(Azure Hybrid Sage) Despite its name, the flowers of this tiny hybrid aren't really blue. They are a light purple. Due to its size, long bloom time, heat tolerance and drought resistance, Salvia x 'Mesa Azure' is a fine groundcover for areas where summers are hot and dry.
This sage may be related to Salvia microphylla and S. greggii, which are native to the American Southwest as well as Mexico. Its parentage is a mystery. However it displays many traits from those plants, including being an excellent choice for dry or native gardens.
Garden uses include short borders, flower beds, edging for pathways and containers. Azure Mountain blooms in waves from spring to fall in USDA Zones 7 to 9. Hummingbirds enjoy its nectar.
Aside from unusually large flowers, Azure Hybrid Sage is dense with large, wrinkled, heavily veined leaves. The foliage is so handsome that the plant is attractive even when out of bloom.
For the record, this sage also grows well in cooler climates, such as coastal areas. Limit watering, because it likes soil on the dry side. Provide a location with full sun to partial shade.
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.
(Elk Pomegranate Autumn Sage) We're proud to say that this is an FBTS cultivar. It is one of the finest dark flowered, compact Autumn Sage varieties we have seen. Its extraordinarily large, raspberry blossoms bloom from spring into fall.
The large, luxuriant leaves are a bright Kelly green as are the stems and calyxes. Although it does well in full sun, it especially thrives in morning sun and afternoon shade. This heat-tolerant, drought-resistant sage is ideal in patio containers and along borders. It's also just the right size and look for a dry garden groundcover.
We aren't the only ones that love it. Butterflies, honeybees and hummingbirds frequently visit our Elk Pomegranate plantings. They highly recommend it and so do we.
(Pink Beach Autumn Sage) When it blooms from spring into fall, this heat- and chill-tolerant sage is covered with large, two-tone pink flowers that attract butterflies, honeybees and hummingbirds. This compact, drought-tolerant beauty also features small, shiny, bright green leaves.
Pink Beach was selected and developed by Paul Bonine and Greg Shepherd of Xera Plants in Portland. This sun-loving sage tolerates partial shade and greatly appreciates settings with morning sun and afternoon shade. It is an excellent groundcover, border or container plant.
The first person to bring Autumn Sage to the notice of the horticultural world was Josiah Gregg, after whom the species is named. A pioneer and plant explorer, Gregg discovered the species in Northern Mexico in the mid-19th century.
Pink Beach is our best small-growing, pink Autumn Sage. Big thanks go to Paul and Greg of Xera as well as Josiah, because we appreciate plant explorers and developers.
(Texas Wedding White Autumn Sage) This is our best white-flowered Autumn Sage. It is compact, hardy and blooms abundantly. We love it as a contrast to the generally bright colors of its group. Texas Wedding seems to always be blooming, with massive displays in spring and fall.
The flowers are small but so profuse that they seem to outnumber the leaves.
This variety of Salvia greggii makes a great, small-scale groundcover when each plant is spaced two feet apart. Although it tolerates some shade -- especially in hot climates -- it needs full sun. Good drainage is another necessity, but it doesn't require much watering.
Texas Wedding is reliably hardy to 10 degrees F, but can tolerate colder temperatures with mulching. Here's some other good news: Deer don't much care for it.
(Saint Isidro's Sage) This hardy, lavender-blue-flowered Salvia comes from Southern Texas and has the same breeding as the famous Ultra Violet Autumn Sage. Although it needs warmer winter temperatures and has smaller foliage, it also does well in stressful conditions, including drought.
Saint Isidro's Sage is a dwarf plant with tall flower spikes. This hybrid of Autumn Sage Salvia greggii and Canyon Sage (Salvia lycioides) will keep your garden buzzing with honeybees, hummingbirds and butterflies from spring until frost. Similar to many sages, it is deer resistant.
This is a fine perennial border, groundcover, dry garden or container plant. Just give it full sun, good air circulation and well-drained soil.
(Ultra Violet Hybrid Sage) Hardy is a word bandied about by gardeners and nurserymen. Its use is often exaggerated. But this fine hybrid deserves to be called "the hardiest Autumn Sage." It's Zone-5 hardy, drought resistant and has lovely, soft purple flowers. Ultra Violet is a winner.
Scott and Lauren Springer Ogden, landscape designers and writers, in 2002 discovered Ultra Violet -- an unexpected dwarf hybrid -- in their high plains garden in Fort Collins, Colorado. Salvia greggii are renowned for accidentally hybridizing.
Ultra Violet is one of the best Salvias for tough conditions, such as the hot, dry summers and freezing winters of the American West's high-altitude, semi-arid lands. In fact, it is one of the few Salvia greggii that thrive in these conditions.
Blooming from spring into fall, Ultra Violet will keep your garden buzzing with honeybees, hummingbirds and butterflies until frost. This deer-resistant sage makes a fine perennial border, groundcover, dry garden or container plant. Just give it full sun, good air circulation and well-drained soil.
(Scorching Pink Mountain Sage) Compact and small, this Mountain Sage is another fine groundcover for Southern California, the Southwest and Texas. Similar to Salvia microphylla 'Heatwave Glimmer', it not only survives but thrives in extreme heat.
Hot pink flowers contrast prettily with the sage's well-branched, dense green foliage. The leaves are heavily veined and aromatic.
At 2 feet tall and wide, this sage is also just the right for a container or edging a pathway. It looks lovely in a short shrub border and is ideal for dry native gardens. The Mountain Sage species is native to the semi-arid lands of the American Southwest and Mexico.
Although heat tolerant and drought resistant, this sage appreciates regular watering and can handle partial shade. It is adaptable and grows well in many kinds of soil as long as it gets good drainage. Butterflies and hummingbirds are drawn to it at bloom time, which is spring to fall with lightest production in summer. Deer, however, leave it alone.
For the record, Scorching Pink Mountain Sage also grows well in cooler regions and coastal climates.
(Big Orange Mountain Sage) When temperatures are cooler in spring and fall, the persimmon-orange flowers of this large Mountain Sage darken. Gray-green foliage, deep red calyxes and reddish-green stems add to the plant's fascinating look, which mixes well with yellows and blues.
This Salvia microphylla comes from the mountains of Northern Mexico. We call it "Big Orange," because it matures to 4 feet tall and wide. Its flowers are also large and bloom spring to fall in USDA Zones 7 to 9.
Similar to many Salvias, Big Orange is adaptable to differing conditions, including either full sun or partial shade. It grows well in a wide range of climates, including the hot, dry Southwest and the cool, moist Pacific Northwest. Although this heat- and drought-tolerant sage fits well in a dry, native garden, it also appreciates regular watering and an average garden soil, such as sandy loam.
Plant it as a tall groundcover that can help control weeds. Or mass it for a shrubby border. It also looks pretty in a container where its height will be shorter.
(St. Charles Day Mountain Sage) Especially in spring and fall, masses of red-violet flowers bloom amid the silvery green foliage of Salvia microphylla 'San Carlos Festival'. Put this one into the "must have" column.
The densely branched foliage features oval leaves that are fragrant, textured and slightly ruffled. This Mountain Sage is an herbaceous perennial in cooler areas and a shrub in warmer zones.
Native to the eastern Mexican state of Tamaulipas, it was collected near the village of San Carlos in 1992 by plant explorers from Yucca Do, a nursery in Southeastern Texas. Five years later, Yucca Do introduced the plant to commercial horticulture. It has been one of our favorites ever since.
Mountain Sages are drought resistant, but respond well to regular watering. This mid-height variety grows up to 24 inches tall and 36 inches wide in a location offering full sun to partial shade. It is adaptable to many soil types, but needs good drainage. Although well adapted to dry gardens, it appreciates regular watering.
Even though this hummingbird favorite has been popular for years, it can be difficult to find in commercial production. We highly recommend it for borders, short screens and background planting.
(Big Pitcher Sage) As its scientific name indicates, this sage has very large flowers. They are almost two-tone, changing from deep violet to a light blue or white at their base where they are cupped by dusky purple calyxes.
The tall, sprawling stems of this sage are just right in mixed plantings. That is how they grow in the wild from Texas to Nebraska on the Great Prairie.
This heat- and cold-tolerant sage is a superb choice for the native or wild garden. It's also at home in the back or middle of more refined borders. Anywhere you put it, expect bees, butterflies and hummingbirds to buzz in for its pleasures.
Although drought tolerant, this perennial sage appreciates regular watering. It is adaptable from USDA Zone 4 to 9 where it blooms from late summer into fall. Give it full sun, but this plant will tolerate some partial shade. It handles almost any kind of soil that drains well.
Finally, you need to know that this is another sage with naming challenges: Is it a variety of Salvia azurea as some say? We think it is significantly different, and is a species on its own. In any case, we love its bright blue blooms, especially when poking up amid shrubby sages such as Salvia regla.
(Texas Blue Sage) This is a cutie and a tough customer once established. It even grows well in caliche soils. Although Salvia texana typically blooms only during spring in Texas, it has a longer season stretching into fall up north.
Flower colors are in the blue range and include purple and violet. Our strain could be described as having the violet of Scarlet O’Hara eyes as well as pronounced white beelines. Its deep green, oblong leaves and bracts are covered with silky hairs so long that they look like eyelashes.
Although short at 12 to 24 inches tall, Texas Blue Sage is so charming that we like to crouch down to get a closer look. In Northern California, it thrives in full sun, but in Texas, it appreciates a bit of shade on the hottest days. This drought resistant Texas perennial does well in a dry garden, but also accepts regular watering in well drained soils.
It can be temperamental outside its native range, so please take special care with this species. Not a good plant for moist or humid parts of he country.
Grow it as a groundcover or in borders, native plant gardens and prairie-type landscapes. We agree with the butterflies, hummingbirds and honeybees that visit this beauty: What’s not to love about it.
(California Drought Action Pack) The drought in Texas is a real challenge to gardeners and to the wildlife that depends increasingly on us for survival. We want to help.
This package consists of Salvias, Agastache, Kniphofia, Asclepias and other wildlife-friendly & drought resistant plants that will grow, bloom and be happy in dry gardens. We will personally select three each of four different plants, taking into account your particular climate and location. These are some of our top sellers, offered as a discounted group. As much as possible we'll use Texas native plants.
We're all concerned about the declining habitats and food sources for hummingbirds, butterflies and bees - and by planting these in your garden you will be doing a great service to our animal friends that being stressed by the lack of flowers. Because of the large number of suitable varieties we grow, we'll plan to send along a balanced, long blooming mix. You can plant now and enjoy these beauties for years to come, even if the drought continues.
NOTE: This package is not available year-round,
Some of the plants
We also include a detailed Planting Guide, to insure your success.
We offer this for the Fall planting season only, now through November 1st, with free shipping anywhere in Texas. We suggest that you plant these between October 1st and November 15th, the easiest time to establish plants in the garden. You can choose your desired shipping date during checkout.
Please let us know in the "Customer Notes" section of the shopping cart if you have any color preferences or blooming season restrictions. We guarantee to pick out some of the very best drought tolerant varieties we grow for you. Please, this is for Texas residents only.
(Vermilion Bluffs® Mexican Sage) The brilliant red flowers of Vermilion Bluffs bloom abundantly from August to October. This variety of the Mexican native Salvia darcyi is cold hardy to Zone 5b at altitudes up to 5,500 feet.
Salvia darcyi comes from Mexico's eastern Sierra Madre Occidental mountain range where it grows at altitudes up to 9,000 feet. Denver Botanic Gardens developed Vermilion Bluffs to withstand the colder winter weather of the Rocky Mountain region. It is a welcome substitute for Salvia microphylla or Salvia x jamensis , which struggle in cold weather.
This sun-loving sage likes loamy soil. Plant it in shrubby borders, dry flower gardens and containers. Its underground runners form a tough mat that blocks weeds.
The wrinkly, soft green foliage forms a graceful mound that glows against the bright flowers, which attract butterflies and hummingbirds. After frost, the foliage dies to the ground like an herbaceous perennial. Then it returns in spring.
We can't help but highly recommend this easy-care plant.
Vermilion Bluffs is a registered trademark of Plant Select.
(John Whittlesey Sage) Hardy, vigorous and long blooming, John Whittlesey Sage is a hybrid of D'Arcy's Sage (Salvia darcyi) -- a native of Mexico -- and Mountain Sage (S. microphylla), which is native to the American Southwest and Mexico.
The long flowering season of this sage makes John Whittlesey Sage a garden favorite; it begins bursting with salmon-red blooms early in the growing season. You can grow it as a bedding plant in areas with winters cooler than those of USDA Zone 7. In warmer zones, this tidy sage is an herbaceous perennial.
In coastal areas, John Whittlesey Sage is a great stand-in for the plethora of little-leaf species -- Mountain Sage, Autumn Sage (S. greggii )and Jame Sage (S. x jamensis) -- that often struggle with humidity.
Hummingbirds love the bright red flowers of this full-sun, heat-tolerant plant that makes a tall but effective groundcover. However, it is generally used in mixed borders.
Horticulturist Mike Thiede of Chico, California, developed this sage and named it for John Whittlesey of Canyon Creek Nursery in Oroville, California.
(Scarlet Spires Sage) This is a brilliant cross between the sturdy D'Arcy's Sage (Salvia darcyi) and the beautifully colored 'Raspberry Delight' Littleleaf Sage (Salvia microphylla 'Raspberry Delight').
Sometimes children exceed the success of their parents, and that is the case with Scarlet Spires. This is one of our top hummingbird plants as well as one of our best Salvias for cut-flower gardens. It is a long-blooming choice with foot-tall spikes of large, scarlet flowers and attractive gray-green foliage.
Drought tolerant and dramatic, it is ideal for massing, mixed borders or patio containers. Give it full sun and well-drained soil.
Depending on where you live, September may be a time to keep busy planting perennial Salvias or to hunker-down and plan garden recovery following storm damage. Each month, FBTS publishes a list of tips suggesting ways to maintain and beautify your Salvia garden. New plantings and transplanting of sages in autumn works well; dividing or pruning them doesn't.
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.
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.