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Salvia confertiflora


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Salvia confertiflora




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Description

(Red Velvet Sage) Reaching up to 18 inches tall, the floral spikes of this exotic looking Salvia are crowded with small, velvety, orange-red blossoms from mid-summer to late autumn. Its large, dark green, pebbly leaves are beautiful in their own right, making this one of our favorite sages.

Red Velvet Sage is native to Central and South America. In mild climates, it can grow up to 5 feet tall and 4 feet wide. So sheltering it from the wind -- by staking or situating it near plants that provide support -- is necessary to prevent breakage of the heavy, red tinged stems.

We have found that deep, weekly watering, an occasional light feeding of multipurpose fertilizer and heavy pruning in late winter or early spring keep this dramatic plant looking its best. One reward for this care is excellent stems for cut flower arrangements.

Details

Product rating
 
(2 reviews)  

In stock
2 item(s) available

Common name  
Red Velvet Sage
USDA Zones  
9 - 11
Size (h/w/fh)  
60"/36-48"/60"
Exposure  
Full sun to partial shade
Soil type  
Well drained
Water needs  
Average
Pot size  
3 1/2 inch deep pot
Container plant?  
Yes
Our price
10.50

Options

Quantity (2 available)




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

Garden Uses

Container plant
Container plant
Cut flower
Cut flower

Growing Habit

8 - 11
8 - 11
60 inches tall
60 inches tall
36-48 inches wide
36-48 inches wide
Shrub
Shrub

Water Needs

Average water
Average water

Blooming Season

Fall blooming
Fall blooming
Winter blooming
Winter blooming

Wildlife

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.

  • Deppea splendens

    (Chiapas Golden Fuchsia) Cool, moist and partially shady -- those are the conditions that this tall, rare shrub loves. Once native to the mountain cloud forests of Mexico's southernmost state, Chiapas, Golden Fuchsia in 1986 became extinct in the wild and now is primarily grown by botanical gardens.

    Flowers by the Sea is one of the few commercial sources for this plant.

    The glowing, yellow-to-orange trumpet flowers sometimes grow more than 2 inches long. They dangle in clusters from long, wiry, burgundy peduncles -- the stemlets that attach the flower clusters to the shrub's branches. The clusters look a bit like modern, chandelier-style lights. As the shape of the flowers indicates, this is a hummingbird favorite.

    In the April-June 2000 issue of Pacific Horticulture, Huntington Gardens Curator Kathy Musial says that botanist Dr. Dennis Breedlove in 1972 discovered what would be identified more than a decade later as member of the shrub and tree genus Deppea. Breedlove found his mystery plant in a canyon on the south slope of Cerro Mozotal, a mountain in southern Chiapas.

    Musial notes that Breedlove never found the plant elsewhere in the wild. Luckily, he and Brad Bartholomew were able to collect seed in 1981, because the stand of Golden Fuchsia disappeared within five years when the land was cleared for farming.

    Although the foggy summers of San Francisco's climate appeal to Golden Fuchsia, a partially shady environment helps it to thrive at Southern California's Huntington, which aided the original distribution of the plant. Our plants are from a variety at San Francisco's Strybing Arboretum.

    Golden Fuchsia isn't a member of the Fuchsia genus, which is a member of the evening primrose family (Onagraceae). Deppea species are members of the coffee family (Rubiaceae). Give it rich, well-drained soil and plenty of water.

    This is a challenging plant to cultivate, but it is beautiful and in danger of totally disappearing. Helping it to survive is rewarding.

    15.00
  • Salvia cinnabarina

    (Cinnabar Sage) Think of this plant as Pineapple Sage on steroids. It grows 5 feet tall and can be twice as wide in a good spot and bursts with large, furry, cinnabar red flowers all winter. Our overwintering hummingbirds adore it. This sage is hard to forget once you see it in full bloom.

    Coming from the cloud forests of Southern Mexico, this species is a great choice for woodland-style gardens where it can spread out and poke its long stems up here-and-there. In partial shade, it is a rambler that forms an attractive screen. Cinnabar Sage responds well to feeding and watering, but is not delicate. It is well worth growing if you live in a mild climate.

    11.50
  • Salvia dorisiana

    (Fruit Scented Sage)  This native of Honduras has it all -- big, light-green leaves that are fuzzy soft and large magenta-pink flowers that smell intoxicating and bloom from winter into spring. Fruit Scented Sage is one of the strongest and most deliciously scented plants we have encountered. As with so many Salvias, it has a fascinating history.

    This tender perennial is not named after the daughter of a mythological Greek titan. Instead, it is named for Doris Zemurray Stone (1909-1994), an American archeologist and ethnographer who focused on Central America. She was the daughter of a different kind of titan, Russian immigrant Samuel Zemurray, who founded the United Fruit Company as well as a school for agricultural research in Honduras called Escuela Agricola Panamericana. Botanist Paul C. Standley, who named Salvia dorisiana, worked at the school. He introduced the plant to cultivation in the late 1940s.

    At our oceanside nursery, Salvia dorisiana over-winters with minimal cold damage and springs back with new growth from its lower stem in the years when we get a prolonged frost. It prefers full sun and rich, well-drained soil.

    Hummingbirds are drawn to Fruit Scented Sage, but deer don't favor it. Great in containers, this is a good container plant for patios if you live in an area colder than Zones 9 to 11.
    10.50
  • Salvia eizi-matudae

    (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.

    10.50
  • Salvia gesneriiflora 'Mole Poblano'

    (Mexican Chocolate Scarlet Sage) Although this is a sister of Salvia gesneriiflora ‘Tequila’, it is shorter, more floriferous and has a longer bloom time from winter to spring. Similar to Tequila, Mole Poblano has bright red flowers and dark purple calyxes.

    Botanists from Southern California’s Huntington Gardens were on a plant exploration trip to Mexico when they found Salvia gesneriiflora on the Volcan de Tequila in the Province of Jalisco.

    One seedling that the researchers developed from the parent plant became the cultivar Tequila, which grows up to 10 feet tall and wide. They grew Mole Poblano – or Mexican Chocolate – from a second seedling. It reaches 6 feet tall and wide.

    Mole Poblano is attractive as a screen or background planting. It works well in shrubby borders as well as dry gardens where honeybees and hummingbirds enjoy its rich nectar. It grows well in a variety of soil types as long as they drain well. Although it likes regular watering, it can get by on less.

    Give this sage full sun in an area screened from wind. When heavily laden with blossoms, its woody branches break in heavy winds. By sheltering it, you also shelter hummingbirds that overwinter in your yard and need nectar.
    10.50

    OUT OF STOCK

  • Salvia involucrata 'Hadspen'

    (Hadspen Roseleaf Sage) If you plant this sage in a mild-climate area where hummingbirds overwinter, you'll likely find hummers zinging back and forth among its magenta pink blossoms from fall through spring.

    In the hottest climates, Hadspen Roseleaf Sage requires a bit of deep shade. It appreciates average to rich soil and regular watering. This is the largest variety of the species that we cultivate. Sometimes growing more than 6 feet tall and 4 feet wide, it makes a fine screen or background planting, such as at the back of borders.

    This is our largest Roseleaf Sage and is of uncertain origin. It may have been collected in Mexico by New Mexico's Mesa Garden nursery or it may be a garden hybrid. This is the plant recognized by this name in the horticultural trade.

    Plant this Salvia where you want to make a bold statement.  We like to pair it with Salvia mexicana varieties for contrasting color and foliage.
     

    10.50

    OUT OF STOCK

  • Salvia involucrata var puberula 'Hidalgo'

    (Hidalgo Roseleaf Sage) The earliest flowering, hardiest and strongest growing cultivar of its species, Hidalgo Roseleaf Sage starts blooming in June on the Northern California coast. It continues into spring, becoming more spectacular every day, unless cut down by hard frost. In our mild climate, it never stops blooming some years.

    This Salvia involucrata requires a bit of high shade in the hottest climates. It also appreciates rich soil and regular watering. Hidalgo differs from Salvia involucrata 'Bethellii' in having stems that are more lax and an earlier bloom time.

    Thanks go to North Carolina Salvia guru Richard Dufresne, who collected this plant in Mexico.

    Growing up to 6 feet tall and 4 feet wide, it makes a fine screen or background planting, such as at the back of borders.

    Use this sage where you want a bold, strong statement. We like to pair it with Salvia mexicana varieties for contrasting color and foliage and the ornamental grass Stipa arundinacea 'Sirocco.'

    10.50
  • Salvia karwinskii

    (Karwinski's Sage) From moist mountain areas in Mexico and Central America, this rugged, winter-blooming shrub is found in oak or pine forests at altitudes of 4,000 to 8,000 feet. This may account for this winter bloomer producing a few bright red flowers during short periods of freezing weather with temperatures as low as 20 degrees F.

    Speaking of color, the flowers of Karwinski's Sage vary from rose red and scarlet to brick red. Hummingbirds love them all. Our clone is a clear, hot, orange red.

    The plant's leaves are pebbly and large -- up to 6 inches long -- with cream-colored hairs on the underside. Size is another dramatic aspect of this plant, which can grow up to 10 feet tall and 4 feet wide. Due to this generous size, it helps to plant Karwinski's Sage in a spot where it is protected against chill and winds. A south-facing wall is ideal. It makes a good screen or background planting, but can also be grown in a large patio container.

    To encourage upright, compact growth, periodically remove some of the flowering branches. Or you can prune the plant down to a few active growth nodes once a year at the end of its winter flowering season when it appears there will be no more frost.

    This sage is named for German botanist Baron Wilhelm Friedrich Karwinski von Karvin who explored Mexico in the early 19th century.

    10.50

    OUT OF STOCK

  • Salvia karwinskii 'Red Form'

    (Karwinski's Sage) From moist mountain areas in Mexico and Central America, this rugged, winter-blooming shrub is found in oak or pine forests at altitudes of 4,000 to 8,000 feet. This may account for this winter bloomer's ability to produce some bright, brick-red flowers even during short periods of freezing weather with temperatures as low as 20 degrees F.

    Speaking of color, the reds of Karwinski's Sage vary, but hummingbirds love them all. This variety was originally collected by the San Francisco Botanical Garden.

    The plant's leaves are pebbly and large -- up to 6 inches long -- with cream-colored hairs on the underside. Size is another dramatic aspect of this plant, which can grow up to 10 feet tall and 4 feet wide. Due to this generous size, it helps to plant Karwinski's Sage in a spot where it is protected against chill and winds. A south-facing wall is ideal. It makes a good screen or background planting, but can also be grown in a large patio container.

    To encourage upright, compact growth, periodically remove some of the flowering branches. Or you can prune the plant down to a few active growth nodes once a year at the end of its winter flowering season when it appears there will be no more frost.

    This sage is named for German botanist Baron Wilhelm Friedrich Karwinski von Karvin who explored Mexico in the early 19th century.

    10.50
  • Salvia leucocephala

    (White Headed Sage) One of the most visually stunning members of the genus, this large growing, tender, winter blooming species from the mountains of Ecuador will turn every head with its furry white calyxes and brilliant magenta red flowers.

    We've found this rare plant does well with full sun, rich well drained soil and ample water.  It does not seem to like overly moist conditions, and excelent drainage is a key factor, as is moderately warm growing conditions.   As it is a winter bloomer and quite tender, please make sure that you can supply the appropriate conditions for this species before ordering.  We rate it as "Challenging" to successfully grow.  It may be adapted to other cultural regimes, but there is so little experiance with this plant in horticulture that we are sticking with what we know to be sucessful.  It is found in dry shrubland with sub-surface water sourcesin the wild, something to consider when making plant care decisions.

    The IUCN lists this specias as "Vulnerable", the classification just below "Endangered".

    Many thanks to our friend Dr. Richard Dufresne of supplying us with our original stock of this special plant.

     

    15.00

    OUT OF STOCK

  • Salvia tuerckheimii

    (Dominican Sage)  From high elevations in the mountains of the Dominican Republic, this beautiful Sage is rare and unique.  The large, bold, deep green leathery leaves are a perfect backdrop to delicate orange flowers.  The fist to overegrown zucchini sized inflorescens is apple green with red highlights, with the flowers emerging over a long period.  In or out of bloom this is a distinctive and most attractive plant.

    Dominican Sage grows into a large evergreen shrub.  Since it is winter blooming and tender, it is most suitable for the frost free southern states.  Tolerant of almost any well drained soil, it thrives in rich soil with adequate water.

    We are happy to offfer this stunner for the first time in 2017.

    14.50
    New!
  • Salvia x 'Margie Griffith'

    (Margie Griffith Sage) Salvia x 'Margie Griffith' is a big, purple-flowered beauty with glossy green, ribbed foliage. It feeds hummingbirds year round down South and on our coastal, Northern California farm where winter temperatures are moderate.

    Donna L. Dittmann, collections manager at Louisiana State University's Museum of Natural Science created this sturdy hybrid, which is said to have Salvia mexicana (Mexican Sage) and Salvia involucrata (Roseleaf Sage) parentage. Perhaps it's the Roseleaf influence that gives it a touch of shade tolerance.

    Dittmann shared her plant with hummingbird expert Nancy L. Newfield, who shared it with us. The sage is named for their late friend Margie Griffith. The three of them became deeply connected through the Louisiana Ornithological Society and wildlife gardening.

    Salvia x 'Margie Griffith' is a perennial at the cooler end of its rage and a shrub in warmer zones. Hummingbirds find it tasty, but deer avoid it. Give it average watering and rich, well-drained soil.

     

    10.50
    New!
  • Salvia x 'Mr. Jules'

    (Mister Jules Hybrid Sage) Long, dark, velvety stems contrast dramatically with the deep red flowers of this hybrid, spreading sage from the University of California, Santa Cruz, Arboretum.

    The parent plants are Mexican Winter Sage (Salvia holwayi) -- a superior, spreading groundcover or sprawling shrub -- and Cardinal Sage (S. fulgens), which is an upright shrub with large, deep red flowers.

    Not well known in the nursery trade, this is a fine choice for great winter color and hummingbird habitat in mild climates.  It grows well in full sun to partial shade when given average watering based on local conditions.

    We consider Mister Jules one of the best sages for covering large areas and providing a bright spot during the dark days of winter. Its flower spikes are also pretty additions to cut-flower bouquets.

    Highly recommended.

     

    10.50
  • Salvia disjuncta

    (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.

    10.50
  • Salvia madrensis

    (Forysthia Sage)  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. From fall until frost -- or into spring in mild winter areas -- it will reward you with buttery yellow flowers that make this shrub look like a Forsythia from a distance. But get up close and you will notice that it has roughly textured, heart shaped leaves as well as thick, square stems.

    You can grow 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.

    10.50
  • Salvia x 'Mulberry Jam'

    (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.

    10.50
  • Salvia wagneriana 'White Bracts'

    (Pink & White Wagner's Sage) Instead of pink, leaf-life bracts, this variety of Wagner's Sage has white bracts surrounding the hot pink flowers. It blooms from November to March on our coastal Northern California farm where it feeds Anna's hummingbirds all winter long.

    Come snow, ice or temperatures as low as 20 degrees, it keeps on blooming.

    This tall Salvia is a sub-shrub, which means that it has both woody and soft herbaceous perennial growth. It comes from the cloud forests of Southern Mexico and Central America where it grows at elevations of up to 6,500 feet.

    Averaging about 6 feet tall and wide, Wagner's Sage can easily grow 10 feet tall and wide if conditions are right. You can keep it more compact by pruning in mid to late summer before the large, prolific blossoms emerge on foot-long flower spikes. They rise up amid equally dramatic, bright green leaves that are triangular and soft as felt.

    Give it space, rich, well-drained soil and average to ample watering in full sun to partial shade. Plant it at the back of shrub borders and cut-flower gardens. This is an ideal plant for moist woodland gardens in USDA Zones 8 to 11.

    The species was named by 19th century plant explorer Helmuth Polakowsky (1847-1917) of Germany, who specialized in Central American flora. Although we aren't certain, it is likely that he named it for his somewhat older contemporary Moritz Wagner (1813-1887), a friend of Charles Darwin and a botanist who is especially well known for his exploraration of Costa Rica.

    PLEASE NOTE: Our best picture of this plant in bloom disappeared during a computer snafu. This picture doesn't do justice to the contrast between the flowers and their ethereal white bracts. So here is a link to a picture in the Cabrillo College Salvia collection.

    Highly recommended by honeybees!

    11.50

    OUT OF STOCK

  • Cuphea x 'David Verity'

    (David Verity Cigar Plant) Cuphea flowers are hummingbird magnets, especially the orange-red blooms of the David Verity hybrid. The blossoms have been likened to cigars due to their tubular shape and hot coloring that ends with a slightly flared and fringed yellow opening instead of petals.

    Sometimes the blossoms of David Verity and other cigar-shaped Cupheas are called firecracker flowers. Butterflies also love them.

    San Francisco's Strybing Arboretum notes that the floral structure of a Cuphea often is referred to as a calyx flower, because calyx and flower are one rather than being separate.

    David Verity's blossoms are larger than those of most cigar Cupheas. Lance-shaped, blue-green leaves cover the slender stems of this subshrub, which has both woody and soft herbaceous growth.

    It's thought that the heat-tolerant David Verity is a cross between Cuphea ignea and Cuphea micropetala. Overall there are 260 species of Cupheas and most are native to Mexico, South America, the Caribbean and parts of the American South.

    David Verity is long blooming in moderate climates where it grows well in full sun to partial shade. In areas with cooler winters, it works well as a houseplant or seasonal bedding choice. Outdoors, it is a fine edging or container plant as well as a groundcover. Although it thrives with average watering based on local conditions, this is a water-loving plant and can serve as a solution in moist areas of your yard.

    10.50
Average customer rating:
 
(2 reviews)  



2 Most useful customer reviews (see all reviews):
Lynn C
Sep 29, 2016
One of my fav salvia. Grown near SFO, the plant is a vigorous grower. It is usually about 7ft tall in the summer and fall, and pruned down to 1-2ft in the winter.
The plant has a slightly "off" smell, but not too offensive.
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Mr. Richard Fisher
May 30, 2015
planted about 2 months ago. no water other than fog drip (quite a bit) after first few weeks. The plant is really handsome (people mistake it for a hydrangea occasionally) but still only 2' tall. It hasn't flowered yet but stalks seem to be forming. I'm hopeful.
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Using Salvias in Flower Arrangements

Using Salvias in Flower Arrangements


Category: Everything Salvias Blog
Posted: Oct 8, 2014 08:04 AM
Synopsis: You don’t have to be a florist to create eye-catching designs with dramatic Salvias. By planting the right Salvias and complementary flowers in your garden as well as gaining a little knowledge about color combinations, well-balanced compositions, simple tools and cut-flower preservation, you are on your way.
Sage Words About Wildlife: Climate Change Alters Hummingbird Migration

Sage Words About Wildlife: Climate Change Alters Hummingbird Migration


Category: Sage Words About Wildlife
Posted: Oct 1, 2013 06:41 PM
Synopsis:

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.

Salvia Small Talk: Why Birds Love Red Flowers

Salvia Small Talk: Why Birds Love Red Flowers


Category: Salvia Small Talk
Posted: Jun 4, 2013 07:39 AM
Synopsis: Color, shape and smell are characteristics that affect whether a bird or insect will dive into a flower in search of food. Whereas bees seem not to notice red at all, it is the go-to color that most birds look for at mealtime.
Salvias Down South: 15 Thirsty Salvias for Florida

Salvias Down South: 15 Thirsty Salvias for Florida


Category: Salvias Down South
Posted: Jan 21, 2013 11:08 AM
Synopsis: Flowers by the Sea grows Salvias that are already popular in the Southeast as well as others we would like to introduce to gardeners seeking thirsty flowering plants that can also adjust to dry spells. Many are fine choices for Florida hummingbird gardens. Our suggestions are organized into categories based on moisture tolerance – average and ample -- as well as sun requirements.
Spring Inventory

Spring Inventory


Category: News
Posted: Mar 19, 2012 08:42 PM
Synopsis: Good news for all "font-style: italic;">Salvia lovers (and everyone else who loves unusual plants). We are now starting to list our Spring inventory, which means larger quantities and wider availability.
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.