(Judean Sage) Native to the mountains of Judea in Israel, this dark violet flowered, perennial sage is unique among the Palestinian Salvias - as a woodland native it grows well in partial shade. It is a tough, drought-resistant plant with deeply cut & hairy foliage which forms impressive mounds of color in the spring and early summer.
Judean Sage thrives in poor yet well-drained soil and doesn't require much water. We have found it to be durable, but it does not tolerate wet, cold winters.
This plant is relatively new to North American horticulture, and will surely become more popular as it's charms become better known.
(Closed Sage) Yellow flowers are rare among Salvias. So this elegant European sage is greatly appreciated. It is an herbaceous, summer-flowering perennial that has become naturalized in eight states in the U.S. The common name refers to its flowers self-pollinating before opening.
Closed Sage is an introduced species in Alabama, California, Georgia, Maryland, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Virginia where it survives cold winter zones as well as ones with mild weather.
Although it requires well-drained soil, this drought-resistant sage is a candidate for less-than-perfect growing conditions. It thrives on neglect and full sun. Use this adaptable sage in wild parts of the yard where it will attract honeybees and hummingbirds. It also adds a wildflower touch to border plantings.
The nomenclature of the species is confusing. S. cleistogama seems to be the proper name for what was previously S. verbenacea. We think it is a different plant. In fact, one grower calls it the "Mystery Sage."
(Balkan Sage) Violet-blue whorls of flowers and plentiful, fuzzy, basal leaves that reach an impressive length of 18 inches are two notable features about this hardy, herbaceous perennial, which is native to the Southeastern Balkan Peninsula.
Balkan Sage is found in coniferous forests, meadows and slopes from Bulgaria to Turkey's Black Sea coast. However, it is named after the 19th century Finnish plant collector Peter Forsskål, who collected botanical samples further south in Saudi Arabia.
Although deciduous in areas with cold winters, it blooms about nine months a year for us on the Northern California coast beginning in summer. Following a brief winter dormancy, it returns reliably every spring, clumping in a way that makes it look like Hosta from a distance. Yet, unlike that woodland plant, it grows well in full sun as well partial shade. It is a fine choice for a lightly shaded garden or border and is happy in the acid soil under conifers.
Give it soil with average fertility, occasional water and enough shade to promote lush growth. Your reward will be large flowers with lovely white and yellow bee lines attractive to hummingbirds and honeybees.
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.