(Art's Blue Mealy Cup Sage) Salvia farinacea 'Art's Blue' is a dusky violet-blue beauty with strong white "eyes" that are beelines helping winged pollinators find their way to the plant's nectar and pollen.
Please bear with us, because tales of plant parentage can get a bit complicated similar to a "house that Jack built" story. Our introduction is a descendant of a bicolor Mealy Cup Sage developed by horticulturist Art Petley of Austin, Texas.
Art received his bicolor Mealy Cup Sage from Armand Hufault, former president of the Williamson County Chapter of the Texas Native Plant Society, who found it in the wild north of Austin near the Williamson County town of Jarrett. Hufault grew it from a cutting. Art has since discovered wild stands of the plant at various locations throughout the county.
The plant made its way north to an Albuquerque, New Mexico, garden, where we were lucky enough to receive some seed. We raised many seedlings from which we selected this sturdy plant as well as a bicolor violet blue and white mate that we call Salvia farinacea 'Art's Bicolor'.
Perhaps we should refer to these plants as "Art and Armand's Bicolor Mealy Cup Sages," but that seems like a bit of a mouthful. Plus Art Petley never asked us to name our introductions after him. Let it be.
Petley is known for his work with daylilies and his discovery of Salvia 'Silke's Dream' -- an accidental cross of Salvia darcyi and Salvia microphylla -- in an Austin, Texas, garden.
Hufault is an avid collector of Texas native plants and operates the wholesale native plant nursery Armand's Salvias and Perennials.
Both Art's Bicolor and Art's Blue are relatively cold hardy when compared to other Mealy Cup Sages.
The "mealy" part of Mealy Cup Sage refers to the floury look of the calyxes cupping the species' flowers. The calyxes are covered with white hairs. Also, the Latin word farinacea concerns flour.
Native to Texas, New Mexico and northern Mexico, Mealy Cup Sage has become a mainstay of gardens worldwide. Tidy, easy to grow, long blooming and undemanding, this species belongs in almost any sunny garden.
Due to its popularity, varieties of the species abound. These include many European cultivars, which aren't quite as heat and drought resistant as American types. Flowers by the Sea selects only the prettiest and toughest to cultivate.
Butterflies and honeybees find Art's Blue irresistible, but deer aren't so fond of it. Ah well, you can't satisfy everyone.
These are species that produce woody stems, but die back to the ground in the winter in all but the warmest climates. In warm winter areas these can become woody shrubs, but they generally benefit from the following pruning methods.
Pruning is both an art and a science. It takes practice, experience and learning from your mistakes to become a proficient pruner. The pruning information about this plant should be considered as a guideline for getting started. Your particular climate, soils, watering and fertility schedules, sun exposure, space requirements and weather are all factors that influence how and when you choose to prune. We’re providing a starting place for you, and over time you will learn the particularities of this plant in your garden. Don’t be afraid to get started – Salvias, in general, are quick to rebound if inappropriately pruned.
Deadheading – the removal of spent flowers, is a practice that will always benefit the plant’s health and appearance. This can be done at any time. Pruning involves removal of entire stems of spent growth. Becoming "spent" means that flowering stems stop blooming and begin going to seed.
(Velvet Centaurea) Lacy, velvety foliage gives this tough shrub its common name. The globular, thistle-like flowers are lavender to fuchsia pink and contrast elegantly with the silvery green of the leaves.
Centaurea gymnocarpa thrives with little water. It tolerates heat and drought, is long blooming and attracts honeybees and butterflies but not deer. This shrub can grow tall. It is a treasure for the dry garden or wildlife friendly landscape as well as container planting.
The Centaurea genus is also known as (Centaurium . Some of its species are used in folk remedies, including Centaury (Centaurium erythraea. The genus name comes from Greek mythology, which says that a centaur discovered the medicinal uses of Centaury. Gymnocarpa is Latin for "naked fruit" and concerns the plant's seed.
Velvet Centaurea is native to Italy and requires full sun. Sometimes it's called "Dusty Miller" due to its dusty look. However, that name is more frequently applied to Jacobia maritima, a much shorter bedding plant with heavily lobed, but less lacy foliage and tiny, yellow flowers.
Please note that this is the garden variety of Centaurea gymnocarpa and not the wild species.
(Texas Craglily) Echeandia texensis shines in many ways. First, the delicate looking yet tough flowers are a rich shade of gold. Other stellar traits include its ability to tolerate clay soils, heat, a moderate amount of winter cold and drought.
This perennial's common name might mislead you into thinking it is a canyon plant. However, according to the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, it's native to clay soils in the dunes and arroyos of the Rio Grande River Valley of southern Texas. This includes locations on the Gulf Coast.
Sometimes it is called Mexican Hat Lily due to the flowers looking a bit like upside down, floppy sombreros with tall crowns.
The scientific name is also a bit confusing. Although some sources refer to Texas Craglily as belonging to the lily family (Liliaceae), others say it belongs in the asparagus family (Asparagaceae). Instead of bulbs, it grows from corms.
Despite its drought resistance, E. texensis thrives with average watering based on local conditions and is known to adapt well to the moister climate of the Southeast.
Finally, it's worth knowing that this is an excellent butterfly plant that does its best to discourage deer.
(Arizona Blue Sage) We are so impressed with this top-performing, drought-resistant ground cover that we have rated it best of class. Arizona Blue Sage is adaptable to a variety of shady conditions and blossoms so abundantly that it seems to have as many rich blue flowers as it has leaves. It is native to dry, shaded areas in mountain canyons in Arizona, New Mexico and Texas.
This softly mounded plant also works well as a patio container plant. Although it grows well for us in dense shade, it does particularly well in spots where it receives morning sun and afternoon shade. Providing regular watering based on local conditions is best, but this hardy perennial tolerates shortages. It also can withstand a wide temperature range, including extreme summer heat and the chill of Zone 6 winters when mulched. It does not do well in very warm and humid areas unless in a very well drained location with good air circulation.
(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.
(Texas Wedding White Autumn Sage) This is our best white-flowered Autumn Sage. It is compact, hardy and blooms abundantly. We love it as a contrast to the generally bright colors of its group. Texas Wedding seems to always be blooming, with massive displays in spring and fall.
The flowers are small but so profuse that they seem to outnumber the leaves.
This variety of Salvia greggii makes a great, small-scale groundcover when each plant is spaced two feet apart. Although it tolerates some shade -- especially in hot climates -- it needs full sun. Good drainage is another necessity, but it doesn't require much watering.
Texas Wedding is reliably hardy to 10 degrees F, but can tolerate colder temperatures with mulching. Here's some other good news: Deer don't much care for it.
(Azure Hybrid Sage) Despite its name, the flowers of this tiny hybrid aren't really blue. They are a light purple. Due to its size, long bloom time, heat tolerance and drought resistance, Salvia x 'Mesa Azure' is a fine groundcover for areas where summers are hot and dry.
This sage may be related to Salvia microphylla and S. greggii, which are native to the American Southwest as well as Mexico. Its parentage is a mystery. However it displays many traits from those plants, including being an excellent choice for dry or native gardens.
Garden uses include short borders, flower beds, edging for pathways and containers. Azure Mountain blooms in waves from spring to fall in USDA Zones 7 to 9. Hummingbirds enjoy its nectar.
Aside from unusually large flowers, Azure Hybrid Sage is dense with large, wrinkled, heavily veined leaves. The foliage is so handsome that the plant is attractive even when out of bloom.
For the record, this sage also grows well in cooler climates, such as coastal areas. Limit watering, because it likes soil on the dry side. Provide a location with full sun to partial shade.
(Big Pitcher Sage) As its scientific name indicates, this sage has very large flowers. They are almost two-tone, changing from deep violet to a light blue or white at their base where they are cupped by dusky purple calyxes.
The tall, sprawling stems of this sage are just right in mixed plantings. That is how they grow in the wild from Texas to Nebraska on the Great Prairie.
This heat- and cold-tolerant sage is a superb choice for the native or wild garden. It's also at home in the back or middle of more refined borders. Anywhere you put it, expect bees, butterflies and hummingbirds to buzz in for its pleasures.
Although drought tolerant, this perennial sage appreciates regular watering. It is adaptable from USDA Zone 4 to 9 where it blooms from late summer into fall. Give it full sun, but this plant will tolerate some partial shade. It handles almost any kind of soil that drains well.
Finally, you need to know that this is another sage with naming challenges: Is it a variety of Salvia azurea as some say? We think it is significantly different, and is a species on its own. In any case, we love its bright blue blooms, especially when poking up amid shrubby sages such as Salvia regla.
(Orange Mountain Sage) This is the reddest of the Salvia regla species and the most floriferous. Side by side with the other varieties, Huntington Form is a bit taller and has darker flowers.
The rich reddish-orange of the blossoms almost seems to drip off the rumpled, blue-green foliage. Bloom time is summer and fall in USDA Zones 7 to 10. This full-sun plant looks especially attractive with yellow or white flowering Salvias.
A native of the Chisos Mountains in Southwestern Texas and of Mexico from Coahuila to Oaxaca, this sage is powerfully heat tolerant. Although it appreciates average watering based on local conditions, the species does well in waterwise gardens. Give it well-drained soil and grow it as a screen, tall shrub border or background plant. It grows 5 feet wide and tall! This is a favorite in native gardens and dry gardens.
Hummingbirds love this species, which has become an important nectar source for their southbound, autumn migration to the tropics. It's almost impossible to keep this plant in stock when in bloom.
NOTE: Theses are slow to propagate, and generally take at least 8 weeks for an appropriate plant to be grown.
(Jame Orange Mountain Sage) North Carolina plantsman Richard Dufresne collected this fine variety of Salvia regla near the village of Jame, in central Mexico where the western and eastern Sierra Madre mountains meet.
This fragrant, compact Salvia regla is densely clothed with the largest leaves of any of the varieties we grow. It also has 3-inch-long, persimmon-orange flowers that bloom from summer into fall. Dark leafed Heuchera look handsome planted with this bright sage.
Salvia regla is native to the Chisos Mountains in Southwestern Texas and of Mexico from Coahuila to Oaxaca. It is powerfully heat tolerant. Although it appreciates average watering based on local conditions, the species does well in waterwise gardens in USDA Zones 7 to 10. Give it full sun and well-drained soil. Use it as a screen, tall shrub border or background plant. It grows 5 feet wide and tall! This is a favorite in native gardens and dry gardens.
Hummingbirds love this species, which has become an important nectar source for their southbound, autumn migration to the tropics. Butterflies and honeybees are also frequent visitors. So it's almost impossible to keep this plant in stock when in bloom.
NOTE: Theses are slow to propagate, and generally take at least 8 weeks for an appropriate plant to be grown.
(Orange Mountain Sage) Coahuila, Mexico, is home to many fine Salvias, including the smallest variety of Salvia regla that we grow. This one averages about 3 feet tall and wide.
This fragrant, compact Salvia regla has tidy foliage and large, orange flowers that bloom from summer into fall in USDA Zones 7 to 10. The absolutely unique characteristic of this variety is its bright orange bracts that even turn the heads of longtime Salvia enthusiasts.
A native of the Chisos Mountains in Southwestern Texas and of Mexico from Coahuila to Oaxaca, Salvia regla is powerfully heat tolerant and fragrant. Although it appreciates average watering based on local conditions, the species does well in waterwise gardens. Give it full sun and well-drained soil. Grow it as a screen, shrub border or background plant. This is a favorite in native gardens and dry gardens.
Hummingbirds love this species, which has become an important nectar source for their southbound, autumn migration to the tropics. Butterflies also visit. So it's almost impossible to keep this plant in stock when in bloom.
NOTE: Theses are slow to propagate, and generally take at least 8 weeks for an appropriate plant to be grown.
(Great Orange Mountain Sage) Densely branched with small, dark green leaves, this variety of Salvia regla also features creamy orange flowers with white markings.
Queretaro Form stands out in mixed plantings of the species and other sages. It is also one of the longest blooming varieties. As its name indicates this variety comes from the mountainous state of Queretaro, Mexico. Overall, the species is native to the Chisos Mountains in Southwestern Texas and in Mexico from Coahuila to Oaxaca.
This full-sun sage is powerfully heat tolerant. Although it appreciates average watering based on local conditions, it does well in waterwise gardens. Give it well-drained soil and grow it as a screen, shrub border or background plant.
Queretaro Form is refined enough to be used in a foundation planting and tough enough for a native plant or dry garden.
(Cedar Sage) Scarlet flowers abound from spring through summer on this small, mounding, woodland sage that is native to Texas, Arizona and Northern Mexico. Grow it as a small scale groundcover or mix it with other shade-loving sages in a perennial border or along a path.
Native to Cedar, Juniper and Oak forests, this sage prefers partial shade and well-drained, acidic soil rich in organic matter. It does particularly well when mulched with the type of leaves found in its native forests. Although it likes regular watering based on local conditions, Cedar Sage does well in dry gardens.
This is a petite plant that only spreads about 12 inches wide. Yet if you plant a number of Salvia roemeriana in the right conditions, the plants will self seed and form colonies. We have never found it to be invasive.
(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.
(Hidalgo or 7-UP Plant) I love to ask people what the smell of these leaves remind them of. Almost no one gets it on the first try, but when I say, "7 UP", their eyes light up, heads nod and the resounding answer is, "Yes!"
This mounding small perennial is native to shady mountain canyons in Arizona and Texas. The flowers glow on tall spikes above the furry, light green above, silvery underneath leaves. This is an outstanding perennial for shady spots. It can stand drought when established, but does very well with regular garden water. The apricot-coral flowers age to a reddish tint, and are quite long lasting. This plant blooms for us April - October!
This is another Salvia-like perennial that deserves much greater prominence in our gardens.
(California Drought Action Pack) The drought in Texas 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. As much as possible we'll use Texas native plants.
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.
NOTE: This package is not available year-round,
Some of the plants
We also include a detailed Planting Guide, to insure your success.
We offer this for the Fall planting season only, now through November 1st, with free shipping anywhere in Texas. We suggest that you plant these between October 1st and November 15th, the easiest time to establish plants in the garden. 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 Texas residents only.
In Spanish, Mejorana means "marjoram”. Similar to oregano-type Marjoram – another Mint family member -- this sage is used to flavor meat dishes. Our cultivar, which is native to Texas and Mexico, has lovely bluish-purple flowers that bloom summer to fall amid fragrant, fine, furry green foliage.
Don’t give this tough sage fertilizer or too much water. It is adjusted to rocky, gravely limestone soils such as those of the Edward’s Plateau in South Central Texas. However, it can handle a medium loamy soil. In nature, it grows on brushlands, including hillsides and thickets.
At 72 inches tall and wide, this heat-tolerant, drought-resistant plant makes a fine screen or border in a dry garden or a woodland setting with dry shade. It also does well in full sun. Butterflies, hummingbirds and honeybees love its nectar. Although deer have been known to nibble on Mejorana, it is not one of their favorite foods.
One of Mejorana’s other common names is Shrubby Blue Sage, but there are also white- and purple-flowering varieties. Salvia ballotaeflora is also known botanically as S. ballotiflora . Rock Sage (S. pinguifolia) is a purple-flowering relative that is native from Arizona into Texas and is sometimes referred to as S. ballotaeflora or S. ballotiflora .
(Red Texas Firecracker) Hummingbirds and butterflies will thank you with frequent visits if you add this long-blooming plant to your wildlife garden. Its bright red trumpet-type flowers with long, narrow petals are wells of delicious nectar.
Red Texas Firecracker -- sometimes called Flame Anisacanthus -- is a subshrub, which means that it combines soft, herbaceous perennial foliage with some woodiness. It has slender, lance-shaped, dark green leaves. Trim it back in late winter for better form and fuller spring growth.
Although related to the Bears Breeches genus (Acanthus), Red Texas Firecracker lacks the thorny sepals of those plants. Anisacanthus is Greek for "without thorns." Wrightii means that this native Texas species is named for American botanist Charles Wright (1811-1885) who, beginning in 1837, spent 15 years collecting extensively in Texas.
This is a mid-height, heat-tolerant species that loves full sun. Red Texas Firecracker resists drought, but thrives with average watering based on local conditions. For pyrotechnical color in the garden, mix it with the orange flowers of Texas Firecracker (Anisacanthus wrightii) and the pumpkin orange blossoms of Golden Flame Texas Firecracker ( Anisacanthus quadrifidus var. wrightii).
Don't worry about deer; this plant isn't to their taste.
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:
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.