(Winter Mexican Sage) Call it the Snow Queen! From fall through spring, this graceful, colorful sage blooms through 20 degree F weather despite snow and ice. It has lovely, triangular, dark green leaves and profuse clusters of tubular, cinnabar-red flowers that puff out in the center.
in our coastal, Northern California garden, it often blooms from October through April and sometimes shoots up a few flower spikes in summer. Winter Mexican Sage is native to a wide territory from Chaipas, Mexico, to Guatemala where it grows at 3,000 to 9,000 feet in mixed pine and oak forests. It particularly appreciates locations with morning sun and afternoon shade. Use it as a mid-height groundcover, border plant or woodland garden highlight.
In colder climates treat this sage as a subshrub that dies back to the ground similar to an herbaceous perennial. Here on the edge of Zone 8 and 9, it is a shrub that can become large unless pruned. However, it's well worth the time spent trimming.
(Marwin Garden Sage) Long blooming, this widespreading hybrid sage attracts hummingbirds and human attention with its large, coral pink flowers that are supported by green and white bracts. Marwin Garden Sage is a pleasure to grow, because of its reliability as well as its beauty.
Compact and well branched, the foliage features mid-green leaves. At our Northern California farm, this beauty begins flowering in winter, which is ideal for our resident Anna's Hummingbirds that stay year round.
Although related to Wagner's Sage (Salvia wagneriana) -- a familiar plant in Mexican patios -- this is a smaller plant that does well in containers as well as in the garden. The rest of this plant's parentage is uncertain.
Somewhat slow growing, Marwin Gardens Sage needs rich, well-drained soil and ample water until well established. Give this shrubby sage full sun to partial shade.
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.