Available April to July only.
(Cardinal Sage) Aptly named for its cardinal red, 2-inch-long flowers that glisten in the autumn sun, this full-sun sage blooms from fall into winter. Hummingbirds love it, but deer resist its charms.
Cardinal Sage is another Salvia of uncertain nomenclature. Some sources identify it as Salvia fulgens, while others say it is Salvia cardinalis or S. fulgens var. cardinalis.
In any case, this lovely late bloomer is a plant to appreciate during a mild winter when other species have finished showing off. Growing up to 5 feet tall, it makes a fine screen.
Cardinal Sage is native to elevations up to 11,000 feet in Central Mexico. It is a shrub in Zones 8 and 9 or an herbaceous perennial in Zone 7. Plant it in a warm spot with fertile, well-drained soil. Although it loves water, it also does well in dry conditions. We highly recommend this adaptable beauty.
(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.
(Hidalgo Roseleaf Sage) The earliest flowering, hardiest and strongest growing cultivar of its species, Hidalgo Roseleaf Sage starts blooming in June on the Northern California coast. It continues into spring, becoming more spectacular every day, unless cut down by hard frost. In our mild climate, it never stops blooming some years.
This Salvia involucrata requires a bit of high shade in the hottest climates. It also appreciates rich soil and regular watering. Hidalgo differs from Salvia involucrata 'Bethellii' in having stems that are more lax and an earlier bloom time.
Thanks go to North Carolina Salvia guru Richard Dufresne, who collected this plant in Mexico.
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.'
(Gray Roseleaf Sage) The University of California at Berkeley developed this hybrid from Karwinskii's Sage (Salvia karwinskii) and a variety of Roseleaf Sage (Salvia involucrata v. puberula) collected in Mexico by North Carolina nurseryman Richard Dufresne.
On the Northern California coast, this sage begins blooming in early fall and continues through early spring until we perform annual pruning. The flower spikes are up to 2 feet long and covered with dozens of tubular magenta blossoms 2 to 3 inches long. They are a staple in our winter cut-flower bouquets.
This plant combines the strong points of both parents and, similar to both species, is adaptable to full sun and partial shade. The pairing has resulted, in part, in lush, grey foliage. Gray Roseleaf Sage is a good choice for screens, shrubby borders and background planting.
Hummingbirds and humans highly recommend this sage, but deer do not.
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.