(Alice's Sage) We have John Fisher of Australia to thank for this fascinating intraspecific cross, which he named after his daughter. It really looks to be intermediate between the parents, and the fragrance of the leaves is divine.
Salvia greggii is a warm season blooming hardy perennial - S. dorisiana is a tender winter blooming shrub. This plant has some cold tolerance, but should be protected outside of Zone 9. We find it does best in rich soil in partial but not deep shade. Overwatering is not advised, but neither is dryness. If you are looking for something unigue and with a strong fruity fragrance, this variety is for you.
This year we are growing one in a container by the door, so as to be able to enjoy the fragrance every time we pass.
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.
(Bat-Faced Cuphea) A tiny snout-like face emerges at the end of this Cuphea's tubular flower and beneath two red and purple petals shaped like bat ears. "Too cute!" is a typical response to these whimsical flowers that attract butterflies, honeybees and hummingbirds.
Lance-shaped, mid-green leaves cover the slender stems of this petite subshrub, which has both woody and soft herbaceous growth. Most Cupheas are native to Mexico, Central America, South America and the Caribbean. In the U.S. they are perennial in areas with warm winters.
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. While some Cupheas have no petals, bat-faced varieties have either 2 or 6.
Cuphea x purpurea is a hybrid of another Bat-Faced Cuphea (C. lavea) and Creeping Waxweed (C. procumbens), both of which have 6 petals.
This long-blooming magnet for pollinators grows well in full sun to partial shade. In areas with chilly winters, it works well as a houseplant or seasonal bedding choice. Outdoors, Cuphea x purpurea is excellent for edging, container planting and suppressing weeds as 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.
(Speckled Dwarf Pineapple Lily) The ‘freckles’ on this petite South African plant are the reddish-purple speckles on its long, lance-shaped, olive-green leaves. It flowers from summer to fall. Shaped somewhat like a pineapple with a top-knot of green leaves, the spikes of short, rose-red flowers rise from the center of the plant's fleshy foliage.
Speckled Dwarf Pineapple Lily is about 10 inches tall to 14 inches wide. It’s heat tolerant, easy to grow in USDA Zones 7 to 10 and a fascinating selection for a border or pathway edging. In cooler zones, you can grow it as a seasonal bedding plant.
Eucomis are fragrant, water-loving succulent bulbs. They do well in full sun or partial shade. Give them average to ample water and rich soil that drains well. Their leaves may wilt a bit during hot midday temperatures, but they plump up again by the following morning.
(Orchid Glow Sage) Sages can be such tough plants withstanding heat and drought. Yet so many, including Salvia 'Orchid Glow' have delicate looking blossoms. This one has large, bright magenta flowers with white beelines.
Orchid Glow is a compact sage developed by Suncrest Nurseries in Watsonville, California. It is part of Suncrest's Western Dancer™ series, which contains hybrids of Southwestern species including Mountain Sage (Salvia microphylla) and Autumn Sage (Salvia greggii). Suncrest Salvias are bushy, sun-loving plants.
Orchid Glow's broad oval leaves are mid-green. The foliage of Suncrest Salvias differs from one hybrid to another in color and leaf shape. However, all have larger leaves than those of Autumn Sage. They also are veined like those of Mountain Sage.
Similar to other members of the Autumn Sage-Mountain Sage group, Orchid Glow needs little watering when established. Until then, provide average watering based on local conditions. This may mean no watering at all if your region has regular rainfall during the planting season.
(Frieda Dixon Pineapple Sage) Most varieties of Salvia elegans have bright red flowers. But Frieda Dixon Pineapple Sage has softer salmon-pink blossoms set against mid-green, lance-shaped leaves.
Unlike its shorter relatives, S. elegans 'Tangerine' and S. elegans 'Honey Melon', this is a much later blooming variety of Pineapple Sage.
Jon Dixon found this accidental hybrid in his Woodside, California, greenhouse around the early 1980s. Woodside is south and west of San Francisco near the Pacific coast where winters are mild but summers are dry and often hot.
In The New Book of Salvias, Betsy Clebsch writes that Dixon moved the pretty sage to his garden to see how it would do in a less protected environment. Dixon and his friends who test-gardened the hybrid discovered that it maintained an attractive, upright form.
Pineapple Sages don't all smell like pineapple, but this one does. It is pleasingly fragrant. Similar to other types of S. elegans, it is edible. Cooks often use Pineapple Sage leaves and flowers in breads, pound cake and tea.
When in bloom, Frieda Dixon is tall and attractive to butterflies, bees and hummingbirds. Deer avoid it despite its tender foliage. Frieda Dixon is a subshrub, which means that it combines soft herbaceous foliage and woody growth.
Give this long-blooming sage full sun, average watering and rich, well-drained soil. Afternoon shade is also helpful. Frieda Dixon is pretty in borders and as a screen or in a cut-flower garden.
(Gravid Sage) This tender perennial from Michoacán, Mexico, has large, rich magenta flowers that hang from the arching branches in clusters up to 12 inches long. Growing up to 5 feet tall, this sage offers an unforgettable display when in bloom.
"Gravid" means "with child," and a plant loaded with it's full inflorescence does bring a pregnant woman to mind. Grow this dazzling sage against a wall or trellis. Give it full sun or partial shade as well as rich, well-drained soil and ample water.
Consider Gravid Sage for border, background and container plantings.
(Roseleaf Sage) A late but glorious bloomer, Roseleaf Sage starts producing hot pink blossoms in winter and continues into spring -- growing more spectacular every day -- unless cut down to the ground by hard frost.
In the hottest climates, Roseleaf Sage requires a bit of deep shade. It appreciates rich soil and regular watering. This is the largest variety of the species that we cultivate. 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.'
(Violet Calyx Sage) Here's another abundantly blooming sage from the cloud forest slopes of Chiapas, Mexico. Violet beelines mark the lower lip of the crimson blossoms, which are so numerous that it can be difficult to see the foliage at times.
Bloom time is autumn into winter in Zones 9 to 11. The 2-inch-long, netted leaves have purple undersides, making this plant attractive even when not in bloom. Well branched and compact, it has an attractive fountain shape that makes it work well as an accent plant. Violet Calyx Sage also looks good in a large patio container. Give this water-loving species rich, well-drained soil and full sun to partial shade.
One last bit of buzz: Butterflies, honeybees and hummingbirds -- especially ones hanging out for the winter in warm climates -- love this plant. Fortunately, deer don't.
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.
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.