(Lipstick Autumn Sage) Similar to a little bit of lipstick on a pretty face, the rosy flowers of this hardy, heat-tolerant sage add a finishing touch to a perennial Salvia border. The creamy pinkish-red blossoms have a contrasting white throat and are cupped by rosy brown calexes on long spikes.
We can say with certainty that this variety never stops blooming all season from spring into fall. At 3 feet tall and wide, it makes an impressive color spot in the garden when planted as an accent. In a container, it's a good highlight on a sunny patio. Use it as a background planting in dry gardens.
Most Autumn Sage varieties, which are native to Texas, appreciate a bit of shade in the hottest areas. However, this one seems to love the heat and also tolerates the chill of Zone 6 winters.
Use Lipstick's color where it can be appreciated: next to yellows, soft pastel pinks or apricot/sunset shades. Place it where you can see it easily, because you will be rewarded with views of hummingbirds and butterflies. Honeybees also love to buzz the blossoms.
(St. John's Chamomile) June 24 is mid-summer and the day of the ancient summer solstice festival, a feast day which Roman Catholics eventually dedicated to St. John the Baptist. It's also peak bloom time in Europe for the bright orange flowers of the Bulgarian native Anthemis sancti-johannis or St. John's Chamomile.
Grow this plant, and you will be helping to protect an endangered species. St. John's Chamomile is endemic to the Balkan Mountains of Bulgaria, so that is its only place of origin. In the wild, its population is declining, because of habitat disturbance and its limited ability to reproduce.
Various chamomiles -- primarily the German ( Marticaria recutita) and Roman (Chamaemelum nobile or Anthemis nobilis) species -- are used in herbal teas. However, tea doesn't seem to be a historical use for St. John's Chamomile, which is mostly pretty to view and medicine for the spirit.
Butterflies and bees also greatly appreciate this long blooming member of the aster family (Asteraceae), which has the kind of flowers on which it is easy for them to perch while collecting pollen and sipping nectar.
This daisy-like plant with frothy green foliage is easy to grow. It doesn't need much to thrive -- just full sun, average watering based on your local rainfall and any soil that is well drained.
(Black Cherry Autumn Sage) Ripe Bing cherries come to mind when viewing the rich purple flowers of this full-sun sage that is adaptable to partial shade. Butterflies, honeybees and hummingbirds are drawn to its blossoms from spring into fall.
This is one of our hardiest plants in the Autumn Sage group, which is well known for adapting from hot summer to chilly winter weather and tolerating both drought and a bit of excess moisture.
Black Cherry's stems, as well as the calyxes cupping its blossoms, are such a dark purple that they are almost black. They contrast dramatically with the shrub's flowers and its densely branched, small, deep green foliage.
Only 24 inches tall and wide, this is one of the best small cultivars among our Southwestern Salvia greggii cultivars.
(Big Orange Autumn Sage) Standout color is the big draw for this large growing Autumn Sage. Collected in the mountains of Northern Mexico, it grows well in a wide range of climates, including the hot dry Southwest and the cool moist Pacific Northwest. A difficult color to capture in a photo, it is well described as a warm orange with a scarlet overlay.
The unusual color and large size of this cultivar make it a great accent plant, surrounded by deep blues or whites. Most people who see this one in person find it both attractive and unusual. And it is unusually long blooming as well!
(Heatwave Red Mountain Sage) Compact and small, this Mountain Sage is another fine groundcover for Southern California, the Southwest and Texas. Similar to Salvia microphylla 'Heatwave Glimmer', it not only survives but thrives in extreme heat.
Brilliant fuchsia red flowers contrast prettily with the sage's well-branched, dense green foliage. The leaves are heavily veined and aromatic.
At 2 feet tall and wide, this sage is also just the right for a container or edging a pathway. It looks lovely in a short shrub border and is ideal for dry native gardens. The Mountain Sage species is native to the semi-arid lands of the American Southwest and Mexico.
Although heat tolerant and drought resistant, this sage appreciates regular watering and can handle partial shade. It is adaptable and grows well in many kinds of soil as long as it gets good drainage. Butterflies and hummingbirds are drawn to it at bloom time, which is spring to fall with lightest production in summer. Deer, however, leave it alone.
For the record, the Heatwave Series of Mountain Sage also grows well in cooler regions and coastal climates as well.
(Hot Lips Sage) What a winner for fascinating flowers! Hot Lips Sage has solid red, solid white and two-tone combinations all on the same plant and often at the same time. The variations are random. You might say that this shrubby sage is mixed-up, but its confused coloring makes it highly desirable.
The flowers, which primarily bloom in spring and fall, flower more during cool weather and when regularly watered and fertilized. We have never determined any reason for its color variations or any conditions that standardize their pattern.
This Mountain Sage has a tightly branched form. Often, it is covered with so many flowers that they seem to outnumber the small, green leaves.
Depending on local climate, Hot Lips works well in either a perennial or shrub border. It's a fine addition to a dry garden. We love and highly recommend this mountain treasure from Oaxaca, Mexico.
(Red Velvet Mountain Sage) This is one of the most intense red-flowering variety of Mountain Sage we grow. Medium-sized flowers are profuse on this large, vigorous plant -- particularly in spring and fall. Dark stems and calyxes intensify the plant's drama along with glossy green foliage.
In a mixed group of Mountain Sage and the closely related species Autumn Sage (Salvia greggii), Red Velvet is always the first plant you notice.
Red Velvet can handle full sun, but particularly flourishes in partial shade. It even blooms in full shade. It needs well-drained soil and regular watering based on local conditions. At 48 inches tall and wide, it is ideal for a shorter screen or background planting, especially in a native garden. In the cooler part of its range, it works well in perennial borders. In warmer zones, group it with shrubby Salvias.
We highly recommend this fast growing, lovely plant. Thank you to Luen Miller of Monterey Bay Nursery for developing this exceptional Salvia microphylla.
(Two Tone Red Mountain Sage) The subtle two-tone combination of magenta and red flowers make you look twice at this long-blooming Mountain Sage. The blossoms, which fade to soft rose, are numerous from spring to fall. Large and dark green, the leaves have fuzzy undersides.
Mountain Sages normally slow down bloom production in summer, but not this variety. It is also one of the best Salvia microphylla for less-than-perfect growing conditions; it thrives where smaller and more delicate varieties languish. It grows rapidly and is strong enough to be used as a large-scale groundcover for slopes and other problem areas.
At 48 inches tall and wide, Two Tone Red Mountain Sage is ideal for use as a screen or background planting. It also looks pretty in borders. Depending on local growing conditions, it may be an herbaceous perennial in one area and a shrub in another.
Give it full sun to partial shade and any kind of well-drained soil. Although it does well with regular watering, Two Tone Red is ideal for dry gardens. it is a hummingbird magnet!
(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.
(John Whittlesey Sage) Hardy, vigorous and long blooming, John Whittlesey Sage is a hybrid of D'Arcy's Sage (Salvia darcyi) -- a native of Mexico -- and Mountain Sage (S. microphylla), which is native to the American Southwest and Mexico.
The long flowering season of this sage makes John Whittlesey Sage a garden favorite; it begins bursting with salmon-red blooms early in the growing season. You can grow it as a bedding plant in areas with winters cooler than those of USDA Zone 7. In warmer zones, this tidy sage is an herbaceous perennial.
In coastal areas, John Whittlesey Sage is a great stand-in for the plethora of little-leaf species -- Mountain Sage, Autumn Sage (S. greggii )and Jame Sage (S. x jamensis) -- that often struggle with humidity.
Hummingbirds love the bright red flowers of this full-sun, heat-tolerant plant that makes a tall but effective groundcover. However, it is generally used in mixed borders.
Horticulturist Mike Thiede of Chico, California, developed this sage and named it for John Whittlesey of Canyon Creek Nursery in Oroville, California.
(Scarlet Spires Sage) This is a brilliant cross between the sturdy D'Arcy's Sage (Salvia darcyi) and the beautifully colored 'Raspberry Delight' Littleleaf Sage (Salvia microphylla 'Raspberry Delight').
Sometimes children exceed the success of their parents, and that is the case with Scarlet Spires. This is one of our top hummingbird plants as well as one of our best Salvias for cut-flower gardens. It is a long-blooming choice with foot-tall spikes of large, scarlet flowers and attractive gray-green foliage.
Drought tolerant and dramatic, it is ideal for massing, mixed borders or patio containers. Give it full sun and well-drained soil.
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.