(Formosan Woodland Sage or Tai wan qin zhu cao) A native of Taiwan, this Salvia nipponica grows well in hot, humid climates as well as milder locales.
Blooming throughout fall, bright yellow flowers help this sage lighten a shady garden. Similar to other Woodland Sages, it can handle many sunlight conditions, including partial shade, full shade and a combination of morning sun and afternoon shade.
The sunny flowers contrast handsomely with the plant's arrowhead-shaped leaves that are deep green on top and hairy purple underneath. The foliage alone makes this a great planting choice for damp, shady spots. However, it needs somewhat warmer climes -- USDA Zones 7 to 9 -- than our other woodland sages.
Spreading gently, Formosana eventually clumps densely to become an effective groundcover. Grow this plant in rich, moist soil and give it plenty of water.
And if that's not enough, consider that this sage is an important anti-inflammatory herb in traditional Chinese herbal medicine. In the West, ongoing medical research is beginning to support this and show Formosana's role as an antioxidant as well.
These are herbaceous perennial species with low mounds of foliage and flowers on stems that grow erect from the base of the plant.
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.
(Gold Angel Japanese Shrub Mint) Partial shade settings or locations with morning sun and afternoon shade are best for this fragrant mint bush that glows in dappled sunlight. It is a Japanese woodland native well suited to areas with chilly winters.
Honeybees love this perennial's fall-blooming flowers. Leucosceptrum means "white scepter." Depending on your point of view and sense of whimsy, the plant's plumes of pale white-to-yellow blossoms look like royal scepters held erect or common bottlebrushes bursting from golden foliage.
Although this member of the mint family (Lamiaceae) loves moisture, it does well with supplemental watering based on local conditions. Give it rich, well-drained soil.
Golden Angel is just right for woodland gardens or shady patio-container plantings. It also looks pretty as a border along a shady pathway. Its finely veined and serrated leaves light up the shade.
(Monet Moment Cardinal Flower) What a great, long-blooming perennial! The bright pink flowers of Lobelia 'Monet Moment' are plentiful and attract lots of buzz from butterflies and hummingbirds.
The unusually shaped tubular flowers of Monet Moment Cardinal Flower are slit nearly to their base to form two lips. The bottom lip has three lobes; the top has two. The flower spikes are tipped with tiny, mid-green leaves and rise up vertically out of a a clumping, basal rosette of foliage.
This rewarding American native grows quickly, is easy to cultivate and tolerates both heat and cold. Although it does fine with average watering, it loves moisture and thrives in damp spots including locations near ponds and bogs.
Although it enjoys full sun, Monet Moment still blooms like crazy when planted in partial shade. Try it in patio containers, borders and seasonal flowerbeds. It's especially ideal for woodland and native plant gardens.
The genus name Lobelia honors Flemish botanist Matthias de L'Obel (1538-1616) whose work focused on medicinal plants. Historically, some Lobelias have been used to treat asthma, baldness, depression, syphilis and withdrawal from smoking. Research continues about medical use of the genus. Please remember that no herbal substance should be consumed before consulting a physician.
(Campanula Leaf Sage) Spectacular yellow-flowering Salvias are rare, so this one stands out. Its large, almost round leaves form a basal clump that is attractive and tough. Bright yellow flowers arise from the clump on stems up to 48 inches tall.
This hardy herbaceous perennial comes from the mountains of Central China and is rarely seen in the United States. We highly recommend this moisture-tolerant plant for shady perennial borders and woodland-style gardens.
Although this is a perennial species, most people in the U.S. who are familiar with Chinese Sage, probably know the annual variety Salvia chinensis . The perennial form is reliable; we’ve grown it for several years. However, little has been written about it.
We’d love to hear from you if you grow perennial Chinese Sage. Aside from its profuse panicles of dusky, mid-blue blossoms that bloom in summer, this medium-sized sage has striking foliage. The leaves have hairy bottoms and topsides that are glossy dark green with a purple sheen.
Water loving and heat tolerant, Chinese Sage is a particularly good choice for areas with humid, hot summers. The perennial form tolerates morning sunshine combined with afternoon shade, but prefers either full day partial or full shade. Give it rich, well-drained soil.
Perennial Chinese Sage works well as a groundcover or in a perennial border or woodland garden. Use it in moist parts of your yard. We have discovered that honeybees love it. However, similar to most sages, deer avoid it.
To the best of our knowledge, this is the correct name for this plant.
(Makino) We would grow this rare clone of the woodland Japanese native Salvia glabrescens even if it never flowered, because the hairless, arrow-shaped foliage is so lush, toothed and colorful. As they age, the arrow-shaped leaves transform from yellowish green to dark green.
This is a plant for moist, shady garden spots, but can take a bit of morning sun. It is hardy as long as it receives plenty of shade, water and soil that is rich and well-drained. In autumn, short spikes of small, pink and purple two-tone flowers rise out of compact basal foliage, creating a gracefully proportioned look.
Makino should be seen up close both for its extraordinary flowers and lush foliage. Plant it in a container, along a shady pathway or as a woodland groundcover. Although slow growing, this tough yet lovely sage is worth the wait. Fortunately, deer don't like it.
(Red Sage, Chinese Sage, Dan-shen) The bright red, finger-like roots of Salvia miltiorrhiza have a long history in traditional Chinese herbal medicine. We offer this important plant on a limited basis.
WebMD reports that Danshen is used in Asia to treat a number of cardiovascular problems and "appears to thin the blood by preventing platelet and blood clotting." It is the subject of ongoing medical research.
Danshen has fragrant lavender flowers that bloom in summer and seem to glow in the shade. This woodland plant grows well in partial shade. It prefers rich, well-drained soil and can handle ample moisture. Native to Asia, including areas that experience winter chill, it grows well in USDA Zones 6 to 9.
This is a petite plant rising from 12 to 24 inches tall. Danshen looks lovely in mixed borders with Hostas and other woodland plants. It is also a fine choice for edging shady pathways where you can view it up close.
(Himalayan Cloud Sage) Nepal's Muktinath Valley -- a sacred site for Hindus and Buddhists -- is the place to go to see this majestically tall shade perennial in the wild. It grows at altitudes up to 14,000 feet and often emerges while the ground is still snowy.
The creamy yellow flowers have thin purple markings and bloom throughout summer. They grow about 1 to 1 1/2 inches long on flower spikes that rise up 4 feet or taller by late summer.
In America, this fragrant, cold-hardy sage is adaptable from USDA Zone 5 to 10. In cooler climates, it grows well in full sun whereas a bit of shade is best In warmer zones. We find that it thrives in rich, well-drained garden soil with ample water. However, it is resilient and survives in less than ideal conditions.
Use this sage in mixed perennial borders and moist woodland gardens. It is also eye-catching as an accent plant and sensual due to its fragrance. You might want to try it in locations where you are likely to brush against it, such as an entryway.
We love and highly recommend this one. Demand often exceeds supply; deer resist it, but customers can't.
(Yunnan Sage or yun nan shu wei cao) Yunnan Sage's tall spikes of violet-to-purple flowers bloom from summer into fall. Native to Southwestern China's provinces of Yunnan, Guizhou and Sichuan, it grows on shady, grassy hillsides and along forest margins at elevations up to 9,500 feet.
This is an important medicinal sage in Asia. Its bright red taproots are made into herbal remedies used to strengthen the immune system. Research laboratories are just now identifying the active ingredients, after a millennium of use by the Chinese.
Yunnan Sage tolerates cold as well as heat. It needs partial to full shade, average to plentiful water and well-drained soil. Plant it in moist areas, woodland gardens, perennial borders and along pathways where you can see it close up.
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.