(Little Sage) if it were up to us, we would never have named this plant Little Sage. Although it is dainty, it is also one of the most fascinating species we grow. We particularly love its pebbly, oval leaves that are a shiny purple/green on top and a furry white below.
The mint-green leaves of this spreading sage darken in full sun on hot days. They form an attractive groundcover that blooms summer to fall with deep violet flowers marked with distinct, white beelines. They grow on red spikes rising up to 12 inches tall.
Native to Southern Mexico and Guatemala, this drought-resistant and heat-tolerant beauty is an ideal plant for small gardens and containers. It's also a good choice for perennial borders and kitchen gardens. You can use it in cooking as a culinary sage.
Little Sage thrives in USDA Zones 8 to 11 and may even survive Zone 7 winters if mulched. Give it rich soil that drains easily and full sun to partial shade.
We highly recommend this tasty sage as do the local honeybees. Deer, however, leave it alone.
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.
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.
(Ground Ivy Sage) Native to Central Mexico's highlands, this creeping perennial grows at a altitudes of more than 10,000 feet and can handle some chill. Its common name comes from its scalloped yellow-green leaves, which resemble Ground Ivy or Glechoma.
The wiry stems of this heat-tolerant Salvia sprawl and spread gracefully. Honeybees are attracted by the prominent double beelines on the violet-blue blossoms of its 1-foot-tall flower spikes, which bloom from summer into fall.
This is an ideal low-growing groundcover that is adaptable to full sun or partial shade. Grow it in full sun in cooler zones and in partial shade elsewhere. We also highly recommend this plant as a groundcover or in mixed containers where it carpets the base of larger plants, conserves soil moisture and spills gently over the pot's edge. Don't be afraid to water and fertilize it regularly.
(Sinaloan Blue Sage) It's difficult to say which trait is more attractive about this sage -- the airy spikes of deep, true blue flowers or the fascinating spear-shaped foliage that varies from deep green to purple, forming a tidy mat.
This petite native of Sinaloa, Mexico is a prime choice for locations that provide both full sun and partial shade, such as east-facing sites offering morning sunshine and afternoon shade. Plant it where you want a dense ground cover, along the edge of a pathway or at the front of a mixed perennial border. It also works well in patio containers.
Use this plant at the base of larger growing, blue and purple flowering Salvias, such as Anise-Scented Sages (Salvia guaranitica spp.) for a dramatic statement. Wherever you grow it, the combination of striking leaves and flowers will draw the eye and hummingbirds from summer into fall.
Cold Weather Alert: Although this plant is recommended for USDA Zones 7 to 9, we have received reports of it surviving in Zone 6 with good mulching!
(Dandelion Leaf Sage) Brush or bruise the basal foliage of this Moroccan Salvia and it exudes a citrusy fragrance. Petite and heat tolerant, this is a sturdy, adaptable groundcover.
The late James C. Archibald of the Scottish Rock and Garden Club once described the plant's homeland -- the Atlas Mountains of Morocco -- as being "high, barren" and "snow-streaked." He collected specimens there in 1962 and noted that the plant retains its dwarf-like height better in dry, poor, gravelly soil.
Taraxacifolia refers to the dandelion-like appearance of the plant's foliage. However, this is a non-invasive sage. Forming tight, low rosettes that spread gently, the gray-green, lyre-shaped leaves are heavily indented. The foot-tall spikes of large, soft, pink flowers bloom from summer into fall.
This perennial withstands light foot traffic, which is useful in a groundcover. Heat resistant and drought tolerant, it thrives in full sun and dry gardens with well-drained soil. However, it can also handle average watering based on local conditions. Dandelion Leaf Sage grows well in USDA Zones 7 to 11 where it is evergreen down to 20 degrees F and hardy to 10 degrees F if winter mulched.
We like this easy-to-grow, uncommon sage and are glad that deer do not.
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.