to its silvery leaves, this cultivar stands out in a mixed planting of Cleveland Sages. Plant it in a border or cut-flower garden. It also forms an attractive screen.

Details

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Common name  
Silver Cleveland Sage or California Silver-Blue Sage
USDA Zones  
8 - 11
Size (h/w/fh)  
48"/48"/48"
Exposure  
Full sun
Soil type  
Well drained
Water needs  
Drought resistant
Pot size  
3 1/2 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
Heat tolerant
Heat tolerant

Garden Uses

Fragrant
Fragrant

Growing Habit

8 - 11
8 - 11
48 inches tall
48 inches tall
48 inches wide
48 inches wide
Shrub
Shrub

Water Needs

Drought resistant
Drought resistant

Blooming Season

Summer blooming
Summer blooming

Wildlife

Honeybees
Honeybees
Butterflies
Butterflies
Deer resistant
Deer resistant
Hummingbirds
Hummingbirds
Ready for some pruning?

Evergreen, woody Salvias

These are species that grow as woody shrubs and keep their foliage year round.

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

At any time, you can perform cosmetic pruning -- shaping, controlling height and width and removing the oldest wood. Some gardeners periodically remove the oldest stems to encourage fresh new growth.


Dormant Season Pruning

Same as Growing Season.


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

  • Asclepias speciosa

    (Showy Milkweed) Milkweeds (Asclepias spp. ) are must-have, nectar-rich plants in the butterfly garden. They're the only genus on which the endangered Monarch butterfly lays eggs. It is urgent that we offer this pretty, fragrant wildflower.

    In spring 2013, The New York Times reported a precipitous decline in the Monarch butterfly migration due to various causes, including North America’s plummeting supply of Milkweed. The species normally grows wild in agricultural fields. However, the increasing use of seed genetically modified to withstand herbicides has eliminated at least 120 million acres of Monarch habitat, according to The New York Times.

    Backyard gardeners can help reverse this trend by growing plants, such as Showy Milkweed, which keep the Monarch migration alive and feed other species of butterflies as well.

    Butterflies need flowers on which they can easily perch while sipping nectar. Plants with globe-shaped flower heads, such as those of Milkweeds, meet this need. The roughness of Showy Milkweed's long, fuzzy, gray-green leaves make it easy for eggs and chrysalises to connect. Powerful chemicals in the foliage are consumed by Monarch caterpillars and make them off limits -- as babies and adult butterflies -- to predators that can’t consume those substances.

    Showy Milkweed features globes of tiny, star-shaped flowers that are pale, creamy pink. It isn’t very big for such a powerful plant, growing only 24 to 36 inches tall and 24 inches wide. Although it can tolerate a bit of partial shade, this plant prefers full sun. It likes droughty conditions as well as gravelly ground. Any kind of soil will do as long as it drains well.

    This cold-tolerant species grows well in USDA Zones 4 to 9 where it looks pretty in perennial borders or massed with other Lepidoptera favorites in butterfly gardens. It is particularly well adapted to dry gardens. Milkweeds are native to a large swath of North America, so they are also good choices for native gardens.

    To control the plant’s tendency to naturalize in parts of the yard where you don’t want to grow it, simply snip off the seedpods before they ripen and pop open.

    IMPORTANT NOTE:  What you will recieve is a very well established root system.  The foliege will not be cosmetically perfect, and it is only in the second year, once planted out in the ground, that this species will attain its full potential.  In the wild this species often exhibits summer dormancy. There is generally very little above ground activity in the year in which this is planted.

    10.50

    OUT OF STOCK

    New!
  • California Drought Action Pack

    (California Drought Action Pack) The drought in California is a real challenge to gardeners and to the wildlife that depends increasingly on us for survival. We want to help.

    This package consists of Salvias, Agastache, Kniphofia, Asclepias and other wildlife-friendly & drought resistant plants that will grow, bloom and be happy in dry gardens. We will personally select three each of four different plants, taking into account your particular climate and location. These are some of our top sellers, offered as a discounted group.  We can't promise any specific plant, but you'll be excited when you unpack your box!

    We're all concerned about the declining habitats and food sources for hummingbirds, butterflies and bees - and by planting these in your garden you will be doing a great service to our animal friends that being stressed by the lack of flowers. Because of the large number of suitable varieties we grow, we'll plan to send along a balanced, long blooming mix. You can plant now and enjoy these beauties for years to come, even if the drought continues.

    Some of the plants in this package
    Some of the plants



    We also include a detailed Planting Guide, to insure your success.

    We offer this for the Fall planting season only with free shipping anywhere in California.   You can choose your desired shipping date during checkout.

    Please let us know in the "Customer Notes" section of the shopping cart if you have any color preferences or blooming season restrictions. We guarantee to pick out some of the very best drought tolerant varieties we grow for you. Please, this is for California residents only.

    129.00

    OUT OF STOCK

  • Erigeron glaucus 'Olga'

    (California Seaside Daisy) Native to the sea-facing cliffs of California, this sturdy mat-forming plant is a delight for bees and butterflies. A full sun, drought resistant plant in coastal locations, it grows in hot inland locations in partial shade and average watering.

    'Olga' is a select seed strain that forms a dense, ground hugging mat of bright green leaves.  The two inch lavender-pink daisies have yellow centers and are displayed on foot long stems, starting in the late winter and continuing into early summer.  It survives with minimal irrigation, but tolerates regular watering.

    Outstanding in the native garden, or where a showy small scale groundcover is needed.

    10.50

    OUT OF STOCK

  • Lepechinia fragrans

    (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 pink 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 in locations with climates similar to its native range.

    11.50

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  • Salvia apiana

    (Sacred White Sage) Bees, hummingbirds and spiritual blessings are all connected to this elegant shrubby sage, which is an important herb to indigenous Californians and deserves a place in every salvia garden. Stiff and almost fleshy, its leaves are tight rosettes of brilliant, silvery white. The flower spikes soar above the foliage, with hundreds of small white-to-lavender flowers that are one of the most important sources of pollen and nectar for pollinators. This Salvia is also the source of leaves for Native American smudge sticks used in purification rituals.

    Slow growing but not difficult, this California native requires good drainage and full sun. In its dry-summer/wet-winter range, it often grows on rocky, south slopes.  Very little water is needed once the plant becomes established.

    Our strain is well adapted to the moist environment of coastal Northern California, and performs well in a wide variety of climates.  We select only the whitest and most compact plants for vegetative propagation, insuring a tidy shrub that will not overgrow its space.

    Historically, Sacred White Sage has been used in medicinal teas and ground into flour for cooking.  We burn the leaves in our home to sweeten and purify the air.  This is a beautiful and powerful plant.

    10.50
  • Salvia clevelandii 'Whirly Blue'

    (Cleveland Sage or California Blue Sage) A California native plant garden is not complete without a Cleveland Sage. This particular cultivar has deeper blue flowers with a purple overlay as well as deep purple calyxes. Due to its height and drought resistance, it is ideal for back of border in a dry garden.

    At 5 feet tall and wide, this plant is also a good xeric screen for fences, boundary lines and separations in your yard. Its tidy dome of fragrant leaves and flowers is rarely without honeybees, butterflies or hummingbirds.

    There is much confusion in the naming and identification of Salvias native to California, especially Cleveland Sage. However, we have done our due diligence and believe that the plant we offer under this name is the one first grown by the Saratoga Horticultural Research Foundation in 1990.

    10.50

    OUT OF STOCK

  • 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.

    10.50
  • Salvia fruticosa

    (Greek Sage) Most of the dried culinary sage sold in the United States is Greek Sage. Frescoes on the island of Crete, dating to 1400 BC, depict this plant used by the Phoenicians and Greeks for cooking and medicine. It is an ancient and beloved friend of mankind.

    In the garden, Greek Sage provides a pleasant lavender fragrance, especially on warm days, and has spikes of pink-to-lavender flowers. Similar to most culinary sages, it loves full sun and well-drained soil. However, it tolerates moist ground. This compact plant, which grows 24 inches tall and 18 inches wide, is a good choice for fragrant borders and patio containers as well as kitchen gardens.

    Grow this drought-resistant, heat-tolerant plant in well-drained soil that is on the dry side.  Butterflies, honeybees and hummingbirds will thank you with frequent visits.

    Although some cooks find Salvia oficinalis culinary sages tastier, Salvia fruticosa is easier to grow. It comprises 50 to 95% of the commercial market. We think it offers an interesting change of taste.

    10.50

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  • Salvia leucophylla 'Amethyst Bluffs'

    (Giant Spreading California Purple Sage or Giant Spreading California Gray Sage) Looking for a large scale ground cover? One for poor soil, little to no water, howling winds or seriously hot sun? This Salvia leucophylla variety, collected in the wild and close to the ocean at Point Sal near Santa Barbara, may just be the plant for you.

    Commonly known as Purple Sage for its flowers or Gray Sage for its silvery, velvety, foliage, Salvia leucophylla is a hardy Salvia species that is highly regarded for attracting small wildlife including songbirds, which love its tasty seed and the insects it attracts.

    Amethyst Bluffs, which can grow up to 10 feet tall and 15 feet wide, is the largest clone of this species in cultivation. In most gardens it can be counted on being 6 feet tall and wide. It has dark pinkish-purple flowers that bloom in spring.

    Amethyst Bluffs was collected in the wild, close to the ocean at Point Sal near Santa Barbara. It has a wider gardening range than the species, being cold hardy to at least 15 degrees F, it is worth trying in some Zone 7 areas. All this tough & hardy sage requires is well-drained soil and full sun.

    We would use this shrub in the landscape even if it didn't flower, because its long, fuzzy, gray-green leaves with serrated edges are so appealing. Aside from being a great large-scale ground cover that takes minimal care, it is a handsome screen or border plant for dry gardens.

    10.50

    OUT OF STOCK

  • Salvia mellifera

    (Black Sage or Honey Sage) One of the most common and fragrant native shrubs in Central California's Coast Ranges, Black Sage is ideal for dry gardens. Admirably adaptable, it tolerates soils ranging from the most marginal to ones that are loamy and provide excellent drainage. It is a survivor.

    The elegant long wrinkled leaves are powerfully aromatic. Its small white-to-lavender whorls of flowers, which bloom from summer into fall, are vital sources of nectar and pollen for honeybees and hummingbirds.

    Use this garden workhorse for a large scale groundcover, as a background planting for other more dramatic Salvias or as a vital plant in a wildlife garden. It likes full sun and is heat tolerant.

    Our strain is originally from seed collected at the far northern edge of its range, and is hardy to at least 20 degrees F.

    10.50

    OUT OF STOCK

  • Salvia munzii

    (Munz's Sage) Densely branched and fragrant, this drought-resistant shrub is named for botanist Philip Munz (1892-1974) of Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden and Pomona College. It is native to northern Baja California and the coastal mountains of San Diego.

    Large, lavender-to-violet flowers bloom from June through August amid the extremely aromatic, bright green foliage. Munz's Sage is widely adaptable, but excels in warm, semi-arid places that emulate its homelands. It is an attractive plant for native gardens or dry areas in USDA Zones 8 to 11.

    At 48 inches tall and wide, it is much larger than its relative Black Sage (Salvia mellifera), another powerfully aromatic plant of the coastal shrublands. Grow this heat-tolerant summer bloomer as a groundcover, screen or background planting. It also works well in a shrub border.

    We highly recommend Munz's Sage as do honeybees and hummingbirds.
    10.50

    OUT OF STOCK

  • Salvia pennellii

    (Tamaulipas Sage) Deep purple flowers, strong stems and attractively textured, gray-green foliage make this sage useful in the drought-resistant Salvia garden. Rising up to 5 feet tall and spreading feet wide, it is a fine backdrop.

    Although from Northeast Mexico, the botanical appellation "pennellii" indicates that this sage was named after botanist Francis Whittier Pennell (1886-1952) who specialized in the Snapdragon family and also conducted field work for the New York Botanical Garden in South America.

    This heat-resistant sub-shrub acts like a shrub in areas where winter temperatures seldom sink past about 25 degrees F. In colder areas, it grows like a herbaceous perennial that dies back after a frost.

    Use this plant at the rear of a border or in a dry wild garden.  It's a bit rowdy -- not terribly well mannered about sprawling -- but a vigorous grower. If you value drought resistance, heat tolerance and late-season bloom, this rare plant can do the job. We think it should be more widely grown.

    10.50
  • Salvia pomifera

    (Fruit Sage) Also known as Apple Sage, this is an extremely drought-resistant plant. Its common names come from the small round fruit-like galls that an insect creates on its branches on the island of Crete where it is native to dry slopes.

    The galls develop when a small gallfly, also called a gall wasp, invades the sage's branches -- something that also happens to Salvia fruticosa in its Grecian homeland. Some people eat these tart-flavored galls raw and others use them to create a sweet conserve. Herbalists also use the leaves as a folk remedy, such as in tea.

    However, in USDA Zones 8 to 10, this fragrant, heat-tolerant sage is simply an elegant shrub that must be grown in dry soil.  Excess water during the growing season leads to a rapid demise.  Salvia pomifera thrives in full sun, even in dry clay soils. Yet it prefers ground that drains well.

    From summer into fall, its pale white-to-lavender flowers attract honeybees and butterflies to dry gardens. Use it as a groundcover on a slope, as part of a shrub border or an edging for sunny pathways.

    This sage is not common in the United States. We are very happy to be able to recommend it to gardeners in hot, arid regions.

    10.50

    OUT OF STOCK

  • Salvia reptans

    (West Texas Grass Sage) Small clusters of true blue blossoms are spaced widely along the grass-like stems of this willowy West Texas mountain sage. Like so many American native plants, it is a key food source for honeybees, butterflies and hummingbirds.

    The scientific appellation repens refers to its creeping roots that spread like a mat-forming grass. This densely clumping, heat-resistant sage is spectactular during bloom time in late summer and fall. It is also cold tolerant and grows well in USDA Zones 5 to 9.

    As a stand-alone accent plant, West Texas Grass Sage is nothing short of spectacular. It also works well in perennial borders with its 4-foot-long flower spikes poking out amidst sages with denser foliage and floral displays.

    This sage grows best in full sun but is adaptable to afternoon shade. It prefers average watering based on local conditions, but also does well in dry gardens.
    10.50
  • Salvia spathacea 'Cerro Alto'

    (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.
     

    11.50

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  • Salvia x 'Bee's Bliss'

    (Bee's Bliss Sage) If you are looking for a California native sage to use as a groundcover, Bee's Bliss is a fine choice. Low-growing, widespreading and colorful, it is ideal for choking weeds.

    Long-blooming spikes of lavender-colored flowers rise a foot above the mat of fine, fragrant, gray-green foliage that is perennial in warm-winter areas.

    Honeybees and hummingbirds love this hybrid, which was selected in 1989 at the University of California Botanic Garden by California native plant specialist Roger Raiche. Berkeley artist and gardener Marcia Donahue named it.

    Bee's Bliss is likely a cross of California Purple Sage (Salvia leucophylla), which is also called California Gray Sage, with either Creeping Sage (Salvia sonomensis ) or Cleveland Sage (Salvia clevelandii).

    This is a superior, drought-resistant groundcover requiring full sun, good drainage and little-to-no water other than what it receives from nature. It's ideal for slopes and native-plant gardens. Claims of cold hardiness vary, but 18 degrees F is a safe bet even though lower temperatures have been reported.

    10.50
  • Salvia x 'Celestial Blue'

    (Celestial Blue Sage) Fast growing and adaptable, this sage is a chance hybrid between Cleveland Sage (Salvia clevelandii) -- also called California Blue Sage -- and California Rose Sage (Salvia pachyphylla). It may also be related to California Purple Sage (Salvia leucophylla).

    Celestial Blue has lovely royal blue flowers and purple bracts. Sun-loving, heat tolerant and drought resistant, it was discovered at Las Pilitas Native Plant Nursery in Southern California.

    This fragrant sage blooms and blooms throughout the heat of summer. Tolerant of everything but wet feet during summer, it withstands winter temperatures as low as 10 degrees F for a short time as well as lows in the 20-degree range for days. 

    Use this pretty plant in tough soils, on banks and in areas where watering is difficult or undesirable.  Butterflies, honeybees and hummingbirds love it, but deer leave it alone. This cultivar is one of the best Salvias for cut-flower arrangements.

    10.50

    OUT OF STOCK

  • Salvia x 'Purple Stem'

    (Purple Stem Sage) Deep purple stems and cobalt blue flowers with pronounced white beelines and dusky gray calyxes cause this sage to command attention.

    Aside from knowing that Purple Stem Sage was collected in the Northern Mexican state of Tamaulipas, little can be said with certainty about the taxonomy of this mystery hybrid Salvia. What we can say definitively is that it is easy to grow, flowers abundantly and does well in heat with limited water.

    Purple Stem Sage is a waist-high, upright subshrub that combines tender herbaceous stems with woody growth. It looks particularly pretty planted in front of silvery leafed sages.

    This drought-resistant sage does well in full sun to partial shade. It needs soil with good drainage and fits in nicely with California native sages.

    Highly recommended.

    11.50

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    New!
  • Salvia x 'Starlight'

    (Starlight Sage) This is a white-flowering hybrid of White Sage (Salvia apiana) and Black Sage (Salvia mellifera), two California natives often seen growing together in the wild. Similar to Black Sage, it blooms from spring into summer, attracting honeybees. In contrast, White Sage is a winter-to-spring bloomer.

    The foliage of Starlight Sage closely resembles the silvery whitish green of White Sage, but it doesn't have that plant's typical pink or lavender flowers. But similar to its parents, it is powerfully fragrant, drought tolerant and heat resistant.

    This compact, tough sage comes from the world famous Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden in Southern California, which is renowned for its collection of California native plants. 

    Highly recommended. Limited availability.

    10.50
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Ask Mr. Sage: Best Time to Plant Drought Resistant CA Natives

Ask Mr. Sage: Best Time to Plant Drought Resistant CA Natives


Category: Ask Mr. Sage
Posted: Sep 8, 2016 06:19 PM
Synopsis: Drought resistant California native sages thrive when planted in fall. It's easier for roots to become established when soil is warm, air temperatures are cooler and precipitation is increasing. Ask Mr. Sage is a regular feature of the Everything Salvias Blog and is based on calls and emails from customers.
Getting Started: Annual, Perennial and Shrub Sages

Getting Started: Annual, Perennial and Shrub Sages


Category: Getting Started with Salvias
Posted: Feb 5, 2015 06:11 PM
Synopsis: For beautiful floral display and refreshing greenery, every yard needs a combination of annual bedding plants, perennials and shrubs. Salvias provide a feast of landscaping possibilities. Flowers by the Sea explains all the different types of Salvias, including subshrubs, biennials and tree-like Salvias
In the Native Garden: 25 Colorful California Salvias Plus a Cousin

In the Native Garden: 25 Colorful California Salvias Plus a Cousin


Category: Everything Salvias Blog
Posted: Jun 17, 2014 08:22 PM
Synopsis: Native plants, including California's many indigenous sages, are like the boys or girls next door who were overlooked until outsiders discovered their good looks and other fine attributes. For the longest time, native species didn’t get respect in home gardening – a sizeable oversight considering that California alone has more than 5,500 native plants. Natives are roughly defined as species that were growing in America before European colonization. Flowers by the Sea cultivates hardy, drought-resistant California Salvias that are native to a broad swath of the West Coast ranging from Northern Baja to Southern Oregon. The California natives detailed here are all drought resistant and many tolerate heat. They are well suited to waterwise, xeriscapic landscapes, including dry gardens in which plants must survive despite almost no supplemental watering.
Sage Words about Wildlife: 4 Seasons of Hummingbird Salvias

Sage Words about Wildlife: 4 Seasons of Hummingbird Salvias


Category: Sage Words About Wildlife
Posted: Apr 25, 2014 05:51 PM
Synopsis: Regional differences in seasonal temperature and humidity affect the choice of Salvias to plant in hummingbird gardens. The varying seasons in which particular sages bloom and the part of the world where they originated also determine whether they attract hummingbirds. Flowers by the Sea offers suggestions based on regions and seasons.
Ask Mr. Sage: What Sages Grow in Clay Soils?

Ask Mr. Sage: What Sages Grow in Clay Soils?


Category: Ask Mr. Sage
Posted: Apr 2, 2014 05:51 PM
Synopsis: Ask Mr. Sage answers questions based on calls and emails that Flowers by the Sea receives, such as concerns about what Salvias will grow in clay soils. This article talks about specific plants for dry and wet clay conditions, how to improve soil drainage and planting on slopes in wet areas.

 

Fall Planting: 10 Top Butterfly and Hummingbird Favorites

Fall Planting: 10 Top Butterfly and Hummingbird Favorites


Category: Hummingbirds in the Garden
Posted: Oct 3, 2013 11:35 AM
Synopsis: Flowers that butterflies and hummingbirds favor are rich sources of nectar. But not all nectar-rich butterfly favorites are easy to access with long hummingbird beaks. Conversely, many flowers designed by nature to attract hummingbirds don't have the structure necessary for feeding butterflies or providing a perch. Here are ten Salvias and companion plants for backyard wildlife habitat that both butterflies and hummingbirds will enjoy.
Composing a Symphony of Pastel Salvias Including Elk Rainbow Sages

Composing a Symphony of Pastel Salvias Including Elk Rainbow Sages


Category: Everything Salvias Blog
Posted: Sep 10, 2013 08:23 AM
Synopsis: If you want to orchestrate a peaceful symphony in a flowerbed, planting a profusion of pastels is one way to do it. Pastels are lighter hues of bright primary and secondary colors. Although gardeners often visualize bright colors when thinking of Salvias, there are a number of pastels in the genus such as among the Jame Sage Hybrids (Salvia x jamensis spp.), including many in the new Flowers by the Sea Elk Rainbow Series.
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.
Eastern Tiger Swallowtail butterfly

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:


  1. Plant sages with platform-type blossoms. Unlike hummingbirds, butterflies can't hover while feeding. Sages with large lower lips and short nectar tubes, such as those in the Autumn Sage (Salvia greggii) and Mountain Sage (S. microphylla) group, give butterflies a place to stand while gathering nectar and pollen.
  2. Provide lots of color and sunlight. Butterflies need to stay warm and are attracted to a broad range of flower colors.
  3. Include native species. Insects and plants have co-evolved to meet each other's needs within their native regions. Butterflies prefer feeding on their local, native perennials and shrubs.
  4. Grow Caterpillar Host Plants. Butterflies need baby nurseries. Some are extremely picky about the plants on which they lay eggs, such as Monarchs, which need milkweeds (Asclepias spp.). The North American Butterfly Association is a good source of information about host plants.
  5. Don't use pesticides. They kill many beneficial insects, including butterflies.
  6. Keep your garden blooming. Plant a variety of Salvias based on bloom times as well as color and shape. Many flower from spring into fall. Others are prolific fountains of nectar for shorter seasons.
  7. Provide puddles. Butterflies stay hydrated by splashing in puddles located in sunny spots on the ground or raised up in shallow birdbaths. Include rocks for basking; butterflies need to dry and warm their wings.
  8. Plant butterfly gardens near shelter. Butterflies need to be able to flee into trees, shrubbery and woodpiles when predators appear and when windy or rainy weather occurs.
  9. Supplement plantings with rotten fruit. Some butterflies love the juice of rotting fruit even more than nectar.
  10. Read more. Our Everything Salvias Blog offers a number of articles about butterflies.

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.
It's dry out there

Xeric plants are excellent for water conservation. They grow well in dry gardens with little to no supplemental watering once established. In fact, overwatering can harm these plants, which are native to dry environments such as deserts and chaparral.

At Flowers by the Sea, we identify all xeric plants with a blue plant marker that warns against overwatering. Here are some tips for growing and understanding our xeric, or blue tag, plants:

1) In a humid region, you may find it difficult to grow plants native to semi-arid and arid environments. Yet xeric plants may succeed if you have a persistently dry area, such as under a roof overhang or in the shelter of a tree.

2) Xeric plants are excellent for locations far from garden hoses, such as along sidewalks -- areas often referred to as "hellstrips."

3) Shipping is hard on xeric plants, which suffer from confinement in small containers as well as boxes. You may see some mold, spots on leaves or withered foliage when they arrive. But xeric plants perk up with proper care while hardening off in partial shade before planting.

4) When amending soil before planting, remember that xeric plants not only need excellent drainage but also flower better in low fertility soil. Fertilize sparingly and use a mix with more phosphorous than nitrogen to encourage flowering and discourage lax overgrowth of foliage.

5) Organic matter, such as compost, is an excellent soil amendment for xeric plants, because it keeps their roots healthy by improving aeration and drainage.

6) When your xeric plants are established, water infrequently to encourage deep root growth and to avoid fungal problems. However, it's a good idea to gently spray dust off foliage about once a week.