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Salvia dolomitica


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  • Xeric Care

Salvia dolomitica
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Blue Tag Plant
This plant is sensitive to overwatering.

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Description

(Pilgrim’s Rest Pink Sage) Spring into summer, this heat-tolerant sage from South Africa produces lilac and white blossoms with profuse, fragrant, gray foliage. It’s the burgundy calyxes, which turn a rusty pink after the flowers blossom, that give this sage part of its common name.

“Pilgrim’s Rest” refers to the Pilgrim’s Rest River, village and surrounding area in Mpumalanga Province (formerly the Eastern Transvaal) of East-Central South Africa. It is a national historic area named for its gold-mining “pilgrims” during the country’s 1873 gold rush.

The scientific name of this heat-tolerant sage is related to its frequent habitat on soils heavy with dolomitic rock. This sage is native to Mpumalanga and, to the north, Limpopo Province. Winters are mild there. In America, it grows well in USDA Zones 9 to 11. We find that its average mature size is 24 inches tall and wide. However, Plantz Africa notes that it can reach up to 6 feet tall in its native lands.

Give Salvia dolomitica full sun and well-drained soil. Although it is drought resistant and works well in dry gardens, it flourishes with summer watering that is average based on your local conditions. This species makes a lovely container plant, groundcover, shrub border or edging.

Plantz Africa notes that this is primarily a bee-pollinated species in South Africa. Give it time, and your local honeybees will likely keep it buzzing. Deer, however, don’t like the taste of most sages, so they likely will pass it by.

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Common name  
Pilgrim's Rest Pink Sage
USDA Zones  
9 - 11
Size (h/w/fh)  
24"/24"/24"
Exposure  
Full sun
Soil type  
Well drained
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
Heat tolerant
Heat tolerant

Garden Uses

Container plant
Container plant
Medicinal herb
Medicinal herb
Fragrant
Fragrant

Growing Habit

8 - 11
8 - 11
24 inches tall
24 inches tall
24 inches wide
24 inches wide
Ground cover
Ground cover
Shrub
Shrub

Water Needs

Average water
Average water
Drought resistant
Drought resistant

Blooming Season

Spring blooming
Spring blooming
Summer blooming
Summer blooming

Wildlife

Deer resistant
Deer resistant

Colors

Salvias and their companion plants pop with color. Sweep your eyes from top to the bottom here for an impression of this plant's color combinations. The first row displays blossoms from primary to less dominant shades and includes any contrasting throat color. The second tier is the main hue of leaf-like bracts or calyxes supporting the flowers. Foliage (one or two colors) leafs out in the bottom row.
Primary color - Light Purple
RHS# 76A



Secondary color - Pale Yellowish Green
RHS# 4D






Throat color - Pale Yellowish Green - RHS# 4D




Tertiary color - Strong Reddish Purple
RHS# 72B



Bract color - Dark Pink
RHS# 182C

Leaf color - Grayish Yellowish Green
RHS# 194B



Learn more about how we analyze plant colors
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.

  • Salvia azurea

    (Prairie Sage) Native to a large part of the central United States, this perennial Salvia is a beloved wildflower, delighting us with large cerulean blue flowers. Hummingbirds and butterflies love it as well.

    In full sun with good soil, this sage provides a spectacular floral display from late summer through fall.  We like to plant it among other perennials and shrubs, where it can poke its head out here and there.  It's a reliable addition to any garden designed to attract pollinators and the human eye.

    10.50
  • Salvia broussonetii

    (Stiff Canary Island Sage) The large, light green, furry leaves of this water-wise Salvia are beautiful. The plant's lush foliage and stiff, somewhat stocky stems contrast nicely with its branched spikes of small, delicate-looking, white flowers.

    Native to the sea cliffs of two of the Canary Islands off the coast of Northwest Africa, this compact Salvia is shrubby in frost free areas and a herbaceous perennial elsewhere. Its velvety foliage pairs well with Salvia hians and Salvia forsskaolii for a fabulous summer show.

    10.50

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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.

    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.

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  • Salvia merjamie

    Leaf-like, fuzzy, violet bracts surround the 1-inch-long flowers of Salvia merjamie, which is native to the East African highlands from Ethiopia to Tanzania as well as Yemen and grows on Mount Kilimanjaro.

    Bloom time is from spring to summer. Some varieties have flowers of such a pale blue that they almost appear cream colored, whereas others have darker blue blossoms.

    The pebbly, basal foliage is dark green and has finely scalloped leaves. Overall, the plant has a tidy symmetry. Growing no more than 12 to 24 inches tall and 24 inches wide, this herbaceous perennial works well for container plantings, groundcover and dry garden flowerbeds. Honeybees and hummingbirds are attracted to it. So are medical researchers who are studying the plant's potential for producing anti-microbial agents to fight bacteria, including Staphylococcus aureus.

    Heat tolerant, drought resistant and sun loving, this sage is found at altitudes of 6,000 to 13,000 feet in the wild. It grows in grasslands, along the edges of forests, on rocky slopes and even in cultivated fields that are lying fallow. In America, it is well acclimated to USDA Zones 7b to 11 where it grows in almost any soil that drains well. Dry conditions are okay, but it prefers regular watering.

    Mint Sauce is one of its common names, because many who have smelled it say it has a strong mint aroma. The Maasai tribe appears to dislike the odor of the plant in the wild. They call it Naingungundeu, which reportedly means it smells like a rat. We like its fragrance, but don’t know enough about rats to say whether there is any au de rodent about it.
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  • Salvia muirii

    (Wildesalie) Dominant white beelines mark the violet-blue flowers of this heat- and drought-tolerant sage from South Africa. Dramatic burgundy bracts surround the flowers, which contrast handsomely with dense, fine leaved, olive-green foliage of Salvia muirii.

    Its Afrikaans, this plant is called Wildsalie, which means “wild Salvia.” Often referred to as having a medicinal mentholatum-like fragrance, it is the focus of cancer research due to the powerful cytotoxins in its foliage.

    Wildesalie was first recorded in 1915 by Scottish physician John Muir, who lived in South Africa for much of his life. As far as we know, Dr. Muir was unrelated to American naturalist John Muir, who was also from Scotland.

    A tidy 24 inches tall and wide, this shrubby perennial looks pretty in borders and containers and as groundcover or edging for pathways. It grows well in USDA Zones 7b to 11. Give it full sun, regular watering and well-drained soil of almost any sort. You can expect a pretty show of flowers from spring into fall.
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  • Salvia namaensis

    (Namibian Sage) Leaves with deeply dentate margins are rare among Salvias. The bright green, toothed foliage of this African sage gives it a loose, feathery look that is dotted all over by tiny, light blue flowers throughout summer.

    This short, shrubby perennial is ideal for hot, dry areas, because it requires little water to survive. Its strong fragrance is reminiscent of some California native Sages and makes it a pleasant groundcover or container plant that doesn't attract deer.


    In its native Namibia and on the East Cape of South Africa, this plant thrives in rocky limestone soil.  However, Namibian Sage isn't picky about soil as long as it is well drained. We find this sage easy to grow when planted in full sun in a warm area and watered sparingly.

    Although recommended for USDA cold-hardiness zones 9 to 11, this tough plant may be hardy to Zone 8 if treated as a herbaceous perennial that dies back to ground in winter. Mulch it during cold weather and make sure its soil isn't soggy.
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  • 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

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  • Salvia scabra

    (Coastal Blue Sage) Native from the sandy shores to brushy slopes of South Africa's East Cape, this sub-shrub sage is noted for growing easily in gardens elsewhere. Its lovely purplish-pink flowers have a subtle blue sparkle in bright sun and bloom spring to fall.

    Sub-shrubs are perennials with woody stems as well as soft herbaceous growth. This one has heavily lobed, lyre-shaped leaves. They are a deep green, which is unusual for Salvias from South Africa where velvety hairs often make foliage appear silvery and also help conserve moisture. Scabra refers to the roughness of this plant's leaves.

    In its homeland, the fuzzy flower spikes of Coastal Blue Sage grow up to 36 inches above the clumping, basal foliage. In USDA Zones 8 to 11, you can expect heights of 18 to 24 inches with a spread of 24 inches. Give this sage full sun, any well-drained soil and average watering based on local conditions.

    Use this lovely little sage as a small-scale groundcover, container plant or front-of-border selection. It grows particularly well in dry gardens. This plant deserves wider use.
    10.50

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  • Salvia somalensis

    (Somalian Mountain Sage) Large, powder-blue flowers combine with 4-inch-long, furry, lime-green leaves -- a winning combination at bloom time from summer into fall. The flowers are unusual, because they generally grow on the branchlets and the terminal end of each stem.

    This sage from the high-elevation forest lands of Somalia grows well in full sun to partial shade. Although drought tolerant and a good choice for dry gardens, it thrives in normal garden conditions of average, well-drained soil and average watering based on local conditions.

    Somalian Mountain Sage looks pretty in perennial borders and cut-flower gardens where it can grow up to 5 feet tall and 3 feet wide. Container planting also works well and limits growth.

    Uncommon in US gardens, Salvia somalensis is the subject of research for medical and cosmetic use. However, this is a lovely, long-blooming sage and deserves to be planted more widely in the landscapes of USDA Zones 8 to 11.
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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.

    11.50

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  • 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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  • 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.

    10.50

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  • Salvia chionophylla

    (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.

    10.50
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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.
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.