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Salvia leucantha 'Midnight'


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Salvia leucantha 'Midnight'




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Degree of Difficulty
Easy
Degree of Difficulty
This plant is easy to grow in a variety of conditions.

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Description

(Midnight Mexican Bush Sage) The typical Mexican Bush Sage has purple flowers surrounded by furry white bracts. This clone from the San Francisco Peninsula has deep purple flowers, calyxes and stems. It is a good groundcover due to a mounding habit, smaller size and generous amounts of flowers.

Similar to other Mexican Bush Sages, Midnight is pleasantly fuzzy. The hairiness helps protect this full sun, heat-tolerant sage against drought. Use this compact plant in shrubby borders and large containers. It is also a fine addition to a cut-flower garden, blooming from summer into fall. 

Deer avoid this sage, but honeybees, hummingbirds and butterflies are drawn to it.

Details

Product rating
 
(1 reviews)  

In stock
3 item(s) available

Common name  
Midnight Mexican Bush Sage
USDA Zones  
8 - 11
Size (h/w/fh)  
36"/36"/48"
Exposure  
Full sun
Soil type  
Well drained
Water needs  
Average
Pot size  
3 1/2 inch deep pot
Container plant?  
Yes
Our price
10.50

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Quantity (3 available)




Here are some guidelines for success with this plant in your garden.
Click on an individual icon for more detailed information.

Exposure

Full sun
Full sun
Heat tolerant
Heat tolerant

Growing Habit

8 - 11
8 - 11
36 inches tall
36 inches tall
36 inches wide
36 inches wide
Perennial
Perennial

Water Needs

Average water
Average water
Drought resistant
Drought resistant

Blooming Season

Fall blooming
Fall blooming
Summer blooming
Summer blooming

Wildlife

Honeybees
Honeybees
Butterflies
Butterflies
Deer resistant
Deer resistant
Hummingbirds
Hummingbirds

Colors

Salvias and their companion plants pop with color. Sweep your eyes from top to the bottom here for an impression of this plant's color combinations. The first row displays blossoms from primary to less dominant shades and includes any contrasting throat color. The second tier is the main hue of leaf-like bracts or calyxes supporting the flowers. Foliage (one or two colors) leafs out in the bottom row.
Primary color - Vivid Purple - RHS# 80A



Bract color - Vivid Violet
RHS# 87A

Leaf color - Moderate Yellowish Green
RHS# 138A


Second leaf color - Very Pale Green
RHS# 192B



Learn more about how we analyze plant colors
See other plants with similar colors
See other plants with split complementary colors
See other plants with triadic colors
Ready for some pruning?

Deciduous or semi-evergreen, soft stem Salvias

These are species whose stems never develop a woody character and that either die to the ground or loose leaves and become unsightly at the end of a growing season. This group includes both hardy and tender types. Many of the tender forms are grown as annuals in cold winter areas.

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.

Growing Season Pruning

During the spring and summer, you can completely cut to the ground any stems that have finished blooming and are becoming unsightly.

In mild climate areas, growth can be so rapid that the entire plant becomes messy and spent mid-way through the season. In this case, it can be cut back close to the ground – given a short “haircut”. The result usually is fresh, vigorous new growth and another round of flowering.




Dormant Season Pruning

At the end of the growing season or after the first frost the spent stems can be completely removed, cut to the ground. Often these are a tangled mess, and one can get great satisfaction by cutting them all off. This also facilitates good garden sanitation, and will help to control pests over the winter.


Check the Views from the Garden section of our Everything Salvias Blog for videos that apply to this plant.

  • Salvia leucantha 'Eder'

    (Eder Variegated Mexican Bush Sage) A sport of the purple-flowered variety 'Midnight', this subtly variegated variety is remarkably tough. In the landscape it has a silvery, almost ghostly look. Best up close, where you can appreciate the beautiful foliage.
    Variegated Mexican Bush Sage likes partial shade, but can take full sun in cooler climates. Plant it in humus-rich soil that is well drained and give it adequate water for the best growth.  It is a fine container plant, as a foil for brighter flowered companions.

    Limited quantities.
    10.50

    OUT OF STOCK

  • Salvia leucantha 'Santa Barbara'

    (Santa Barbara Mexican Bush Sage) This compact Mexican Bush Sage was found in the Santa Barbara garden of Kathiann Brown. It is, without a doubt, the finest short Mexican Bush Sage -- hardy, tough and long blooming. Add drought resistance and dark, rich purple flowers to its list of merits.

    This heat-tolerant, full-sun sage makes a fine ground cover for areas large or small. it also looks lovely in perennial borders and containers. Expect plenty of honeybee, hummingbird and butterfly visits.

    We suggest cutting Santa Barbara Mexican Bush Sage to the ground in the spring, so the fast growing white furry shoots will start blooming by mid-summer. It will continue blooming until frost, unless you live in a mild climate such as along the Northern California coast where it blooms 12 months a year.

    Highly recommended.

    10.50
  • Salvia leucantha 'White Mischief'

    (White Mischief Mexican Bush Sage) Profuse white blossoms and true white velvety bracts make the flowers of this South African hybrid a lovely choice for a wedding. In our experience, many of the plants sold as White Mischief are not the real thing. This tough, compact, long blooming sage is.

    Although its flowers are white, we've noticed that hummingbirds love this Salvia leucantha, which blooms summer into fall. Butterflies are also partial to it, but luckily deer keep their distance.

    Plant this heat-loving herbaceous perennial in full sun and well-drained soil. It is elegant in shrubby borders, large containers and cut-flower gardens. 

    10.50
  • Salvia leucantha 'Danielle's Dream'

    (Pink Mexican Bush Sage) Although native to Mexico and Central America, this elegant variety of Salvia leucantha was hybridized in South Africa. It is compact, long blooming and profusely covered by soft pink flowers surrounded by velvety white bracts.

    It is our experience that many of the plants sold under the name 'Danielle's Dream' are not the true variety. Also, to further the confusion, this variety of Mexican Bush Sage goes by many names. But this is the real thing.

    Plant this drought-resistant, heat-tolerant sage in full sun. Use it in a shrubby border, a cut-flower garden or as a magnificently large container plant. Butterflies, honeybees and hummingbirds will show their appreciation by visiting regularly. 

    10.50
  • Salvia leucantha 'Greenwood'

    (Mexican Bush Sage or Velvet Sage) This variety of Mexican Bush Sage has purple and white flowers that bloom from summer into fall. Fuzzy leaves, stems and calyxes are characteristic of its species, so this native of Mexico and Central America is also called Velvet Sage.

    This staple of California landscaping is a tough, compact variety that came from a chance seedling.  Even when we are selling 30 or more rare Salvias in bloom at local Farmers' Markets, this one is the most popular. It's also a favorite of butterflies, honeybees and hummingbirds, but not deer.

    Plant this heat-tolerant, drought-resistant sage in shrubby borders, large containers and cut-flower gardens in full sun.  Somewhat smaller than the seedling that is generally available, this clone also has larger blossoms.
    10.50
  • Salvia leucantha 'Purple Dwarf'

    (Mexican Bush Sage or Velvet Sage) Large purple and white flowers bloom abundantly on this compact dwarf plant. If you love the rich colors and velvety foliage of Mexican Bush Sage but have limited space or need a container variety, this one is is for you.

    'Purple Dwarf' is generally about half the size of Salvia leucantha 'Greenwood', but can grow much larger in ideal conditions.  If we had the power to do so, we would not call this variety a dwarf.  Grow it in a shrubby border, as a magnificent large container plant or as part of a cutting garden.

    Similar to all members of it species, Purple Dwarf is heat tolerant, drought resistant and a favorite of butterflies, honeybees and hummingbirds. Deer avoid it.

    10.50
  • Salvia semiatrata

    (Pine Mountain Sage) Small but numerous, violet and deep purple flowers surrounded by pink bracts are sprinkled throughout this well-branched,shrubby sage like confections. This is one of the showiest Salvias we grow.

    Pine Mountain Sage blooms from summer into fall and is a treat for honeybees and hummingbirds. It's native to Chiapas, Mexico, where it grows on the edge of pine forests in rocky soil. In the U.S., it is hardy to USDA Zones 8 with protection into 11 and blooms from summer into fall.

    As with most Salvias, this one requires well-drained soil and likes it rich. Although drought tolerant, it appreciates average watering based on local conditions. Full sun is another necessity for maximum development. Average growth is 3 to 4 feet tall and 3 feet wide. Yet when conditions are perfect, it can grow into a 6-foot mound.

    Small, triangle-shaped, gray-green leaves make this shrub attractive even when not in flower. Spring pruning of its woody branches keeps it compact and floriferous.

    Grow Pine Mountain Sage as a large scale groundcover, border, screen or container plant. It excels in dry gardens, and is worth growing as a summer annual in zones outside its temperature range. No need to worry about deer; they avoid it.

    11.50

    OUT OF STOCK

  • Salvia x 'Anthony Parker'

    (Anthony Parker Bush Sage) Floriferous spikes of dark blue to purple flowers bloom midsummer to fall on this tidy, mid-height subshrub that grows as wide as it is tall.

    Anthony Parker Bush Sage is a chance hybrid that garden designer Frances Parker discovered in her South Carolina garden in 1994 and named for her grandson. It appears to be a cross between Mexican Sage (Salvia leucantha 'Midnight') and Pineapple Sage (Salvia elegans) and is perennial in areas with moderate winters.

    Although not aromatic, the gray-green, heart-shaped leaves are similar to those of Pineapple Sage, including their attractive veining. Anthony Parker Bush Sage's flowers -- lovely in cut-flower arrangements -- reflect those of Mexican Sage, but are darker and more slender.

    Hummingbirds love this full-sun sage, which makes it a valuable addition to wildlife habitat. We love it too and give it our "best of class" designation as the best blue-blossomed, fall-flowering sage for your garden.

    Our photograph of this variety is not particularly good.  Here is a link to a better one on Pinterest.

    10.50

    OUT OF STOCK

  • Salvia x 'Phyllis' Fancy'

    (Phyllis' Fancy Sage) The parentage of this lavender-flowered hybrid sage is unknown. However, it may be a cross between Mexican Bush Sage (Salvia leucantha) and Chiapas Sage (S. chiapensis).

    Phyllis' Fancy comes from the Arboretum at the University of California, Santa Cruz. It is similar to other S. leucantha hybrids we grow at Flowers by the Sea, but is the largest plant in this group.

    The foot long flower spikes are cupped by bicolor, green and purple calyxes. This is a late bloomer, but keeps on giving until harsh frost sets in, which hummingbirds appreciate. A full-sun perennial, Phyllis' Fancy is a good choice for large borders or as an accent plant.

    10.50
  • Salvia x 'Waverly'

    (Waverly Sage) A pale pink to lavender blush adds delicate color to the white flowers of Waverly Sage, which are supported by plum-colored calyxes. Its mid-green leaves are lance shaped and veined.

    This is a tender, woody shrub that may remain evergreen or an herbaceous perennial that dies to ground, depending on the winter temperatures where you live.

    First called "Mark's Mystery White," this long-blooming, sun-loving plant that can tolerate some shade. It appears to be related to Mexican Bush Sage (S. leucantha), but it's likely we'll never know all the details of its heritage.

    Waverly Sage has a fountain-like form with long stems that rise up from the base and then arch downward. Height varies depending, once again, on local growing conditions. On our farm, it tends to reach about four feet high and six feet wide. However, it does well in a large container.

    Deer avoid this shrub, which is popular with butterflies, honeybees and hummingbirds. Heat tolerant and drought resistant, it is a great choice for dry landscapes.

    10.50

    OUT OF STOCK

  • Salvia lasiantha

    (Wooly Multicolor Sage) In Greek, "lasiantha" means "wooly flower." The flowers of Salvia lasiantha are surrounded by wooly bracts, but are even more notable for transforming from apricot-orange in the morning to reddish-purple later in the day.

    The bracts are also dramatic -- a fuzzy white overlaid with pink, orange, violet and cream. The large flower clusters bloom from mid-summer until the onset of cold weather. Large wrinkled foliage and white wooly stems are other distinctive features of this large, shrubby sage. All that wooliness helps this native of Mexico and Costa Rica to conserve moisture during drought and extreme heat.

    At 5 feet tall and wide, this fragrant butterfly magnet makes a good screen, background planting or addition to a shrubby border. It can even be grown in a large patio container.

    12.50
  • Salvia chamaedryoides x ‘Marine Blue’

    (Marine Blue Sage) The name and origin of this fine cultivar has long been in dispute. It may be a clone or hybrid of the Mexican plant Salvia chamaedryoidesvar.isochroma. It is one of the prettiest, strongest sages we grow.

    Our Marine Blue Sage blooms almost nonstop, producing long spikes of small dark blue flowers marked with bee lines that help lead pollinators into the blossoms. The leaves are small, wrinkled and wooly with silver-white tops and greenish undersides. In a sunny spot, the plant forms a tidy mat of ground cover 18 inches tall and 36 inches wide.

    Grow Marine Blue Sage in hot, somewhat dry locations where you can see it up close. It's guaranteed to attract the eye. We predict that the popularity of this drought-resistant sage will increase as it becomes more widely known.

    10.50

    OUT OF STOCK

  • Salvia chionophylla

    (Snowflake Sage) Wiry, trailing stems of small white leaves make this plant look like fresh snowfall. Numerous, small, sky blue flowers with prominent bee lines further add to the cooling look. This dry-garden plant is native to the mountains of the Chihuahuan desert of North Central Mexico.

    Just 6 inches tall and spreading to 36 inches, this is a perfect ground cover. However, we like it best spilling over the edge of a mixed planter or in a hanging basket.  It can take a bit of shade in hot areas, but is at its best in full sun. Plant it in rich, well drained soil.

    We suspect that this species may be hardy in the warmest parts of Zone 6 when planted in very well-drained soil and winter mulched. We highly recommend it.

    10.50
  • Salvia patens 'Guanajuato'

    (Guanajuato Giant Gentian Sage) At 3 inches long, the flowers of this Gentian Sage are the largest of any we grow. Guanjuato Giant is also unique for its tall, upright growth and heavily textured foliage.

    Spikes of deep, true blue flowers that rise up to 48 inches tall make this perennial sage a standout in the garden from summer into fall. This Gentian Sage is reliably perennial in USDA Zones 8 to 11. Its spectacular flowers also make it a fine choice as a summer bedding plant in areas with colder winters.

    Guanjuato Giant likes regular watering and rich, well-drained soil. It does fine in full sun or partial shade and can handle moist corners of the yard. Use it as a path edging, border, groundcover or container plant.

    German botanist Karl Hartweg discovered the Salvia patens species in 1838. British horticulturist Graham Stuart Thomas later called it "the best plant in cultivation."

    Although, true blue is not a part of the color spectrum that hummingbirds favor, they are attracted to Gentian Sages especially when mixed with red-flowered sages.

    10.50
  • Leonotis menthifolia

    (Mint Lion's Ear or Wild Dagga) Mint Lion's Ear is a drought-tolerant. It is a clump-forming perennial in areas with mild climates and an annual in regions with cold winter temperatures. As a Salvia companion, it works well as a middle-of-border planting that looks magnificent when massed.

    "Leon" is Greek for "lion," whereas "otis" translates as "ear." The appellation "menthifolia" refers to the minty scent of the foliage, which grows all the way to the base of this non-woody species. Actually, we think the tawny orange blossoms of this mint family (Lamiaceae) member look more like a lion's mane.

    The tubular flowers grow in tiered whorls along velvety stems much shorter than its relative, Leonotis leonura. Crush the plant's lance-shaped leaves and you release their fragrance.

    Mint Lion's Ear is native to South Africa where it is mainly called Wild Dagga -- similar to Lion's Ear shrub -- and is used medicinally to sooth coughs, dysentery, fevers and headaches.

    Pollinators, including butterflies, love the plentiful nectar of Mint Lion's Ear.

    10.50

    OUT OF STOCK

Average customer rating:
 
(1 reviews)  



1 Most useful customer reviews (see all reviews):
KY Marilyn
Feb 16, 2016
This is a yearly staple for my garden. Not only does it attract the hummers, butterflies and bees, but this is my husband's favorite and I love it too. Gorgeous purple, furry and fuzzy flowers that really stand out.

I look forward to seeing the flowers each year, even though it blooms later in my zone 6a summer growing season. The overall look of the Grayish-green leaf color, the whitish stems and the all purple flowers is striking.

I've grown it in the ground, as well as, in large contaners. Easy to grow and love.
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Sage Experts: Nancy Newfield, Hummingbird Gardener, Part III

Sage Experts: Nancy Newfield, Hummingbird Gardener, Part III


Category: Sage Experts
Posted: Jul 7, 2016 06:39 PM
Synopsis:

It is ironic that one of the least social types of birds inspires so much sociability in human beings. We refer to hummingbirds, which are the object of festivals and the communal effort of bird banding research nationwide. This is the third and final article in a series about renowned hummingbird expert Nancy L. Newfield, who grows many Salvias in her hummingbird gardens. We recount a visit to Louisiana to observe Newfield and her team banding hummingbirds in winter. You'll also find a rainbow of top hummingbird Salvias listed here.

(Photo credit: John Owens)
Cultivating Color: New FBTS Tools Aid Garden Design

Cultivating Color: New FBTS Tools Aid Garden Design


Category: Cultivating Color
Posted: Apr 25, 2015 01:16 PM
Synopsis: Have we got tools for you! No, we aren't selling Ginzu clippers, rust-free shovels, a miraculous compost-in-minutes machine or anything requiring payments. We're talking about a set of color tools for accurately visualizing and comparing the floral and foliage colors of Salvias. As you wander through the riot of hues in our online catalog at Flowers by the Sea, these tools aid plant selection and landscape planning. Beginning in fall 2014, we began identifying the colors of all FBTS plants based on the internationally standardized color system published by the U.K.'s Royal Horticultural Society. This improves descriptions of plant colors and makes color comparisons of plants easier for garden design.
Types of Bees Working in Your Garden

Types of Bees Working in Your Garden


Category: Bees in the Garden
Posted: Jan 29, 2015 03:00 AM
Synopsis: America buzzes with bee diversity, including 4,000 native species and many types of nonnative honeybees. Flowers by the Sea details the variety and value of our imperiled bees. This is the second article in a two-part series focused on identifying and understanding bees, becoming aware of threats to their survival and noting ways gardeners can protect these tiny wildlife. It includes tips on how to avoid bee stings.
Portraits in Gardening: Michael and Kathi Rock's Hummingbird Journey

Portraits in Gardening: Michael and Kathi Rock's Hummingbird Journey


Category: Portraits in Gardening
Posted: Nov 26, 2014 03:59 PM
Synopsis: A wedding gift led to Kathi Johnson Rock and Michael Rock's passion for hummingbirds. These Wisconsin birders offer tips and plant suggestions for hummingbird gardeners at FBTS. Although now known as Madison's "Hummingbird People," the Rocks aren't ornithologists or biologists. They are home gardeners and customers of Flowers by the Sea who discovered the power of nectar-rich Salvias and companion plants to fuel hummingbird migration. This article includes a list favorite hummingbird plants found in the Rocks' gardens.
Salvia Small Talk: The Gardens and Sages of Alcatraz

Salvia Small Talk: The Gardens and Sages of Alcatraz


Category: Salvia Small Talk
Posted: Jul 18, 2014 08:10 AM
Synopsis: Alcatraz Island in San Francisco Bay once housed prisoners, many of whom helped beautify "The Rock" by working in prison gardens. Nowadays, volunteer gardeners keep the island flowering with the help of long-blooming, drought-tolerant Salvias
Creating a Butterfly Garden with Delectable Salvias and Milkweeds

Creating a Butterfly Garden with Delectable Salvias and Milkweeds


Category: Butterflies in the Garden
Posted: Jul 2, 2013 04:06 PM
Synopsis: Creating a butterfly garden is like creating a teen-friendly home. You need to offer tasty snacks, healthy beverages, and comfortable accommodations that aren't too tidy. Like the teens that fill your basement and backyard, butterflies will keep coming back if you give them what they need. The variety of plants in your yard is the main reason why butterflies do or don’t visit. Salvias are among the popular plants for adult butterflies that love nectar.

 

Celebrity Salvias: Mexican Bush Sage Beauties

Celebrity Salvias: Mexican Bush Sage Beauties


Category: Celebrity Salvias
Posted: Oct 20, 2012 10:46 AM
Synopsis: Mexican Bush Sage (Salvia leucantha) is a garden star, but not a demanding diva. That is why Texas A&M University selected Mexican Bush Sage (Salvia leucantha) as one of its 50 “Texas Superstar” plants, all of which are highly recommended for flourishing in unpredictable weather and drought. The many varieties of Mexican Bush Sage are garden beauties that need little pampering. Native to hot, dry areas of Mexico and Central America, they are accustomed to tough conditions. Flowers by the Sea carries a number of striking varieties.

 

I like Amstiad

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.


  1. Go tubular. Hummingbirds need tubular flowers that are easy for long, thin beaks to access.
  2. Provide lots of color. Think of yourself as a cafeteria manager who needs to provide many tempting choices in order to attract business. Red, pink, orange and purple sages are particularly powerful hummingbird magnets.
  3. Keep your garden blooming. Plant a variety of Salvias based not only on color but also a broad span of bloom times. Many flower from spring into fall. Others are prolific fountains of nectar for shorter seasons. Numerous winter-blooming species are available for areas that are home to hummingbirds year round.
  4. Grow sages native to the Western Hemisphere. Although hummingbirds will take advantage of many kinds of tubular flowering plants, these tiny birds are native to the Western Hemisphere and prefer flowering plants native to their half of the world.
  5. Select Salvia companion plants. Hummingbirds appreciate a variety of favorite tubular-flowered plants.
  6. Plant hummingbird gardens near cover. Trees and bushes surrounding feeding areas provide protection from predators and chilly, rainy weather.
  7. Don't use pesticides. Insects provide protein for hummingbirds, so don't kill these food sources.
  8. Provide water. Hummingbirds frolic in misters and shallow birdbaths.
  9. Supplement plantings with feeder tubes. Change the sugar water every few days and don't add food coloring. Keep the feeders clean, but don't scrub them with soaps or detergents. Here is more feeder care information.
  10. Read more. Our Everything Salvias Blog offers a number of articles about hummingbirds.
Eastern Tiger Swallowtail butterfly

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:


  1. Plant sages with platform-type blossoms. Unlike hummingbirds, butterflies can't hover while feeding. Sages with large lower lips and short nectar tubes, such as those in the Autumn Sage (Salvia greggii) and Mountain Sage (S. microphylla) group, give butterflies a place to stand while gathering nectar and pollen.
  2. Provide lots of color and sunlight. Butterflies need to stay warm and are attracted to a broad range of flower colors.
  3. Include native species. Insects and plants have co-evolved to meet each other's needs within their native regions. Butterflies prefer feeding on their local, native perennials and shrubs.
  4. Grow Caterpillar Host Plants. Butterflies need baby nurseries. Some are extremely picky about the plants on which they lay eggs, such as Monarchs, which need milkweeds (Asclepias spp.). The North American Butterfly Association is a good source of information about host plants.
  5. Don't use pesticides. They kill many beneficial insects, including butterflies.
  6. Keep your garden blooming. Plant a variety of Salvias based on bloom times as well as color and shape. Many flower from spring into fall. Others are prolific fountains of nectar for shorter seasons.
  7. Provide puddles. Butterflies stay hydrated by splashing in puddles located in sunny spots on the ground or raised up in shallow birdbaths. Include rocks for basking; butterflies need to dry and warm their wings.
  8. Plant butterfly gardens near shelter. Butterflies need to be able to flee into trees, shrubbery and woodpiles when predators appear and when windy or rainy weather occurs.
  9. Supplement plantings with rotten fruit. Some butterflies love the juice of rotting fruit even more than nectar.
  10. Read more. Our Everything Salvias Blog offers a number of articles about butterflies.

Hey, got any greens?

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.


  1. Mask smells that deer like with aromatic sages. Deer and other members of the Cervidae family, such as elk, mostly leave Salvias alone. One theory is that they don't like the fragrance or taste of sage chemicals. Strategically planting sages near vegetable gardens or fruit trees -- elixir to deer -- may prevent consumption.
  2. Grow hedges including Salvias. Prickly hedges, including hairy-leafed Salvias and exceptionally thorny roses, can discourage deer from entering your yard. They don't like the mouth-feel of those textures. Tall hedges also hide strawberry beds and other yummy plantings from view.
  3. Don't overplant one species. Grow a variety of Salvias in case local deer take an unexpected liking to one species of sage.
  4. Fence deer out. Install electric fences or 8-foot wood or metal fences around particularly vulnerable areas. Make sure electric fencing is turned on during the peak feeding seasons of early spring and late fall.
  5. Use motion-detection tools. Install outdoor lighting that is activated by movement.
  6. Let the dogs out. Deer are especially wary of large dogs.
  7. Surround and cover. Wrap tough plastic around the trunks of trees that have tasty bark and cover foliage with bird netting when trees and bushes are fruiting.
  8. Change yard ornaments periodically. Objects such as scarecrows, statuary and cordons of monofilament string with strips of shiny foil attached cause deer to shy away.
  9. Make safe choices. Research repellants you plan to use to make sure they aren't poisonous.
  10. Be flexible and ready to share a bit. There is no such thing as a completely deer-resistant garden.