These are species that produce woody stems, but die back to the ground in the winter in all but the warmest climates. In warm winter areas these can become woody shrubs, but they generally benefit from the following pruning methods.
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.
(Friendship Sage) Thank you Rolando Uria of the University of Buenos Aries for this very fine plant. Discovered in 2005 at a plant show in Argentina, this truly unique hybrid sage has generated a great deal of excitement in the Salvia world. We are happy to be able to offer this plant which we test grew in 2012 for sale in the Spring of 2013.
Growing to about four feet tall, this variety starts blooming when very small and never stops. Large rich royal purple flowers are highlighted dark bracts - all displayed on many-flowered inflorescence. The foliage is something like S. guarantica and something like S. mexicana, but it's true origins are unknown.
According to Rolando (pictured here at the Salvia Summit II in March 2013) this plant is replacing Salvia guarantica in the gardens of Buenos Aires. It resembles some of the purple Anise Scented Sages, but is an absolutely unique plant.
A true hummingbird magnet, use this fine plant as a specimen, in mass for bedding, in a container or in the perennial border. The true temperature hardiness of Amistad is still imperfectly understood, but the plant has handled 20 degree weather for us.
(Variegated Mexican Sage) Although its deep violet flowers are compelling, it is the foliage of this sage that is its greatest attraction. Kelsi is full of surprises, including asymmetrical leaves that make this variety easy to identify.
This is the best variety of Salvia Mexicana with variegations that wander from solid white to almost solid green and sometimes change mid-branch. The quality of the foliage can be improved by removing any branches that lose their variegation altogether.
Kelsi needs partial shade. It is slow to grow and difficult to propagate, but a fascinating addition to a hummingbird garden. It is a good choice for containers, middle of border, cut-flower gardens and moist parts of the yard.
(Ocampo Mexican Sage) Growing from 7 to 10 feet tall each year, this is the largest of our Mexican Sages. Yet due to its erect form, this sage only spreads 36 inches. It has large, deep violet flowers with almost black calyxes that rise up on tall spikes and dark green, heavily veined foliage.
Collected near the mountain valley town of Ocampo, this Salvia mexicana is native to Mexico's eastern Sierra Madre range in the northeastern state of Tamaulipas on the Gulf of Mexico.
In its homeland, Ocampo Mexican Sage grows on the edges of oak and pine forests. So it does well under tall, deciduous trees and at the margins of moist woodlands in USDA Zones 8 to 11 where it blooms in fall.
Give this hummingbird favorite well-drained, rich soil and regular watering. It works well as a screen or background planting or in tall borders and cut flower gardens. Container planting is fine, but limits height.
(Door of the Fox Mexican Sage) Purplish foliage contrasts attractively with the violet-to-purple flowers of this big sage, which grows 6 feet tall and 4 feet wide. Bloom time is autumn. This darkly dramatic Mexican Sage makes a particularly attractive entryway accent.
Zorra is Spanish for female fox as well as slang for prostitute. At one time, we heard that Puerto de la Zorra (door of the fox) was collected in front of a brothel. How wrong we were. Upon learning that North Carolina Salvia specialist Rich Dufresne found this Mexican Sage in the Mexican state of Hidalgo, we asked him about its naming and location. He collected it along what is still an isolated stretch of the old Pan American Highway (Mexican Federal Highway 85). The only marker nearby was a wooden sign that said "Zorra." Dufresne concludes that there may be lots of fox dens in this rural area.
Other good uses for this Salvia mexicana include hedges and perennial borders. It looks pretty among mixed plantings in a hummingbird garden. Growing it in a container is fine, but will limit height.
Give this unique, heat-tolerant perennial full sun to partial shade along with regular watering. One more tip: It doesn't seem to mind occupying damp spots in the yard.
(Little Mexican Sage) This low-growing sage is a shrub in its warmest zones and a perennial in the cooler ones. It's just right for small spaces or tiny gardens. Short and compact, its flowers are similar to but smaller than those of S. mexicana 'Limelight'.
Little Mexican Sage has the broadest temperature tolerance of all the Salvia mexicana we grow, ranging from USDA Zones 7 to 11.
Compared to our other varieties, some of which can rise up to 10 feet tall, Little Mexican Sage is also petite at a maximum of 30 inches tall and 24 inches wide. Even it 's gray-green leaves are smaller than those of the other varieties. They contrast handsomely with the sage's royal blue flowers, which bloom in fall.
The size of this full-sun plant makes it a fine container choice for colder climates. We also love Little Mexican Sage in perennial borders and along walkways. It needs well-drained ground, but is otherwise unpicky about its soil. We highly recommend this easy-to-grow plant.
(Byron's Mexican Sage) One of our favorite Mexican Sages, this large variety is reputed to be a hybrid between Salvia mexicana and S. hispanica -- a species of Chia Sage.
Byron's Mexican Sage grows up to 6 feet tall and 3 feet wide. Its large, fall-blooming flowers are deep violet with bi-color calyxes that are bright green with dark purple streaks. Hummingbirds and honeybees love the blossoms.
Unlike its parent species, this plant is fragrant. It's also the strongest growing and longest blooming type of S. mexicana that we grow.
We have found this variety to be exceptionally drought resistant, but it does best with regular watering. It also appreciates rich, well-drained soil. Grow this perennial as an accent, screen or part of a tall border. We've voted it our very best Salvia mexicana.
(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.
(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.
(Sally Greenwood Sage) Sally Greenwood's small gray-green leaves are a striking backdrop for the complicated, velvety royal purple of its abundant flowers overlaid with a blue sheen. It's an unusual sage both in color and its tight, mounding habit.
This beauty isn't a plant diva. Although it does look best when it receives some irrigation, this is a tough, drought resistant sage. It's prettier when water and soil amendments are lean. However, a gentle shearing after blooming keeps it tidy and tight.
Sally Greenwood is an effective groundcover, but also looks pretty in patio containers. It's a mystery hybrid that may be a cross of Coahuila Sage ( Salvia coahuilensis ) or Royal Purple Autumn Sage (S. muelleri) with Germander Sage ( S. chamaedryoides).
Even Sally Greenwood's developer, Mike Thiede of Chico, California, is uncertain about its exact parentage. But that doesn't matter to the butterflies, honeybees, hummingbirds and gardeners that love it.
Completely hardy in Zone 8, and a good survivor in Zone 7 with appropriate winter preperation and mulching.
(Texas Firecracker) Hummingbirds and butterflies will thank you with frequent visits if you add this long-blooming plant to your wildlife garden. Its bright orange trumpet-type flowers with long, narrow petals are wells of delicious nectar.
Texas Firecracker is a subshrub, which means that it combines soft, herbaceous perennial foliage with some woodiness. It has slender, lance-shaped, dark green leaves. Trim it back in late winter for better form and fuller spring growth.
Although related to the Bears Breeches genus (Acanthus), Texas Firecracker lacks the thorny sepals of those plants. Anisacanthus is Greek for "without thorns." Wrightii means that this native Texas species is named for American botanist Charles Wright (1811-1885) who, beginning in 1837, spent 15 years collecting extensively in Texas.
This is a mid-height, heat-tolerant species that loves full sun. Texas Firecracker resists drought, but thrives with average watering based on local conditions. It does well in containers as well as mixed borders.
For pyrotechnical color in the garden, mix it with the clear, pumpkin-orange flowers of Golden Flame Texas Firecracker (Anisacanthus quadrifidus var. wrightii) and the crimson blossoms of Red Texas Firecracker ( Anisacanthus wrightii 'Select Red').
Don't worry about deer; this plant isn't to their taste.
(Purple Leaf Tall Big Leaf Sage) Bright green on top, the long leaves of this distinctive sage are a dark, furry purple on the undersides. Like the more typical green form of Salvia Macrophylla, this variety has cobalt blue flowers that seem to float in airy clusters on 12-inch-tall branching spikes.
This fast-growing, herbaceous perennial from Peru is adaptable to full sun and full shade. However, a combination of morning sun and afternoon shade may be more to its liking. Heat tolerant and water-loving, it is an ideal choice for a humid climate such as Florida's. Try it in a container indoors or on a patio. It's also a good choice for borders and background plantings.
Salvia Macrophylla 'Purple Leaf' grows in a tidy, upright fashion, producing 2-inch-long flowers without pause from summer through early fall. Hummingbirds love it, but deer resist its charms.
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)
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: