This plant is available only in the spring
(Forest Fire Tropical Sage) Butterflies and hummingbirds love the abundant, fire engine red flowers of this mostly annual sage. It's a popular cultivar of one of the first Salvias used for ornamental purposes -- Tropical Sage. The flowers are dramatically framed by reddish black bracts.
A tender perennial in mild climates, this compact plant belongs in all gardens regardless of zone. Thomas Jefferson grew this drought-resistant, low-maintenance sage. Today, it is a favorite in borders and containers.
Plant this long blooming, spectacularly showy sage in full sun or partial shade wherever you need a big splash of color. Give it regular watering and rich soil.
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.
(Congo Cockatoo) Busy Lizzie this is not! Vivid candy-corn colors and nectar spurs arched similar to cockatoo beaks make Impatiens niamniamensis 'African Queen' an unusual sight.
Except for its glossy, deep green, veined leaves, you might not identify this unusual plant as being related to the flat-petaled Impatiens walleriana that began taking over the shade in home gardens beginning in the 1950s. Congo Cockatoo comes from the flashier side of the family.
This tall Impatiens has dark succulent stems. As the stems darken and thicken over time, it begins to look like a tiny tree.
Congo Cockatoo was first collected in South Sudan where the Niam-Niam tribe live and once practiced cannibalism. It's one of about 1,000 Impatiens species and is native to a broad swath of Central Africa from Kenya west to Cameroon. In the U.S., it grows best as a houseplant or in patio containers in warm-winter areas.
Similar to many members of its genus, this is a long-blooming plant. It tolerates heat, but needs lots of water as well as partial to full shade. For in-ground planting, this is one to consider if you live in a hot, humid area and have damp shady spots in your yard.
(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.
Tropical Sage is popular as an annual throughout America and as a perennial in warm zones. It is particularly beloved in the Deep South where it withstands heat, wind, heavy rains and excessive humidity to bloom prolifically season after season. Brenthurst is a coral-flowered cultivar with dramatic, dark bracts and bright green, heart-shaped leaves.
The Desert Botanical Garden of Houston reports that goldfinch enjoy eating the seed of Salvia coccinea. It’s also a favorite with hummingbirds, honeybees and butterflies. Fortunately, deer don’t have a taste for it.
Tropical Sage -- also known as Scarlet Sage -- is native to the American South, Mexico, West Indies and South America. It loves water, but is also drought tolerant; it withers then rebounds following dry spells. Brenthurst, which looks somewhat similar to Coral Nymph Tropical Sage, blooms from spring into fall. A petite plant, it rises up only 12 to 30 inches tall and spreads 18 inches wide. Use it in borders, containers and moist areas.
(Snow Nymph White Tropical Sage) Butterflies, hummingbirds and honeybees enjoy this award winner, which is an outstanding choice for pure white color from June to autumn. This type of Tropical Sage is generally the first to flower for us.
Snow Nymph is easy to grow and a great addition to annual flower beds or containers. It prefers rich, well-drained soil and regular watering. Plant it in full sun or partial shade as a tender perennial in mild climates and as an annual elsewhere. Reaching up to 36 inches tall and 24 inches wide, this sage is an ideal border plant. Use it where you want to create intense color and attract pollinators.
This sage belongs in all gardens regardless of zone. We consider it indispensable due to its long bloom, low maintenance and spectacular show, especially mixed with the bright red 'Summer Jewel Red'.
(Summer Jewel Pink Tropical Sage) Butterflies, hummingbirds and honeybees enjoy this Fleuroselect Gold Medal winner, which is an outstanding choice for bright pink & white color from June to autumn. This type of Tropical Sage is generally the first to flower for us.
Summer Jewel is easy to grow and a great addition to annual flower beds or containers. It prefers rich, well-drained soil and regular watering. Plant it in full sun or partial shade as a tender perennial in mild climates and as an annual elsewhere. Reaching up to 36 inches tall and 24 inches wide, this sage is an ideal border plant. Use it where you want to create intense color and attract pollinators.
One of our Top 10 Hummingbird Plants, this sage belongs in all gardens regardless of zone. We consider it indispensable due to its long bloom, low maintenance and spectacular show.
(Bolivian Sage) From early Spring to first frost, brilliant scarlet flowers on spikes up to 18 inches long adorn this Bolivian native in USDA Zones 9 to 11. Even if you live in a zone with colder winters, Bolivian Sage is spectacular as a bedding plant.
This plant has been called "Salvia coccinea on steroids." Bolivian Sage has smallish leaves but grows up to 8 feet tall in a single season. It blooms constantly from spring into fall, attracting butterflies, honeybees and hummingbirds yet deer pass it by.
The flowers of Bolivian Sage are particularly dramatic due to the long anthers reaching out of each blossom. This trait gives Bolivian Sage its scientific synonym Salvia exserta, which means extending outward.
Give this sage full sun to partial shade, regular watering and average to rich garden loam. Aside from being a floriferous screen or background planting, it works well in containers and cut-flower gardens.
(Venezuelan Red Sage) Purple stems and calyxes so dark that they almost look black contrast dramatically with the deep red-orange flowers of this South American beauty. This tall, spectacular sage has been in cultivation for decades but is still rare in gardens. We'd like to see that change.
The heavily textured leaves are large, growing about 4 inches long and 3 inches wide. They are hairy, which gives the foliage a silvery appearance. The flower spikes grow up to 2 feet tall.
This is a robust shrub that requires full sun to partial shade, average watering and rich, well-drained soil. Plant it in a prominent place so you can enjoy its long bloom throughout fall as well as the hummingbirds who use it regularly. At our farm its flowering synchronizes with the Dahlias. Garden uses include shrub borders, cut-flower gardens, background plantings and patio containers.
Rubescens refers to the reddish color of the flowers. This native of Venezuela was first described by Reinhard Gustav Paul Kunth in 1817.
Although we list this species for USDA Cold Hardiness Zones 9 to 11, we believe it may be hardy to Zone 8 winters if treated as an herbaceous perennial and well mulched.
(Variegated Scarlet Sage) Crimson flowers topping bright yellow foliage mottled with deep green make this one of the most spectacular Salvias we grow. There are numerous clones of this variety of the tender perennial throughout the U.S. nursery trade, but we consider ours to be the best, as it originated in our nursery.
Meet its needs and Salvia splendens van houttei 'Dancing Flame' is easy to grow. Plant it in partial to full shade where you can give it rich, well-drained soil and regular watering.
Although short and compact, this Scarlet Sage is dramatic in woodland gardens and annual flowerbeds as well as in patio containers and indoors as a houseplant. Outdoors, it is an annual in colder zones and a tender perennial in warmer ones where it can bloom 12 months a year.
Seasonally available and limited.
(Lighthouse Red Scarlet Sage) This Scarlet Sage is raring to bloom and often begins flowering when less than 6 inches tall. That is a major reason why it is the only one of the many truly red varieties of this species that we grow.
Here are more reasons for our choice: Lighthouse Red never stops blooming all season and is tough enough to grow in severe Texas heat, torrential Florida rainstorms and California humidity. Also, the tall clusters of large crimson flowers do remind us of a lighthouse --something you can see from a great distance.
Lighthouse Red is a tender perennial that may return yearly to the warmest parts of its range, which encompasses USDA Zones 9 to 11. Aim for success by providing partial shade, rich soil and ample water for this Brazilian native. However, this variety is more tolerant than most. A combination of morning sun and afternoon shade works well, but it can also flourish in full shade.
Grow this dramatic variety in a container or mass it for a spectacular color statement. We highly recommend it and so do hummingbirds.
(Texas Blue Sage) This is a cutie and a tough customer once established. It even grows well in caliche soils. Although Salvia texana typically blooms only during spring in Texas, it has a longer season stretching into fall up north.
Flower colors are in the blue range and include purple and violet. Our strain could be described as having the violet of Scarlet O’Hara eyes as well as pronounced white beelines. Its deep green, oblong leaves and bracts are covered with silky hairs so long that they look like eyelashes.
Although short at 12 to 24 inches tall, Texas Blue Sage is so charming that we like to crouch down to get a closer look. In Northern California, it thrives in full sun, but in Texas, it appreciates a bit of shade on the hottest days. This drought resistant Texas perennial does well in a dry garden, but also accepts regular watering in well drained soils.
It can be temperamental outside its native range, so please take special care with this species. Not a good plant for moist or humid parts of he country.
Grow it as a groundcover or in borders, native plant gardens and prairie-type landscapes. We agree with the butterflies, hummingbirds and honeybees that visit this beauty: What’s not to love about it.
(Big Swing Sage) With its large, cobalt blue flowers displayed on strong, wiry, branched stems, this eye-catching sage wins the FBTS "best of class" designation for being our top Big Leaf Sage (Salvia macrophylla).
Garden writer Betsy Clebsch developed Big Swing, which is a cross between Big Leaf Sage and Arrowleaf Sage (S. sagitata). Its flower spikes rise well above handsome foliage with large, furry, arrowhead-shaped leaves that look almost tropical.
Use this heat-tolerant plant to bring a lush look to a damp corner of your garden or in mixed patio containers. Give it rich, well-drained soil and plenty of water for a long bloom season.
Big Swing comes highly recommended by butterflies, but deer leave it alone.
Planting a hummingbird garden filled with nectar-rich, long-blooming Salvias aids preservation of hummingbird species that migrate each year throughout North America. It also gives you a front-row seat to a fascinating aerobatics show. Backyard islands of colorful sages are like gas stations for hummingbirds' long-distance journeys. Salvias can keep your garden whirring with the helicopter-like flight of hummingbirds from spring through autumn and -- in warm climates -- into winter.
Hummingbirds love Salvia (sage) nectar and are attracted to it by the bright colors of tubular sage blossoms. In particular, these little whirlybirds can easily spot flowers in the red spectrum, which is prevalent among sages. Here are some hummingbird gardening tips.
Fragrance as well as color attracts butterflies. However, they don't have noses. Instead, butterflies smell and taste with their antennas and feet. Here are some ways to attract them: